Virtual Reality Update

Virtual Reality has been out for a while.  I last took a look at the technology in this post from April, 2016. In terms of technology, that might as well have been 100 years ago!  It’s time to take another look at the changes and upgrades.

Microsoft and Virtual Reality

Microsoft has jumped in the game with it’s “Mixed Reality” device.  No one is sure why they’re calling it “mixed”, when it really is “virtual”, but it’s due to come out later this year in the under $400 range.  Tom Warren wrote his review in the Verge  earlier this month. He’s not that enamored with it, but does see how it could work in the future:Virtual Reality

“It’s a lot more fun than the mundane environment of my Oculus Rift at home, and Microsoft clearly wants this to be your hub for running its universal apps. If this gets good enough one day, I could see it replicating a multi-monitor setup for when you’re mobile. …. Microsoft is clearly aiming to bring virtual — sorry, I mean Mixed Reality — to the masses, and it now needs to convince game developers and all headset makers to support its platform.”

Time’s Lisa Eadicicco also took a look at the Mixed Reality technology.  Like Mr. Warren’s review, Ms. Eadicicco also feels that what will make a platform successful or not is dependent on the developers who support it:

“What will truly determine whether these Windows-powered VR headsets are successful is the quality and variety of apps they’re compatible with, of course. Windows Mixed Reality will support apps and experiences from Sony, Jaunt and Hulu in addition to games like Rec Room (a VR social club that supports multiplayer paintball and other sports games) and Dreadhalls (a horror-themed dungeon crawler). Microsoft is also bringing popular games it owns to Windows Mixed Reality, including Halo and Minecraft…”

Facebook & Virtual Reality

Facebook is looking at how its Facebook Live feature can embrace VR.   Fast Company’s Daniel Terdiman took a look at the Facebooks new Space platform in this article from July.  Mr. Terdiman writes:

“The idea is fairly simple. Spaces allows up to four people–each of whom must have an Oculus Rift VR headset–to hang out together in VR. Together, they can talk, chat, draw, create new objects, watch 360-degree videos, share photos, and much more. And now, they can live-broadcast everything they do in Spaces, much the same way that any Facebook user can produce live video of real life and share it with the world.”

Since Facebook acquired Oculus in 2012, this seems like a logical step.

Dell & Windows

Dean Takahashi of Venture Beat writes about Dell’s new Virtual Reality Visor and controls. He really likes the physical aspects of the new device set to hit the shelves in October:

“The Visor sits comfortably on your head because it has well-designed cushions. It also has a small rubber flap that fits over your nose. That flap keeps the headset from irritating your nose, and it also keeps light from getting in. There is a small opening both at the bottom and the top of the headset that allows air to flow through so that you don’t have sweat or fog building inside. The ventilation is unique compared to other headsets on the market.”

 

I hope you found this information helpful.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website.  Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area and remote service throughout North America.

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Virtual Reality

“The promise of virtual reality has always been enormous. Put on these goggles, go nowhere, and be transported anywhere.”

(source)

Virtual Reality is starting to get hot, again.  I remember a trip to Toronto about twenty years ago.  We went to the CN Tower and there was an arcade there that offered a “real” VR experience for about $20.  Chris couldn’t pass that up and thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in a totally different world.  Things sure have changed since then.  It’s getting closer and closer to a Star Trek Holodeck experience.  (Although I still don’t understand how Picard can ride a horse in the holodeck without bumping into the walls!)

Picard and Troi

Picard and Troi in “Penpals”

But first, what is Virtual Reality?  The website “How Stuff Works” describes VR as:

“using computer technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if he were in that world. Scientists, theorists and engineers have designed dozens of devices and applications to achieve this goal. Opinions differ on what exactly constitutes a true VR experience, but in general it should include:

  • Three-dimensional images that appear to be life-sized from the perspective of the user
  • The ability to track a user’s motions, particula­rly his head and eye movements, and
  • correspondingly, adjust the images on the user’s display to reflect the change in perspective”

From what I’ve been reading the new Oculus Rift is essentially just for playing games.  When you head to their website, you can watch a video of the user interacting with some of their games.  Although new games are being added all the time, it makes me wonder if there really is an future in VR beyond games.

Never fear – Mark Zuckerberg, owner of Facebook and Oculus is all over that like white on rice.  At the F8 conference last week they introduced new ways of using VR. Huffington Post reports:

“Facebook hopes to one day connect the world through virtual spaces. It owns Oculus, perhaps the world’s best-known virtual reality company, and its intent is to use the technology to break down barriers separating people from one another. (You know, things like space and time and oceans.) In the not-too-distant future, you and a friend could don virtual reality glasses, create avatars of yourselves and meet up in digital environments to play games or just hang out and chat.”

Want to learn more?  Check out these links:

 

Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fourteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more at http://www.GeekForHireInc.com Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area.

We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years.  We like the free 2-3 day shipping and the online streaming. I haven’t tried the Kindle lending library yet, but I’m tempted! Prime is normally $99/year, but you can try it for 30 day for free by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial