World’s first 8K VR headset races past crowdfunding goal on first day

It remains to be seen if VR will ultimately prove a passing fad or has the legs to go the distance. Pimax is betting on the latter, and you can too, if you’re interested in what the company is pitching?the world’s first 8K resolution VR headset. This eases the burden on the graphics card by letting it render a single 4K image for each frame, rather than two 4K images. Pimax also offers an 8K X model that offers an 8K resolution at 90Hz without the need for the internal scaler that’s found in the non-X model. The caveat is that you’ll need at least a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card, maybe two in SLI, and perhaps even a next-generation GPU (Volta)?Pimax is still testing things out. It took all of just a few hours for Pimax and its highly hyped VR headset to blow past its $200,000 funding goal on Kickstarter. For those who don’t own any of Vive’s hardware, the $799 tier buys the 8K headset, two controllers, and two base stations. What has everyone excited is the allure of a much higher resolution than is offered by either the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Both of those feature a pair of 1080×1200 displays (one for each eyeball) for a combined 2160×1200 resolution, whereas Pimax’s headset ups the ante with two 4K (3840×2160) displays. “Our goal is to create an intuitive VR without the shade of the headset, and sharp enough that you won’t be disturbed by pixels,” Pimax says. In addition to an ultra high resolution, Pimax’s headset boasts a field of view (FOV) of 200 degrees and less than 15ms of screen latency. StarVR comes immediately to mind, and while it delivers on the promise of a huge FOV, it has some issues, one which is that it’s heavy as hell.

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Now you can watch the Mets lose with augmented reality

The New York Mets are wrapping up a forgettable season, but that?s not keeping the franchise from trying to give its fans a good time at Citi Field. Starting Monday, for the last three home dates of the season, the Mets will introduce a first-in-Major League Baseball augmented reality experience. The announcement of the Mets? foray into AR comes on the heels of Apple?s announcement earlier this month that fans will be able to use the At Bat app?s AR functionality to overlay stats for players on the field in real time. The high-tech initiative, run in conjunction with MLB Advanced Media, will begin with each fan coming to Citi Field Monday through Wednesday getting a baseball card-sized AR card featuring images of the Mets? iconic Home Run Apple. Using their smartphone to scan this image through the ?AR? button in the MLB?s Ballpark App will bring the Home Run Apple to life. Fans who keep their AR cards will be able to re-scan them starting in late October to get exclusive access to outtakes of ?The Amazin?

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ICON 360: Exclusive virtual reality video tour of The Goring

The first hotel in the series is The Goring, one of London?s most notable places to stay and a favourite of the Royal Family. The Goring found itself firmly in the limelight in 2011, when the soon-to-be Duchess of Cambridge stayed in the Royal Suite the night before her wedding to Prince William. Filmed with a 360-degree camera, the footage allows you to explore the space in a number of ways. If you’re watching on a desktop or laptop, you can change your viewpoint by placing the cursor directly on the video to click and drag around each room. If, however, you are watching on a mobile phone or tablet, simply point the device in the direction you want to look. Part of the hotel’s enduring appeal is its long and storied association with the Royal Family. The hotel was founded in 1910 by Otto Goring and remains in the family to this day, with Otto’s great-grandson Jeremy now at the helm.

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What Virtual Reality Can Teach Us About Empathy

About a year ago, I drove up from New York to Cambridge, over potholes and through rainstorms and all the difficulties of the messy present, to experience a possible version of the future. My destination was a conference called Virtually There at MIT, about virtual reality documentaries and the field of immersive journalism, which its proponents believe has the potential to upend not only storytelling but how we connect with each other, and even how we understand ourselves. But when it comes to empathy, even if VR does have a unique capacity to enable it, that doesn?t necessarily mean it will be used this way. At one point the VR company RYOT produced a piece for Google Glass that enabled viewers to see life from the perspective of a woman in Saudi Arabia, a Sherpa on Everest, and a kid living on the street in Kenya. (RYOT, which was acquired by the Huffington Post last year, has a Buzzfeed-esque model: ?We did the first VR film in a war zone,? said co-founder Bryn Mooser. ?We also find cat videos do really well.?) After seeing the footage, though, Google decided that instead they just wanted something for their golf app. ?Remember how people used to talk about Chat Roulette?? said Krznaric, referring to the webcam program that many originally assumed would increase cross cultural understanding. ?It?s just full of porn.? Recent studies that have found that US college students? empathy levels have dropped 48% in the last decade, with the deepest decline in the last 10 years. ?What I?m always interested in is what the stories we tell about the future tell us about the present,? said Genevieve Bell, PhD, an anthropologist at Intel who studies the interactions of humans and machines. ?If the thing we most hope the future will deliver is empathy, what does that tell us about our current concerns?? All of which helps explain how it is that Goldman Sachs?s conservative estimate of the industry’s likely annual revenue in 2025 is $80 billion. (For reference, in 2016, global box office revenue from the film industry was just over $38 billion.) Their non-conservative estimate is $182 billion. Back in the lobby of MIT?s Media Lab building, dozens of people sat on rotating stools wearing bulky goggles, their heads twisting around at random intervals, like baby birds. At one, a woman was using hand-held controls to explore a black light-esque rendition of the brain?s neuron circuitry. Across from her, a man was navigating the barren landscape of Mars. ?We presented it last week to Congress!? said Julian Reyes, a VR producer at media company Fusion, now Splinter, which created the piece. ?The director of NASA was there, and the deputy director?she played for 20 minutes!? One was about a famine in South Sudan, another was about a survivor of the 2005 London train bombings. The goal of these works?helping people relate to experiences not their own?isn?t all that different from that of many traditional documentaries, or novels for that matter. But advocates believe VR, as it?s known, has a unique power. ?It?s a machine,? proclaimed Chris Milk, one of narrative VR?s best known creators, in a talk at the 2015 TED conference. ?But through this machine we become more compassionate, we become more empathetic. Yet even as the field is awash in a heady blend of ambition, hype and hope, with Goldman Sachs estimating that by 2025 it will be producing $80 billion in revenue, and one person telling me working in the industry was ?like holding onto a rocket ship heading into space,? it also includes people like Janet Murray, who studies digital storytelling at Georgia Tech and takes a gleeful pleasure in bringing the industry?s more hyperbolic claims down to size. ?Right now, the platforms are still in the experimental stage and God knows if any of them will make money,? she said at the conference. ?Which doesn?t mean the medium isn?t real! Perhaps the more meaningful question, though, isn?t whether there is an automatic connection between VR and empathy, but whether the medium, when used in certain ?structured story environments,? amplifies and channels empathy in unprecedented ways. One argument that it can came in the form of a sophisticated piece at Virtually There at MIT, The Enemy, created by former war photographer Karim Ben Khelifa, which places you in a room with a real Israeli soldier, referred to as Gilad, and Palestinian soldier, Abu Khaled, as they respond to a series of open-ended questions?What does peace mean to you? The gear was awkward and at first it felt more than anything like being in a lucid dream, where you have an unexpected freedom of motion yet nothing has the real weight of matter. I saw only the two men, standing at opposite sides of the room, their chests moving up and down as they breathed. They were dressed differently; Abu Khaled in camo and wearing a hood that obscured most of his face, Gilad in his green army uniform. By the end, the piece?s immersive realness had transformed what could have been a pat statement about shared humanity into one that sunk in and stayed. The Enemy was completed in the spring of 2014, at which point Gilad and Abu Khaled, who never met in real life, had the chance to view it themselves. Once the fighting subsided, Khelifa got news about Abu Khaled, who had survived but was injured, and subsequently reached Gilad by phone. ?We talked for a bit, and then he asked, ?How is Abu Khaled? The story about the current explosion of interest in VR usually begins with Palmer Luckey, a homeschooled tech savant with a penchant for going barefoot who launched a Kickstarter for Oculus, in 2012, when he was 19, asking for $250,000, within a month raised $2.4 million, and then sold the company to Facebook in July of 2014 for $2 billion. On the conference?s program there was a quote from Werner Herzog: ?In the case [of virtual reality] we do have a technology, but we don?t have any idea how to fill it with content.? But while this story isn?t wrong, it?s incomplete, since it leaves out a woman, Nonny de la Pena, who in 2011 produced what is widely regarded as the first piece of ?immersive journalism? (she coined the term), Hunger in Los Angeles. In it, animated characters stand in line outside a soup kitchen that has run out of food as real audio plays?you watch as a man collapses in a diabetic seizure. Awareness of VR originally began to trickle into the general consciousness in the early ?90s, prompted by the first VR arcade games, headsets like Nintendo?s Virtual Boy, and the entertainingly terrible movie Lawnmower Man (in which VR enables a dolt to become an evil genius who uses telekinesis to explode floppy discs and commit murder via lawnmower). By the early 2010s, VR was still generally assumed to just be a tool for gaming or military training. With Hunger, however, De la Pena showed it could be a powerful tool to bring attention to realities that are more comfortable to ignore?to boost empathy, in other words. For Hunger’s premiere, at Sundance in January of 2012, Luckey, then De la Pena?s intern, built an early, duct taped version of what would become Oculus (festival goers used it to watch the piece), and crashed in her hotel room. The schedules of most everyone I met in VR had a frenzied quality and De la Pena, who speaks in a rapid fire staccato and has a brain that processes information at breakneck speed, is no exception. A few days before the conference I had arrived at the squat Culver City building that houses her company, Emblematic, only to discover that her previous appointment had run over, leaving her late to a call with a venture capital company (she missed it) then racing to Beverly Hills for a meeting with media company Fusion to discuss a virtual reality channel. ?Another fucking crazy day in VR-landia,? In 2016, $2.3 billion was invested in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) companies ? three times the amount invested in 2015. Milk and Luckey remain better known than De la Pena, maybe because they have had more overt commercial success (De la Pena, who maxed out her credit cards to produce Hunger, still lives in a modest Mar Vista bungalow with, ironically, an enormous relic of an antenna on top) or because of her gender. ?Is it good to be called tenacious?? she wondered aloud when I asked how she?s treated as a woman in the field. I started with a piece called Project Syria, in which a young girl sings sweetly until a bomb explodes, then watched Kiya, which utilizes real 911 tapes to recreate the death of a woman shot by her boyfriend in 2013?when the ex-boyfriend lunged in my direction with a gun, I jumped back. But it was Across the Line, which places you amidst people angrily protesting outside a family planning clinic (it was made in collaboration with Planned Parenthood), that the bounds between real and virtual dissolved most thoroughly. ?You?re a whore! SuperData Research, a firm that studies these trends, estimated that by the end of 2016 ? by which point two much-anticipated headsets were finally released, the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift (which Facebook?s Mark Zuckerberg paid $2 billion to acquire in 2014) ? 6.3 million VR headsets had been delivered. ?This medium removes so many of the barriers that keep people from connecting,? said Daniel Pacheco, a professor at Syracuse University?s S. I. New house School of Public Communication. ?I think that?s what De la Pena realized, and before anyone else. Yet her work also helped me understand what I?d heard about the medium?s darker possibilities?that it could also be used to torture, or even to numb someone to another?s feelings. ?The first thing I thought when experiencing Hunger was, ?Wow, I am feeling empathy,?? Two of the main ways empathy is produced are proximity and shared experience, said sociologist Roman Krznaric, PhD, author of Empathy: Why It Matters and How To Get It, and VR offers shortcuts to both?it allows people to not just put themselves in another person?s shoes but be there, literally (or whatever that means when ?there? is in virtual space) and look around. Cy Wise, community and events wrangler (her actual title) at the VR gaming company Owlchemy, said that because of this, she?d heard that in VR shooter games, players often recoiled from shooting other humans. ?It feels too real,? she said. ?You?ll probably see games that involve killing lots of robots and zombies instead.? And that number doesn?t even include the 10 million-plus more simplistic Cardboard viewers Google shipped out during that same period, prompting, to date, over 160 million downloads of Cardboard apps on Google Play. Jeremy Bailenson, PhD, a cognitive psychologist at Stanford, has conducted studies that involve people entering a VR simulation and perceiving themselves (through a virtual mirror) as a different race. In one, this diminished bias (measured via an implicit association test that asks you to rapidly pair positive and negative words with faces of different races) but in another, it triggered it. The study that reduced bias involved a more realistic VR simulation, but as far as what types of VR fosters empathy, ?The research is in its infancy,? he said. After all, ?The richest sensory medium is life,? said Clint Beharry, director of design and technology at the story-telling non-profit Harmony Institute. ?Which is totally forgettable in so many ways.? Either before or after the plunge, the participants completed a questionnaire that assessed their attitudes about a man who?d decided not to jump for fear of the cold; those who hadn?t yet jumped proved to be more compassionate about his choice than those who had. But we?re also adept at disregarding whatever makes us uncomfortable. ?We put up filters all the time,? said Krznaric. ?It?s harder to dismiss if it?s right in front of you. Some weeks into reporting this story, I was passing a construction site when suddenly, for a few discombobulating seconds, I found myself wondering if the panorama around me?the parade of bikers, buses and cabs, the skyscrapers towering over two tractors digging up enormous slabs of concrete?was real or virtual. It struck me that it was kind of weird that we go to such trouble to create virtual worlds when the real one can itself be just as arresting. Especially since the main difference, as far as I could tell, was just that VR, because it?s new and unfamiliar, still feels crisp and full of potential, whereas the physical world has, for the most part, lost its novelty. Won?t this occur, eventually, with VR? ?What happens when people in the morning can pop in contact lenses and see whatever they want?? said Ken Perlin, PhD, a computer scientist at NYU. (Yes, contacts and glasses that enable a person to fully experience VR or AR are coming, he said, maybe within five years.) ?I?m interested, not about what happens when it?s cutting edge, but when it?s boring.? While movies still prompt emotions, their power has certainly lessened over time?audiences would no longer flee a theater in terror if an on-screen train appeared to be hurtling toward them, as supposedly happened in Ciotat, France, in 1895. When I met with Gaskin, whose company 8i is the first to enable volumetric VR that incorporates real humans, he showed me a video of a woman interacting with a hologram of her one-year-old as a newborn. ?Imagine meeting yourself,? he said.

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Bethesda: The Fallout 4 VR Experience

When Fallout 4 VR was first announced, Bethesda fans were both excited to see another way to dive into the wasteland and curious as to how the new rendition would work mechanically. Bethesda recently took to the live stage to show off more of the Fallout 4 VR experience and give fans a taste of what they can expect from the title. Scharf jokingly says that he’d protect that dog with his life because the level of immersion seen in VR makes the game experience that much more emotional for the player. “Fallout 4 VR has been a powerhouse at every convention where it�??s been demoed, with hundreds of eager attendees lining up to get up-close-and-personal with the Commonwealth and all of its inhabitants. We spoke to Lead Producer Andrew Scharf about crafting the ultimate VR experience for Fallout 4 and how it feels to actually be inside this incredible world.” This is the largest VR experience to date, the entire game within Fallout 4 from the beginning to the end will be available in the VR format. Some of the in-game mechanics will be altered to fit the VR-verse, including the use of VATS.

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Using VR to Diagnose Concussions

As a neurosurgeon and director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center , Ghajar was more than a little dismayed with that answer. ?Spotting? and other sideline assessments for concussions?such as having players memorize and recall words, or track a moving finger with their eyes?are ?just okay,? Ghajar described on Tuesday to a small crowd at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts,�during a technology conference hosted by ApplySci . Such techniques are ?not really picking up a biological signal? of concussion, he added. In search of a more accurate, yet speedy way to diagnose concussions, Ghajar and a team at SyncThink , a Palo Alto, California-based company, have developed a mobile eye tracking technology to diagnose concussions based on clinical research. The EYE-SYNC technology?a VR headset platform that�tracks eye movements and reports signs of impairment within 60 seconds?was approved by the FDA last year and is now being rolled out to Pac-12 football schools and hospitals around the nation.�Another eye-tracking tool to diagnose concussions,� EyeBOX from Oculogica , tracks ?67 -domains of eye movements? as participants watch videos, according to the� company website . The technology has not yet been cleared by the FDA. Tools such as this could help reduce the risk of brain damage in athletes, which can occur even�before the age of 12, according to a study published this week in the journal Translational Psychiatry. In it, researchers at Boston University found that participation in youth football before age 12 increased the risk of mood and behavioral problems later in life, even if the kids did not go on to play high school or college football. Concussion is marked by attention problems, due to the brain?s disorientation in time and space. He founded SyncThink�in 2009, and the company has been funded to the tune of $30 million over the years by the U.S. On the screen, the wearer sees a small red dot moving in a circle. When a brain injury has occurred, however, that ability is often lost, and the user?s eyes will not accurately predict or synchronize with the moving dot, leading to erratic eye movements. Within a minute?shorter than most time-outs in a sports game?the software produces a report indicating any eye movement impairment. That information can be used immediately to keep a player out of a game and�often to refer them to see a doctor. EYE-SYNC is currently being used on the sidelines of sports games at colleges�such as Stanford, USC, and Oregon State, as well at hospitals including Massachusetts General Hospital and Walter Reed�Army Medical Center. In the future, he hopes EYE-SYNC will be used not only for sideline screening, but to track recovery in clinics. While most individuals recover from a concussion within 7 to 10 days, some can take four or more weeks, with their eye movements improving over time. Jamshid Ghajar once asked a NFL football ?spotter??a person who watches games for possible brain injuries?how he recognized a player with a concussion.

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For ‘Pokemon Go’ Creator, Augmented Reality Games Are Just the Start

Speaking to an audience of developers at the Austin Game Conference this week, Niantic chief executive John Hanke explained that the surge of demand actually slowed down their initial plans for more content. According to Hanke, the visual aspect that people think of for AR gaming is really just one slice of a very big pie. Niantic wondered if they could create a device that will alert you to something interesting around you, without having to look at your phone all the time. “I wouldn’t say it?s perfect. The AR experience can bring all the senses into play, and Hanke sees these experiments as important for designers to try.�While Hanke said the company is working on a couple of new games, he declined to talk about them. Niantic is also looking at glasses, investing and exploring them as a “hunch,” predicting they will streamline, optimize and improve with time. And while it might have its place, like cinema, John Hanke believes that AR games and AR experiences can be as portable ? and as ubiquitous ? as music is today. Augmentation, he says, “Makes your walk to work, all of a sudden, whatever you want it to be. You’re adding a soundtrack to your life.” Hanke poses warnings for would-be AR developers. “Just because you leverage the visual technique? doesn’t mean you’ll have a compelling experience.” “It was a wild, wild ride,” he says, going on to recall getting “personal, physical threats” from would-be players in Brazil and India that wanted the game released in their territory. For example, seeing a table-top game brought to life on a surface is not as satisfying as seeing a fantasy creature in a park on the walk to work. And there’s a social element as well. “People are hungry for real world experiences,” he adds. “If you look at festivals, generally: music festivals, yoga festivals, cooking festivals.” The AR revolution has the potential to change the world as much as the music revolution before it, and add as much richness of mood and experience. And now that the game has stabilized, players can expect a pattern of major, quarterly updates.�”We have another big launch planned for later this year,” he adds. He says that audio-only AR might actually win over the visual AR we use today. “Amazon is working on an in-ear Alexa system,” Hanke says, going on to muse how cool an audio-only game will be, “which I hope to get to at some point.”

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Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner coming to PC with VR support

Publisher Konami reckons this will help the hack-and-slash third-person shooter “retain the unique and beautiful visuals of the original titles”, while improving how it sounds and bringing it in-line with modern technology. If you find yourself at the Tokyo Game Show this weekend, it’s playable at the Konami booth on the show floor. The year is 2174 and the despotic BAHRAM military organisation is using its new Orbital Frames mech-robot technology to complete the suppression of Mars and the Earth. Seizing control of the Jehuty Orbital Frame ? the most powerful craft of its kind ? the player is the last hope for the stricken planets. Thus, using theJehuty unit?s advanced technology, the player is charged withstriking deep at the heart of the BAHRAM army. The new edition showcases battles that rage between the player and a number of adversaries, while the nimble Jehuty unit boasts fantastic mobility, including the ability to throw adversaries, utilise shield devices that double as weapons and access teleportation systems within combat scenarios?

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Neko Atsume’ for PlayStation VR lets you live out your wildest cat hoarding dreams

It’s a simple game: You leave food out for stray cats, which then show their appreciation by leaving you dumb gifts. Except instead of looking at all of it on a small, 2D screen, you’ll effectively immerse yourself in a cat colony of your own design every time you put on your headset. Ever since it launched in late 2016, PlayStation VR early adopters have sought the hardware’s first, true “killer app,” a game that’s so good it’s worth buying a new machine to play. There isn’t any video to show you, nor any sense of how the game might change in its leap from mobile to head-mounted video game machine. But it’s coming, as Sony confirmed at the 2017 Tokyo Game Show, and it’s enough knowing just that for now. Neko Atsume became something of a cultural phenomenon after it launched in 2014. My wife, who got really into the game for a while, says it was the assortment of virtual felines that kept her coming back.

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Working Up a Real Sweat With VR

Tim Donahey, left, and Anthony Hasson, right, square off in a virtual-reality boxing game at Wyandotte Athletic Club in Columbus, Ohio. ?You don?t even realize you?re getting a workout until you?ve been going 20 or 30 minutes straight,? says Mr. Hasson, an auto mechanic who estimates he has lost at least 5 pounds as a… Small Medium Large Save Article Sign In to Save Subscribe to WSJ Link copied?

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