“Social VR” is a buzzword Mark Zuckerberg has been pushing hard ever since the Facebook acquisition of Oculus. It was hard for me to imagine a social VR experience I’d actually want to have at the time, perhaps due to lack of imagination. It just didn’t work in my head. Awkward, stuffy and artificial.

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The reality of it is far and away better than I ever thought possible. It’s allowed me to spend time with a friend who lives across the country as if we were in the same room together. I have Touch, he doesn’t (he’s on a DK2) but simply being able to see where he’s looking, for him to be able to nod or shake his head, adds a whole additional layer of communication fidelity over just using Skype or something.

Vive wands and Touch controllers are supported, but so is Leap Motion and Razer Hydra (though that last one is better on paper than it is in practice, or so I’m told). This opens up the possibility of hand gestures to anybody with any SteamVR compatible headset, which is just about everything out there.

There’s also something like customizable avatars, but only the head. It’s similar to Oculus’ own avatar system in that they saw fit only to represent the parts of you which are trackable, namely the head and hands, rather than risk any goofy looking broken joint weirdness that sometimes happens with inverse kinematics.

None of these are me, but I was told by a buddy upon seeing my avatar for the first time that it looks like “gay Neo”. I didn’t know what to make of that, but the capability is there to create about the same diversity of appearance as offered by Nintendo’s Miis, for example.

It took a fair bit of digging through settings to get everything to work. VOIP didn’t work at first, after that was solved (my mic was disabled) he couldn’t hear the audio from my screen (I needed to install an outside program to enable desktop audio streaming) and so on. But eventually everything worked, and it’s glorious now.

Besides the obvious application of gaming as if you’re right next to each other, there’s also good old fashioned Youtube. Watching the same video and commenting on it to each other in real time really drives home what a game changer virtual telepresence really is.

It’s a trick to get emulated console games working over the net, but it doesn’t go through Bigscreen. It works outside of it as normal. So any game you already have which is netplay capable should work. You can play it on your own virtual monitor while your buddy plays on his. Something like a virtual LAN party.

I’m unsure whether to give this a rating at all. It’s not a game, is it? But it is excellent, free (currently) and adds immeasurably to playing a game online with a friend if he happens to have his own VR rig.

If not, it’s a compelling reason to buy one. I’m giving Bigscreen an 8/10. Immense promise, but rough around the edges, as you might expect from a beta. That’s not a final score and will undoubtedly change when the final version becomes available.

Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !

[VR Game Review] Bigscreen: Hang Out With Buddies in the Matrix was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

When you break down the wall, everyone wins.


Daniel Sabio a.k.a. The Glad Scientist inspired me to make Ice Breakers while standing in line at my first hackathon, the 3rd annual MIT Media Lab Reality, Virtually Hackathon, an epic 5-day adventure from January 17th — 21st, pushing the boundaries of immersive VR, AR, and spatial computing.

With over 400 participants and 100 teams gathered at the edge of the future, overlooking the Charles River no less, the chance to work in the Media Lab with the people and tools at the heart of the industry including Oculus, HTC Vive, Microsoft, Google, PTC/Vuforia, and Magic Leap, was entirely radical for a tech-obsessed Berkeley girl like me.

Greetings from the future.

Ice Breakers is a multiplayer AR game that breaks down communication barriers and encourages positive social interactions.

The first player establishes a playroom that others can join on AR enabled phones where they are separated by a virtual wall of ice cubes. You launch charmed projectiles by tapping at the cubes which randomly release a prompt for a short ice breaker game.

When you breakdown the wall everyone wins, incentivizing players to dismantle the divide between isolation and shared moments of delight.

I met Sabio on the first day of the Hack through a mutual friend, VR artist Chelly Sherman. He sparked the idea for the social AR game by saying we should get level ups and coins for meeting our online friends in the real world. I agreed and had the proverbial lighting strike of inspiration, where I saw the whole game and a room full of hackers with charms floating over their heads. From then on I knew I wanted to make something that would be fun to play at the Hack’s Expo Day.

Day 1’s schedule of workshops and classes, especially the Vuforia Studio U/X courses gave me the confidence my idea was within the realm of possibilities given the submission deadline on Sunday at 1 pm.

Day 1 workshops Thursday January 17th, 2019

Later that evening before the opening ceremony Sabio introduced me to Atlanta-based installation artist and developer Kris Pilcher. It turned out we were already friends on Facebook but had never met. Fortunately Kris wanted to learn how to use Google’s cloud anchor integration in Unity, so after the project pitches and considering a handful of teams he agreed to support my project and build Ice Breakers using ARCore, Unity and Google’s cloud anchors integration that debuted at Unite Berlin last June.

According to Unity, 90% of the top grossing apps on Google Play are connected games. We were also building with accessibility in mind, ARCore is enabled on upwards of 250 million mobile devices.

Day 2, Friday morning Team Ice Breakers quickly set up our work space in the lower atrium of E-15, The Wiesner building and original Media Lab, designed by I.M. Pei (‘40). It’s the site of one of MIT’s infamous pranks, 1994’s “The Pei Toilet”.

The interior, with its “Here — There” tile installation by Kenneth Knowland is a portal to 1985, a 100% pure source of the Vaporwave aesthetic, that reminded me of my favorite MST3K film, “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank” starting Raul Julia.

Kris Pilcher, Installation Artist and Developer
“Is it live or is it Memorex?”
The future is 1985.

We took to the ping pong table on the 3rd floor of E14 to brainstorm and sketch out the game wire frame, listing our tasks for the mechanics and art, and left open questions about the how players would interact and collect rewards.

cardboard wire fame

I was responsible for the team lead administrative tasks and making the projectiles, the logos, the theme song, the icebreaker prompts and later the ice wall. I made the 3D game assets on the Rift with Oculus Medium, and the 2D assets with Illustrator and Photoshop.

Anish Dhesikan, Hackaton Mentor and a Software Engineer at Google Daydream VR/AR, helped guide us through the technical challenges we had networking the phones. He won Grand Prize at the 2016 Reality Virtually Hackathon.

Siciliana Trevino, Anish Dhesikan and Kris Pilcher
Charity Everett

Charity Everett, also a Hackathon Mentor, Research Fellow at MIT Open Documentary Lab and ARVR Women Futurist in Residence, was instrumental in getting us to expand our thinking and purpose. She helped us improve the game by recognizing that the motivation for rewards would undermine authentic exchanges, and generate a false rapport based on short-term personal gains.

I was grateful for the feedback although a little discouraged. However we still had plenty of work ahead of us before we had to make final decisions on the mechanics. There’s almost no time to consider anything beyond what’s immediately in front of you. I feared I’d turn into molasses if I spent too long worrying about decisions that weren’t at the top of my list.

By 8:35 pm Kris had established the multiplayer functionality.

At 9:07 pm we started testing the anchors. The building closed at midnight but we wrapped around 11:30 pm and a bunch of hackers went to The Automatic in Kendall Square for their addictive late night flat burgers.

Day 3, Saturday, the collisions were working by noon, and the big decisions were now before us. How does Ice Breakers start? Are both players behind blocks of ice? In their own igloos? Who takes the first turn?

Charity’s feedback allowed us to re-think the mechanics. Around the corner from the Media Lab, the hedges in front of Lobby 10 became the prototype for our engagement solution: Simplify. The barrier between players is a single wall of ice — which also serves as the cloud anchor to connect the devices.

Tear down that hedge!

A virtual wall between players shifted the motivation from what you get by breaking through, to what you contribute, rewarding players for collaborating and creating shared moments of delight.

Kris started building in our new direction and I googled the world of funny, odd and awkward Ice Breaker games. I also had to make a scratch video for our first deadline which involved setting up our Devpost profile by 6pm to get an official number of some kind.

First deadline down.

By 10 pm we were testing the main game components: players joining the virtual room, setting the space, placing the wall and launching projectiles that make a retro-laser “pew-pew” sound when they strike the cubes.

I was running out of time on the theme song. I’m not a gamer but one thing I know is that you have to have catchy tunes.

The day before, a few musicians hacking in the main building came over to E15 to play the piano that’s under the atrium’s staircase. As I was fabricating the projectiles in Medium (stamps of hearts, thunderbolts and music notes) I hear the quirky keys of “Heart and Soul”, the 1938 Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser classic, known the world over as the song Tom Hanks plays in “Big.” It made the perfect theme song, but I couldn’t break my momentum and cause a delay in delivering the assets to see if they would record it. And then I couldn’t find a version online that I liked.

At 11:30 pm Saturday, I asked Chelley if she knew any musicians at the Hack that could play the piano. She recommended the team hacking next to her, who happened to be the same musicians from the day before, (whose name’s I’ve written some where!) and we recorded the music just as I remembered it.

Heart and Soul musicians in E15

Serendipity continued to light our path as we found ourselves in the presence Joe Davis at his studio surrounded by his crystal radios, coils and clocks set ahead by an hour. The legendary Bio-artist, poet, and Artist Scientist at Harvard Medical School, George M. Church Laboratory, suggested we find a way to add a clip of President Reagan’s 1987 Tear Down This Wall speech. Of course — it should launch the game in a salute to Joe.

Day 4, Sunday, the Hack’s “Pencil’s Down” deadline is at 1 pm. In the morning I downloaded the Reagan clip, cleaned it up, added our Heart and Soul soundtrack and transferred it to Kris.

At 10 am I went to a prep meeting for submitting the project and the judging process.

Kris powered through the final build, and was almost kidnapped by another team, “Together”, who needed help with their cloud anchors. I followed them and demanded his return, but compromised and said they could bring their laptops over to get his help. We were in good shape but with just a few hours left, the thought of him leaving the table terrified me.

This is fine.

It all came together. Kris committed the project to GitHub at 12:30 pm. We completed a simple 10 minute demo for a team of judges at 2:35 pm. I was exhausted and dehydrated but still standing. Whether or not we made the finals, our game was a hit.

United Colors of Benetton. L to R: Siciliana Trevino, The Glad Scientist, Chelly Sherman, Ildar Iakubov, Vladimir Ständer, and Jasmine Roberts
Expo Day demo sign

The team Kris helped? They won first place in our category of Games and Learning.

Day 5, Monday, We gave our first public demo to rave reviews. Players had this to say:

  • “I loved it.”
  • “It’s awesome.”
  • “Fun x2.”
  • “Great job!”
  • “Sweet!”
  • “Cool!”
Expo Day Monday January 21, 2019.

Expect the unexpected at the MIT Reality, Virtually Hackathon.

I never would have imagined I’d spend a week at the Media Lab in an 80’s building literally frozen in time, (during a government shutdown over wall funding) researching ice cubes to make a wall in VR for a multiplayer AR game, or YouTubing a 1987 clip of President Reagan, to use for game instructions thanks to Joe Davis.

Ice Breakers is essentially a game for Daniel Sabio to play, inspired by his zany imagination. He’s the Glad Scientist experimenting with realities after all. He served as the ideal player and stars in the demo video which I filmed and edited in the final hours of the closing dance party in E15 on Sunday night.

Initially I went to the Hackathon interested in making a memorial for the 54 journalists who were killed in 2018 — the most in decades. I was covering some dark and heavy places and the idea for Ice Breakers allowed me to do something completely opposite and novel, while organically evolving into a game that touched on timeless themes and the common struggle of overcoming barriers to establish new and authentic relationships.

Check out our submission on devpost!

And stay tuned for Ice Breakers on iOS and Android.

*some material is excerpted from an interview with Navah Berg of My So-Called VR Life

Fire and Ice: the making of Ice Breakers multiplayer mobile AR game was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

About 20 years ago, a medical device startup called Intuitive Surgical debuted the da Vinci robot and changed surgical practices in operating rooms across the United States.

The da Vinci ushered in the first age of robotic-assisted surgical procedures with a promise of greater accuracy and quicker recovery times for patients undergoing certain laparoscopic surgeries. 

For a time, it was largely alone in the market. It has skyrocketed in value since 2000, when the stock first debuted on public markets. From the $46 million that the company initially raised in its public offering to now, with a market capitalization of nearly $63 billion, Intuitive has been at the forefront of robotic-assisted surgeries, but now a new crop of startups is emerging to challenge the company’s dominance.

Backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital dollars, new businesses are coming to refashion operating rooms again — this time using new visualization and display technologies like virtual and augmented reality, and a new class of operating robots. Their vision is to drive down the cost and improve the quality of surgical procedures through automation and robotic equipment.

“There were 900,000 surgeries done using surgical robotics out of a total of 313 million surgical procedures,” globally, says Dror Berman, a managing director of Innovation Endeavors.

Berman is an investor in Vicarious Surgical, a new robotics company that plans to not only improve the cost and efficiency of surgical procedures, but enable them to be performed remotely so the best surgeons can be found to perform operations no matter where in the world they are.

“Robotics and automation present multiple opportunities to improve current processes, from providing scientists the opportunity to vastly increase experimental throughput, to allowing people with disabilities to regain use of their limbs,” Berman wrote in a blog post announcing his firm’s initial investment in Vicarious.

The $3.4 billion acquisition of Auris Health by Johnson & Johnson shows just how lucrative the market for new surgical robotics can be.

That company, founded by one of the progenitors of the surgical robotics industry, Fred Moll, is the first to offer serious competition to Intuitive Surgical’s technological advantage — no wonder, considering Dr. Moll also founded Intuitive Surgical.

Last year, the company unveiled its Monarch platform, which takes an endoscopic approach to surgical procedures that is less invasive and more accurate to test for — and treat — lung cancer.

“A CT scan shows a mass or a lesion,” Dr. Moll said in an interview at the time. “It doesn’t tell you what it is. Then you have to get a piece of lung, and if it’s a small lesion. It isn’t that easy — it can be quite a traumatic procedure. So you’d like to do it in a very systematic and minimally invasive fashion. Currently it’s difficult with manual techniques and 40 percent of the time, there is no diagnosis. This is has been a problem for many years and [inhibits] the ability of a clinician to diagnose and treat early-stage cancer.”

Monarch uses an endoscopy procedure to insert a flexible robot into hard-to-reach places inside the human body. Doctors trained on the system use video game-style controllers to navigate inside, with help from 3D models.

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Nintendo’s getting into virtual reality, but not in the way you might expect. Today, the gaming giant announced the latest in its Labo line of DIY cardboard accessories, which turns the Nintendo Switch into a makeshift VR kit.

As with previous Labo sets, there are a few options to choose from. The main VR kit costs $79.99 and includes six different cardboard kits to build, including VR goggles, a blaster, a camera, and an... elephant, as well as a screen holder and “safety cap.” For those looking to spend a bit less, there’s also a basic starter kit that includes just the goggles and blaster for $39.99. Additional accessories like the elephant can be purchased late in $20 sets. The kits will include Labo software, which features games, step-by-step instructions, and the “garage” mode for building your own Labo creations.

“We wanted to design an experience that encourages both virtual and real-world interactions among players through passing around Toy-Con creations,” Doug Bowser, incoming Nintendo of America president, explained in a statement.

Labo first debuted back in April, offering a distinctly Nintendo take on DIY. Since then, Nintendo has released a few new kits and introduced Labo to schools, though the company has said in the past that it doesn’t believe the initiative has reached its full potential yet.

“We want to get to a demographic that’s not traditionally reached by games at all,” Nintendo EPD general manager Shinya Takahashi told The Verge back at E3. “I think the case with Nintendo Labo right now is that there are some people who know about it, and quite a lot of potential still for us to explore.

The new VR kits will be available starting on April 12th.


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Soundscape VR Launches Major Virtual Reality Multiplayer Expansion with “Soundscape Universe”

After premiering theworld’s first virtual reality concert stagein October, Soundscape VR has launchedSoundscape Universe– an expansion that includes features like public and private social VR worlds, a multiplayer rhythm game, an enhanced UI, and music collaborations with leading festival artists like Big Gigantic, STS9, and EOTO.

Soundscape Universe is a free update included in Soundscape VR, expanding the virtual world into a musical metaverse. After beginning as aBurning Man art installation, Soundscape VR has evolved into a 24/7 VR music festival that lets users meet up with friends and other music lovers across the globe face to face in audio-reactive music venues where they can have a next-generation concert experience.

In the new multiplayer setting, players can choose between listening to special sets from major artists delivered in partnership with Soundscape, user-created mixes and synchronized playlists hosted by curators, or each user listening to their own music simultaneously in a virtual silent disco. The music makes the world come alive, creating a mind-melting visual experience with millions of unique combinations.

Users can chat, dance, and play face to face with anyone worldwide in public venues or private listening parties, customizing avatars to reflect their digital persona. The Soundscape VR world is filled with unique pieces of art to marvel at from every angle as you fly around, exploring the vast panorama and digital landscape.

“Your imagination is the limit for what you and your friends can create with Soundscape,“ said Founder & CEO Eric Alexander. ”Our audio-reactive painting and effects let you collaborate on interactive virtual canvases of art and music. With this expansion, we’re solidifying our position as not only one of the best free VR games in the world, but as one of VR’s first killer apps.”

Soundscape VR now includes an open-world multiplayer rhythm game where users can shoot and slice their way through the interactive venues to their favorite songs, competing against up to 8 players at a time to see who can cause the most destruction. There are no beatmaps to be made, no limited songs to choose from, you can play any music you want from Beethoven to Skrillex and everything works automatically!

After debuting the world’sfirst VR music festival stagein 2018, Soundscape is preparing to take the latest version of the software on tour in 2019 at major music festivals across North America with a brand-new stage/art installation unlike any other. Musicians will perform live, playing their music synchronized across the virtual world and real one simultaneously.

Soundscape VR is available as a free download on both Steam and Oculus Home.

About Soundscape VR:

Soundscape VR is the most advanced VR music experience on the market, functioning as the premier destination for musical and artistic virtual reality content. Anyone can have a mind-bending audiovisual experience from the comfort and convenience of their own home – making Soundscape one of the most immersive and technically impressive virtual reality apps in the world. Users are elevating artists’ visions through a collaboration that creates bespoke VR worlds to match any music, creating entirely original and new visual experiences and delivering their content worldwide over the Soundscape VR platform that can be described as a 24/7 music festival. With over 30,000 users currently, Soundscape VR is featured onOculus HomeandSteamas a free download for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive platforms. For news on exciting partnerships with incredible musicians, festivals, and production companies and to learn more about the VR experience, visithttps://www.playsoundscapevr.com/

The post Soundscape VR Launches “Soundscape Universe” appeared first on Virtual Reality Reporter by VR Reporter

It’s the kind of story they tell in Silicon Valley. A young man, brash and confident, emerges out of somewhere prestigious, maybe Stanford, or Google, with an idea so disruptive, yet expected and logical, it seems inevitable. In this case, the holy grail is screen replacement, the end of the monitor. By 2021, the hero predicts, Augmented Reality will be nothing but a strip of glass before our eyes, allowing the real and imaginary to co-exist and even mingle. Our desktop will travel with us. We’ll never look down at our hands again. It sounds intuitively right, like an idea whose time has come.

In this case, the hero is Meron Gribetz, who came to Silicon Valley via the Israeli Defense Force, with a short stopover at Columbia University where he started Meta in his dorm room while studying computer science and neurology. The Meta prototype was hacked together from Epson 3D glasses and an Intel 3D camera. An early Kickstarter raised $194,000. Gribetz was selected by Y Combinator. The company raised a 23 M Series A round from investors which include celebrity VC Tim Draper. Things were breaking Meta’s way.

Meta founder Meron Gribetz’ Twitter profile picture. Meron Gribetz

When he bounded onto the TED stage to demo the Meta 2 in February 2016, Gribetz was on the verge of raising another 50M from Tencent, Lenovo, and Comcast. He gave a triumphant demo of the Meta 2 which featured shared 3D models, architecture and a klugey demo of telepresence. Gribetz concluded with a bold prediction. “Before TED, in January 2017, everyone at Meta is going to be throwing away our monitors and replacing them with a truly natural machine.”

I was wowed by the two short product demos I did with the Meta 2. The headset was light and airy and has an astounding 90-degree field of view. It is hella dorky looking and tethered. I loved exploring the hand tracking and gesture-based navigation. “It was developed at a tenth of the cost of its competitors, and in many ways, it exceeded their capabilities,” Griberz told me in a phone call in January, 2019. “Of course, it had its drawbacks as well. It took its environment tracking (SLAM) a year to catch up to the Hololens. But still, the Meta 2 was rated highest in image quality, the thing one cares about most in an AR headset.”

Trying out the Meta 2 at Augmented World Expo in 2017. Charlie Fink

Hardware is hard. And expensive. Really, really expensive. Sales channels take years to develop. And software had to be adapted or developed for the Meta platform, so an SDK had to be created and marketed to developers, who are reluctant to develop for a platform with no customers. The headset also has to comply with enterprise security protocols. Use cases have to be developed. Oddly, none of Meta’s strategic investors, including Lenovo, which is all in on XR, provided the total support Meta needed.

Instead, Dell stepped up and agreed to sell the Meta 2 into enterprise. Gribetz told me they trained hundreds of salespeople, and developed several successful pilots, providing a ray of hope for the company. But all this happened relatively recently and took valuable time. At the same time, Meta focused on building apps for the markets in which it was gaining traction: engineering, design, and sales. But sand was falling through the hourglass. Sales cycles for new technology are often longer as customer education and testing is required.

At the 11th hour, a Chinese private-equity firm and real estate entity committed to a 20M investment but the Chinese government, locked in a trade war with the US, blocked the deal. On September 3, 2018, Meta furloughed most of the company. Gribetz said he hoped it would only be a few weeks, but the bank called its loan soon after that. Out of luck and out of money, Meta, Inc. shut down.


In the Silicon Valley fable that started this story, a friendly venture capital firm would offer Gribetz a sinecure as an “entrepreneur in residence” until he created or connected with a new startup. But that’s not how this story ends. In a court-supervised asset sale, a mysterious bidder purchased Meta’s assets and intellectual property. Gribetz was reluctant to say anything about this, other than the expected boiler plate about upcoming announcements. Might Meta might rise, like the Phoenix from the ashes?

Amidst rumors and snarky stories about Meta’s alleged demise, Gribetz asked me to assure Meta owners and fans that their product will be supported. “AR promised too much too soon,” Gribetz said.“We tried to set realistic expectations while the biggest players were making fake videos with special effects” While the Meta corporation may be part of tech history, Meta tech may be back, and soon, Gribetz predicted. “There is still a big window for AR now. The gap between product vision and readiness is closing.”

Originally published at www.forbes.com on January 22, 2019.

Might Meta Rise Again? A Silicon Valley Story was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Maybe you have heard or read about it: eye tracking. Eye tracking is a technique that measures where a user is looking at. The point that is being tracked is called the point of gaze.

Eye tracking works by sending an infrared light towards the centre of the eye. This causes a visible reflection in the cornea (the outermost optical element of the eye). These reflections are tracked by an infrared camera.

Some people refer to eye tracking as head tracking. However, both techniques are not the same. Head tracking only measures where the head is pointed towards. Therefore, the tracking is not as accurate because it measures everything that is in the line of sight.

Interview with Robbin and Kubilay

To learn more about the uses of eye tracking, we have interviewed Robbin and Kubilay. Robbin and Kubilay are both VR and AR developers and have a lot of experience with eye tracking.

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Where is eye tracking used in the year 2019?

“At the moment it is mostly used for analysing.” Robbin explains. “Take a supermarket for example. When a new shop opens in America the shop lets a certain amount of people walk through the store with eye tracking glasses. The glasses measure where shoppers are looking at and what paths they take. This information is used to improve the shopping experience”.

Kubilay: “During VR training simulations, eye tracking is used to review what the trainee is doing. After the training they can analyse what choices have been made and where they were looking at. Also, marketing can use it for analysing what their customer actually cares about in a commercial”.

“During software development, eye tracking can be used to increase the performance of VR applications. The eye tracking measures where we are looking at, so only that part of the application is rendered in full quality. “The rest is left blurry.”, as Robbin told us. The performance increase happens, because it takes a lot less compute power to render a blurry image then a full focus image. The extra render power can be used elsewhere.

“Occlusion Culling is a technique that makes sure only the objects that are visible are being rendered. So, for instance if an object is behind a wall it will not be rendered. LOD, short for Level of Detail, decreases the detail in object that are far in the distance. And if you come closer it increases the detail. Both these techniques, in combination with eye tracking, dramatically increase performance”.

According to Kubilay, eye tracking also helps with controlling menus in software. “If both hands are occupied by controllers, eye tracking makes is easy to navigate a button.” Microsoft announced that the HoloLens 2 supports eye tracking. It is used to control the menu’s and many other things.

Robbin: “Eye tracking, in combination with VR makes controlling games much easier. During tests they saw that it is much easier to precisely throw a ball through a basket with eye tracking, than without it. This happened because eye tracking lets you really control your aim, like you do in the real world”.

Possibilities in the future? How are hardware manufacturers going to react to the rapid development of eye tracking?

“Everything will become more affordable”, according to Kubilay. “Known brands such as Oculus and HTC will support eye tracking in their new devices. Other companies are working on it as well. In Asia you can already buy multiple VR devices that support eye tracking”.

“Now we still use infrared and cameras to track our eyes. In the future we will have screens that use light reflections to measure where the eyes are looking at. The technique is still in early stages. They use 45 screens simultaneous to display an object. This gives the effect of a 3D object.

Glasses are becoming smaller. Imagine normal reading glasses but with advanced technology like eye tracking and AR”.

Robbin: “We believe that XR is completely going to replace every smartphone. XR is a collective term for VR and AR. Imagine having all your important data all around you instead of on the phone. AR is going to be used on billboards for more realism. The eye tracking measures where we are looking at”.

What will become the biggest use case?

“Analysing with eye tracking will have a big impact. It will be much better to predict how people will react to something. In games, the performance increase will also help to make it more affordable because less powerful hardware is needed to render the same image”.

Robbin: “We collect more data in one day than we did in a year 30 years ago. With the information of eye tracking big data will become more reliable and smarter because eye tracking information is super accurate. Data is now more imported than ever. Like Dutch people always say: “meten is weten”(measuring is knowledge).

Kubilay: “For UI/UX designers, eye tracking is going to make a big difference. Instead of normal testing you can use eye tracking to test if the design is having the desired effect. Because of the accurate tracking, we know exactly where people are looking at when they use the software. Just like the supermarket, they can change their design based on the information”.

Biggest market that is going to change because of these new developments?

Kubilay: “Like we said earlier we believe that the smartphone as we know it, is going to disappear. VR and AR are going to replace it. This will not take that long. We think in about 5 to 10 years this will have happened. Also driving lessons could completely change. The instructor could accurately analyse if a student is really using their mirrors. With the use of VR, a part of driving lessons can be replaced by virtual ones. After a virtual lesson the student and instructor can have a full debrief of the lesson”.

Robbin: “Also in processing traumas or fears VR is going to be a game changer. We can help autistic children more effective than with traditional methods. Their environment can get an insight in their world, so they understand it better. The possibilities are endless. Take ex-prisoners for example. With eye tracking we can monitor their behaviour much more accurate than a prison ankle bracelet”.

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The Impact of Eye Tracking on Our Workplace was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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It’s that time of year again! We’re excited to share the nominees for the third annual Viveport Developer Awards. In total, there are 8 nominees across 4 categories for PC titles and 3 winners for Mobile titles. This year, we wanted to recognize the developers who are delivering exceptional experiences to our Viveport Subscribers and Viveport Arcade Operators. These 11 titles highlight some of the best titles in VR today. If you haven’t tried these nominees and winners, we highly recommend giving them a play and exploring them yourself.

If you need a refresher on the prizing, check out our announcement blog of the awards. Final winners will be announced at our private developer mixer on Monday, March 18, the first day of GDC 2019. Good luck to the nominees and congratulations!

Here are the nominees and winners in no particular order:

Entertainment – PC

Education – PC

Arts & Culture – PC

Arcade – PC

Entertainment – Mobile

  • Bait! | Resolution Games

Education – Mobile

  • Star Chart | Escapist Games Ltd.

Arts & Culture – Mobile


The post Announcing VDA3 Nominees appeared first on VIVE Blog.

HTC did an impressive showcase during this year’s CES, exhibiting two new virtual reality headsets, the HTC Vive Pro Eye and the VTC Vive Cosmos along with its new subscription service, Viveport Infinity.

The company is not done yet with dishing out the goodies for its user base and will from next month give users a one-month free access to its Viveport Infinity upon the filling of a short survey.

The Viveport Infinity is the company’s Netflix-style game delivery service that offers users an unlimited access on both the Vive and the Rift. The service will launch on April 2nd and the company will be celebrating this milestone by providing its user base with a one-month free access code after they have filled out a quick user survey and shared their favorite Viveport experiences as well as what’s on their wishlist in terms of preferred future features.

Viveport Infinity Survey

Interested users simply need to answer three questions and then give out their valid email address to get a 30-day free access code which will arrive by email by March 20th before the official launch on April 2nd.

Viveport Infinity users who have already paid for a subscription and have active pre-paid memberships can also look forward to an upgraded and unlimited access to their library without paying an extra cost.

Users interested in taking advantage of the free 30-day Viveport access have to fill in the survey by March 17th and the offer must also be redeemed by 15th April, 2019.  They will also need a credit card in order to complete filling the offer. If a user cancels their subscription within the one-month trial period, they will not incur any charges but they will lose access to Viveport Infinity content that could be accessed during the free trial period after the end of the trial period.

Users will be automatically charged the monthly subscription fee after the trial period ends unless they cancel their subscription within the trial period. These charges will continue monthly, indefinitely, until the user cancels their subscription. If a user redeems the promo code before April 2, 2019, they will be charged a subscription fee of $8.99 monthly through the end of this year or until they decide to cancel their subscription.

HTC’s Viveport Infinity portal has been billed as the best way to enjoy the apps and games on Viveport. Its winning point is that it provides its users with an unlimited option of games in contrast to the standard subscriptions that give users access to just five videogames every month.  With Viveport Infinity, users have access to over 600 video games and apps which are compatible with both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Below is a summary of the fine print of the Viveport Infinity offer:-

  • The offer will only be available until March 15, 2019 so the survey must be filled by this date.
  • The code for the offer must be redeemed by April 15, 2019.
  • Cancelling the subscription within the one-month trial period does not incur any costs but the user loses access to the free Viveport Infinity content that the user accessed during the trial period. They will lose this access once the trail period ends.
  • If the user does not cancel the subscription within the one month trial period, they will be charged the monthly subscription fee automatically through 2019 or until they decide to cancel the subscription.
  • If the user redeems the code by April 2, 2019, they will be billed a monthly subscription fee of $8.99 through the end of 2019 or until they decide to cancel the subscription.

We’ll keep you updated as more Vive offers come along.

It’s not too often that co-founders, let alone co-founders that were quietly pushed out of the company they created, go out of their way to help their former employer with a product issue. But Palmer Luckey, who started Oculus VR and left parent company Facebook in 2017, is doing just that.

In a blog post, Luckey says he’s offering free audio repair kits to owners of the initial consumer version of the Oculus Rift headset, which suffers from a widespread audio cutout issue that Luckey says is caused by a “failure of the complex electromechanical assembly that gets audio from the Rift to your ears.” The RR1 kit, for “Rift Repair One,” took Luckey less than three hours to design, he says, but he went on to perform intensive testing using headsets customers have sent him over the years to ensure it could fully address the issue.

According to Luckey, “the failure is limited to the ground (GND) trace for the right headphone audio module. This sometimes develops into a full audio cutout for both ears, though that is less common,” he writes. “The RR1 repair kit can address both types of failures, and has been designed so the average PC gamer will have no problems with installation.” He says Oculus will generally cover any repairs to the device itself so long as the product is under warranty, but “the longtime Rift users who are most likely to suffer from this problem are usually well outside the warranty period.”

He does recommend contacting Oculus’ support channel first to see if you can get official assistance, but if all else fails, you can reach out to Luckey via RiftRepairOne@gmail.com to get a free RR1 kit. Here’s a full rundown of how exactly it works:

The kit works as an external wiring harness for the Oculus Rift CV1 that can be configured in a variety of ways to address a variety of different failures while running in parallel to the existing electrical system. Most people only need a common ground between their right and left headphone audio modules – just slap the wiring harness on, slip the bypass discs between the pogo pins on the headphones and the strap receptacle, you will be back in business! Users with full audio failure will also benefit from the ability to drive entirely from external audio sources, both wired or wireless. The kit weighs about 32 grams, but because the weight is rear of the facial interface and close to the head, you won’t be able to notice the difference. Please note that the RR1 cannot fix failures in the ribbon cable that affect the rear Constellation tracking LEDs.

Luckey says the kit also functions as a third-party headphone adapter, but that he has no plans to distribute it as such. “I am doing this because I feel bad for people who bought a Rift from me and can’t use it properly anymore, not to make using a third party headphones slightly more convenient,” he explains. “Maximizing the number of people in the VR ecosystem is also important to me, and the people who have been using their headsets for years on end tend to be among the most engaged, most valuable users who dump tons of money into the content ecosystem.”

Luckey, a self-described libertarian who left Facebook due in part to his funding of a pro-Trump organization during the 2016 US presidential race, certainly has the cash to support the RR1 giveaway, having a net worth north of $700 million. After leaving Oculus, Luckey founded a defense and security company called Anduril Industries, named after a sword in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, that’s developing a kind of virtual border wall technology for the US defense industry.

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Qualcomm wants to create a new device category, XR viewer headsets, that combine the compute power of its current Snapdragon 855 platform with the speed of 5G on a smartphone to provide you with mobile VR and AR experiences — or ‘Extended Reality,’ as Qualcomm likes to call it — with six degrees of freedom tracking. The company announced this new initiative at MWC in Barcelona and noted that it expects OEMs like Pico to launch devices later this year.

The idea here is that the headsets will be tethered to a smartphone via a USB-C connection that drives high-res displays, with a lot of the content being streamed over — ideally – a 5G connection.

The headsets are an extension of the company’s previous XR work which mostly focused on using a phone’s camera’s and displays to power AR experiences. The company did start an accelerator program for head mounted displays (HMD), the aptly named HMD accelerator program, back in 2017. In many ways, today’s announcement is an extension of this work.

“Our HMD Accelerator Program has been a critical catalyst for ecosystem partners ranging from component suppliers and ODMs, to bring quality standalone XR headsets to consumers,” said Hugo Swart, senior director, Product Management, Qualcomm. “Building upon the momentum of this program, we will extend this to XR viewers and compatible smartphones, starting with smartphones enabled by the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform.”

Qualcomm has signed up a number of platform and software partners like Arvizio, NetEase-AR, Iconic Engine, NextVR, SenseTime and Wikitude, as well as manufacturers like Acer and Asus.

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A new documentary short from sp[a]ce gallery at Ayzenberg explores the past, present an future of virtual art. In a series of interviews with some of the key players (including yours truly) in the history of XR (VR+AR+MR), sp[a]ce gallery [sic], in conjunction with a.Open Studio [sic], explores why the virtual art medium did not take hold in the 1990s but is now experiencing a renaissance. Focusing on creative innovation now occurring in tandem with advances in hardware and software, the video showcases collaborations across various disciplines and how audience interaction is being revolutionized.

Jesse Damiani (L) of VR Scout was the curator of “Spatial Art.” at sp[a]ce in Pasadena. Eric Ayzenberg

Eric Ayzenberg, CEO of [ayzenberg] [sic], one of largest independently owned communication arts companies in the nation with over 100M in billings, founded sp[a]ce gallery in 2017. “I’m a strong supporter of the arts, and big fan of pop-surrealist art stars such as Tim Biskup, Esther Pearl Watson, Mark Todd … I had a massive art collection … it’s more of a sickness really … a collector of artwork you see in Juxtapoz magazine,” Ayzenberg explained in an email. Most recently, sp[a]ce gallery presented its fifth exhibition, “Spatial Reality.” We wrote about it here. Their next exhibition in May is about robots


“Spatial Reality” was a collaboration between Ayzenberg and Britt Salvesen, curator at LACMA, who is a rising star in the art world. She had recently curated a successful 3-D show at LACMA that covered 3-D art perspective right up to virtual reality. As part of their work for companies like Microsoft and Intel, Ayzenberg makes a number of documentaries every year. With these resources at hand, Ayzenberg decided to produce a multi-part documentary series of the history of VR, with emphasis on its artistic use cases. “The history of virtual art medium did not take hold in the 1990s but is now experiencing a renaissance. The idea for the film was to Focus on creative innovation now occurring in tandem with advances in hardware and software,” said Ayzenberg.

Britt Salvensen of LA Country Museum of Art was the curatorial consultant of the exhibition. Eric Ayzenberg

“We are producing 5 hours of programming focused on every aspect of VR: art, games, education, military, architecture and other industrial aspects … the who’s who for every category,” said Ayzenberg. “The idea is to sell it to Netflix and other steamers and broadcasters.”

The powerful immersion that comes from today’s XR technology is changing the way people work and create. Ayzenberg says his 5-part documentary series will pull you into the world of the engineers, designers, architects, scientists, and artists who are pioneering what can be achieved in this new platform to push their crafts forward and to change the very world we live in.

A still from the documentary. I have a deep history with VR. In the 90s, I was COO of LBVR pioneer Virtual World. Eric Ayzenberg

Originally published at www.forbes.com on January 7, 2019.

First Look At VR Documentary Series was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

VIVE Arts continues to lead the charge in bringing the public closer to humanity’s artistic creation and cultural heritage through VR. Today, we’re excited to announce our collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, one of the world’s preeminent scientific, cultural and educational institutions, on their new T. rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit.

The exhibition, which will be open to the public from March 11, 2019, to August 9, 2020, features the museum’s first multiplayer, interactive VR experience in addition to life-sized reconstructions of T. rex at various life stages—including the most scientifically accurate representation of T. rex to date, fossils and casts, large-scale projections and hands-on interactives to tell the amazing story of the iconic dinosaur.

T rex: The Ultimate Predator is the first major exhibition of the American Museum of Natural History’s 150th-anniversary celebration. The first T. rex skeleton was discovered in 1902 by the Museum’s legendary fossil hunter, Barnum Brown, and the Museum boasts one of the few original specimens of T. rex on public display in the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs. With more than 120 years of dinosaur research and discovery, the Museum continues to be a leader in this field. In collaboration with HTC VIVE, the Museum adds a new dimension to this legacy with the exhibition’s virtual reality experience, T. rex: Skeleton Crew.

Developed in collaboration with the Museum’s Science Visualization team, VIVE Studios (VIVE’s premium content development and publishing initiative) and Immersion, this VR experience places up to three visitors within a space similar to the Museum’s Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs, where they will work together to help build a T. rex skeleton bone by bone. Once the full dinosaur is complete, players will witness a realistic T. rex come to life before their eyes. As the columns of the setting dissolve into trees, the Hall will transform into the marshland that is now Montana, the T.rex’s home 66 million years ago.

“Through VR, visitors can engage with the exhibit in an exciting, in-depth way that enriches their knowledge and leaves a lasting memory for years to come,” said Chris Chin, Executive Director of Education VR Content, HTC VIVE. “VIVE is proud to partner with the American Museum of Natural History to harness the power of premium VR bringing visitors closer to the scale, majesty, and awesomeness of T. rex like never before.”

“American Museum of Natural History is one of the world’s most innovative and forward-thinking museums. The VIVE team worked closely with the Museum’s paleontologists and science visualization team to create an interactive and scientifically accurate representation of T.Rex based on the latest research,” said Victoria Chang, Director of VIVE Arts. “We are excited to observe the educational impact of this remarkably engaging VR project as it is experienced during the exhibition and soon globally through VIVEPORT.”

“Virtual reality is a magical realm in which our human perceptions of time and space are suspended,” said Vivian Trakinski, the Museum’s director of science visualization. “In virtual reality, nothing is too small, too big, too fast, too slow, too distant, or too long ago to be appreciated. We hope this technology will let our visitors experience the most fantastic and inaccessible realms of nature.”

HTC VIVE is proud to be the virtual reality partner of leading arts and cultural institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History, Tate Modern and Taiwan’s National Palace Museum. Through VIVE Arts, virtual reality is transforming the way art and culture are experienced around the world.

Stay tuned for more information as the home version of T. rex: Skeleton Crew launches this summer on VIVEPORT.

The post HTC VIVE Partners with the American Museum of Natural History appeared first on VIVE Blog.

Wat is de beste goedkope laptop? De beste budget laptop beschikbaar om te kopen in 2016.

De kans is aanwezig dat je opzoek bent naar een goedkope laptop voor een specifieke taak. Misschien heb je de beste goedkope laptop nodig voor video editing, voor muziek productie of zelfs voor het spelen van Minecraft en andere games. Er is ook een kans dat je op zoek bent naar goedkope laptops met een goede batterijduur.

We kunnen niet iets beloven, maar misschien vind je wel iets wat bij je benodigdheden past, zonder dat het veel geld kost. Normaal gesproken is het moeilijk om iets te krijgen die veel taken aankunnen zoals deze voorbeelden en we kijken even waarom.

Bekijk ook: Beste Laptop Kopen 2016

Beste Goedkope Laptops 2016: Welke processor heb ik nodig?

Welke specificaties belangrijk zijn hangt af van wat je met de laptop wilt doen. Sommige gebruikers willen mega veel opslagruimte liever dan al het andere, terwijl andere gebruikers net zoveel power voor het geld willen als mogelijk. Hieronder hebben we een voorbeeld benoemd wat je kunt verwachten en waar je naar moet kijken in iedere goedkope laptop.


Beginnend bij het beeldscherm. Je moet eerst beslissen welk beeldscherm je wilt hebben. Veel laptops zullen rond de 13- of 15 inch zijn, wat ongeveer de happy medium voor de meeste mensen is. Je kunt ook kleiner kiezen of groter als je iets mobieler wilt zijn, of als je bijna niet van plan bent op pad te gaan met je laptop.

Denk eraan dat de grootte van het scherm een impact zal hebben op dingen zoals gewicht van de laptop, keyboard en zelfs hoeveel poorten het heeft.

Het is typisch om een goedkope laptop te vinden met een matige resolutie van 1366×768, maar als je hoger kan vinden ben je veel beter af. Het is onwaarschijnlijk dat je een mat scherm vindt, maar het is bij voorkeur een glansscherm dat licht makkelijk reflecteert en waarschijnlijk ook jezelf wanneer je een film kijkt of aan het werk bent.


Zoals je weet is de processor het hart van de computer en welke chip en in een laptop zit heeft een grote impact op hoe goed de laptop runt. Waarschijnlijk vind je veel met een Intel Cleron of iets vergelijkbaars welke je het beste kunt ontwijken tenzij je van plan bent je laptop erg licht te gaan gebruiken.

Je bent beter af als je kijkt naar een AMD A-series of een Intel Core i processor en sommige laptops in de review hieronder hebben dit. De krachtigste en efficiëntste chips zijn op dit moment de Intel generaties, ofwel Haswell, Broadwell en Skylake, welke gevonden worden in een paar goedkope laptops.

Ga voor de beste die je kunt vinden binnen je budget, helemaal als je van plan bent zware taken uit te voeren zoals video editen. Geen zorgen over de kloksnelheid, ook al is hoger beter om veel dingen sneller klaar te krijgen. Vaak adverteren producenten en retailers de Turbo snelheid in plaats van de normale snelheid.

We hebben er voor gezorgd dat je volledige reviews kunt lezen om het resultaat te zien wat ze betekenen voor dagelijks gebruik. De processor zal ook een impact hebben op batterijduur, iets wat we ook testen. Daarnaast vind je resultaten en analyses in de individuele reviews.

Opslagruimte en geheugen

Kom niet in de verwarring met deze twee. Het betekent simpelweg ruimte om programma’s en bestanden op te slaan en tijdelijk informatie opslaan terwijl je bezig bent met dingen.

In beide gevallen is het beste om zoveel mogelijk te hebben. Veel goedkope laptops hebben een degelijke 1TB opslagruimte via de harddrive, maar hebben maar 4GB RAM (random access memory). Je vindt waarschijnlijk niet een SSD (solid state drive) van meer dan 8GB RAM, maar deze dingen kun je makkelijk zelf upgraden mocht die mogelijkheid er zijn.

Andere specificaties

Als je een goedkope laptop koopt zorg dan dat het precies is wat je nodig hebt (inclusief de beste specificaties mogelijk zoals boven vermeld).

Afhankelijk van wat je nodig hebt is het waarschijnlijk handig om een optische drive te hebben voor het afspelen of branden van CDs/DVDs. Wees er ook zeker van dat het de juiste ingangen heeft zoals HDMI, Ethernet en USB. Ga er niet zomaar vanuit dat deze allemaal standaard aanwezig zijn.

Probeer daarnaast ook de beste wireless technologie te krijgen. De nieuwste is een 11ac wat helpt bij het streamen van content zoals muziek en video’s op het internet. Of als je veel wilt kijken en luisteren, zorg dan dat de speakers degelijk zijn, tenzij je van plan bent een koptelefoon te gaan gebruiken.


Houdt in gedachten dat niet alle laptops hier standaard op Windows runnen. De goedkopere laptops kunnen Windows runnen met Bing (dat is hetzelfde als de standaard Windows, maar Bing is dan de standaard zoekmachine), Ubuntu of Chrome.

Tegenwoordige komen bijna alle laptops standaard met Windows 10. Chromebooks hebben een aantrekkelijk alternatief als je een gelimiteerd budget tot je beschikking hebt, maar bedenk je wel dat een Chromebook gemaakt is alleen voor online gebruik en je kan hier geen software op installeren zoals Photoshop of iTunes.

Voor meer over Chromebooks, bezoek onze beste chromebook kopen samenvatting.

Beste goedkope laptops 2016: Ik kan deze laptop niet vinden

Op het moment van dit artikel schrijven is elke laptop die hier gelijst staat beschikbaar in Nederland. Echter is de budget laptop markt ontzettend vluchtig en zorgen retailers ervoor dat ze een beperkte voorraad hebben van ieder model, dus er is een kans aanwezig dat een laptop uit de voorraad is zonder dat we het door hebben. We checken zo vaak als we kunnen.

Bedenk ook dat laptop producenten iedere lichte variatie/model van dezelfde laptop maken, met een iets andere product code. Deze heten SKU’s en ook al ziet de laptop er hetzelfde uit, de specificaties kunnen anders zijn. Dus de een kan dan een betere processor of harddrive hebben. We kunnen niet altijd kiezen welke modellen gestuurd worden dus als je aan het zoeken bent kan het variëren.

  1. HP 250 G4

Degene die op zoek zijn naar iets flashy en shiny vinden de HP 250 G4 waarschijnlijk niet zo aantrekkelijk. Echter is het een van de beste-waarde, goedkope laptops die je kunt vinden op dit moment. Net als het hebben van een erg goede CPU voor een betaalbare machine, heeft het ook genoeg opslagruimte, goede algehele kwaliteit en genoeg RAM. HP’s upgrades zijn ok scherp geprijsd. Spendeer een beetje meer en je krijgt een verrassend goede machine met een goede SSD. Je moet alleen wel een stuk meer betalen als je een mooie schermkwaliteit wil. Terwijl het display bij deze laptop praktisch is, slechte kleuren en contrast maken het geen goede match voor mensen die meer op zoek zijn naar entertainment.

  1. HP 255 G4

De HP 255 G 4 is een budget 15.6inch Windows laptop welke budget performance heeft en budget gebouwd is. We hebben geen serieuze beperking gevonden en het moet goed zijn werk kunnen doen. Dit maakt deze laptop ideaal als je een klein budget tot je beschikking hebt en niet veel snelheid of hoge schermkwaliteit nodig hebt.

  1. Asus X555LA-XX290H

Asus heeft een beperkte bouw- en component kwaliteit gebruikt om zo tot het aantrekkelijke prijspunt te komen van €300,-, maar alle essentiële dingen doen het prima. De Haswell Intel chip betekent over het algemeen dat de performance beter is dan iedere Celeron gebaseerde concurrentie bij de Asus X555LA-XX290H.

  1. Dell Inspiron 11 3000

Als je een goedkope laptop wilt kopen waarmee je veel van plan bent te gaan reizen en die de hele dag meegaat, is de Dell Inspiron 11 3000 een van de beste opties. Het is comfortabel om mee te typen, heeft een praktisch scherm en zijn batterijduur is geweldig. Weet echter wel zeker dat je klaar bent voor de matige performance. Windows 10 voelt langzaam aan, wat de Dell Inspiron 11 3000 het beste geschikt maakt voor schrijvers en het checken van je e-mail terwijl je tussen gratis Wi-Fi spots hopt. Als dat beetje vertraging echt niet prettig vindt, overweeg dan een Chromebook in de plaats van.

  1. HP Stream 11

De HP Stream 11 gebruikt de goedkoopste Intel chip die comfortabel runt op Windows, een beperkte eMMC geheugenkaart heeft met maar 20GB beschikbaar en een gratis versie van Windows heeft. Het is een verassend compacte laptop, met een aantrekkelijke stijl voor mensen die van duidelijke heldere kleuren houden. Het runt snel genoeg om te kunnen surfen en typen en daarnaast blijft het altijd koel en stil.

  1. Asus X553SA

De Asus X553SA is een lesje in opoffering die je moet accepteren wanneer je een onderste sport laptop koopt. De onderdelen zijn basis, het scherm heeft wat problemen en het voelt niet snel aan. Goedkope telefoons en tablets kunnen vaak net zo snel aanvoelen, maar de X533SA is een stuk langzamer dan een Core-series laptop. Degene die niet persé het beste hoeven te hebben, zijn beter af bij het online zoeken naar een Core i3-bekrachtigde laptop van eerdere generaties. Hawell en Broadwell i3 laptops kunnen vaak online gevonden worden voor dezelfde prijs en zullen vaak betere resultaten leveren. Voor deze prijs is het beter een oudere laptop te kopen dan een nieuwe. Natuurlijk is dit niet echt de schuld van Asus. Gezien de Asus X553SA een redelijke laptop is met een low-end design en zit het prima tussen vrije tijd en werk-gebruik in.

Toshiba Satellite C55-C-175

De Sattelite C55-C beschikt de nieuwe Haswell processor maar verder doet het budget tekort, helemaal door het slechte beeldscherm. Een upgrade is niet mogelijk dus verwacht niet om het beperkte geheugen opslag of langzame opslag later makkelijk te herstellen.

  1. Dell Vostro 15 3000

De batterijduur is teleurstellend en de beeldschermkwaliteit is vrij slecht. Applicatie performance is vrij goed, maar voelt vaak langzaam voordat het reageert bij daadwerkelijk gebruik. Er zijn wel wat kantjes afgelopen, maar over het algemeen is de Dell Vostro een werkbare machine die over de nieuwste Intel silicon beschikt.

  1. Lenovo Yoga 300

De Lenovo Yoga 300 scharnier en grootte scoren genoeg punten in flexibiliteit, maar er gaat iets teveel aandacht naar de decoratie en niet bepaald genoeg scherm- en keyboard kwaliteit.

Degene die overwegen om iets te kopen moeten zich ook bedenken dat een instapniveau Yoga 300 waarschijnlijk ook sloom aanvoelt door de basis specificaties.

Asus Transformer Book Flip TP 200SA

Of Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA een goede koop is of niet, hangt helemaal van je prioriteiten af. Als je van plan bent veel browsers en apps tegelijkertijd te openen, is dit niet iets voor jou. De Asus Transformer Book Flip TP200SA doet het alleen erg goed met een applicatie of 2 op de achtergrond en geen intensieve data processen die tegelijkertijd runnen. In termen van een laptop is dit een beginner. Echter, goede batterijduur, een smart design en een goed toetsenbord maakt het een goede goedkope laptop als je wat wilt schrijven/e-mailen/browsen terwijl je weg van huis bent.

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Harman, the audio company that was purchased by Samsung two years ago, has filed a patent for a sound system that uses robots to create the impression of surround sound (via Variety). The patent details how the speakers could move and hover around the user with the help of quadcopters or even “vertical gas jet based propulsion mobility platforms” in an attempt to provide better audio in a virtual environment.

The system is a pretty extravagant approach to surround sound audio when compared to the typical VR approach in which 3D audio is created virtually within a pair of headphones. Harman’s new system could introduce a whole host of issues of its own. For one, the idea sounds awfully noisy, and all of these rotary blades and jet engines risk drowning out the audio from the speakers.

 Image: US Patent and Trademark Office
The patent’s images show in abstract terms how the speakers could hover around the user.

The patent describes what it sees as the deficiencies with typical VR audio. It explains, “sounds outputted by stationary speakers may not accurately reflect the distance, direction, and/or motion between the user and a virtual object included in the virtual environment.” What it omits to add is that the sound from these static speakers isn’t at risk of being drowned out by the drone of a quadcopter’s rotary blades.

Variety speculates that the system isn’t meant for home VR users using devices like Samsung’s own Gear VR, but it could instead find its way into public VR attractions like those produced by The Void. In these attractions, multiple people are often inhabiting the same virtual space, and being able to hear exactly the same sound from the same location could have a huge benefit for the sense of immersion.

The growth of augmented and virtual reality applications and hardware is ushering in a new age of digital media and imaging technologies, and startups that are putting themselves at the center of that are attracting interest.

TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that Matterport — which started out making cameras but has since diversified into a wider platform to capture, create, search and utilise 3D imagery of interior and enclosed spaces in immersive real estate, design, insurance and other B2C and B2B applications — has raised $48 million. Sources tell us the money came at a pre-money valuation of around $325 million, although the company is not commenting on that.

From what we understand, the funding is coming ahead of a larger growth round from existing and new investors, to tap into what they see as a big opportunity for building and providing (as a service) highly accurate 3D images of enclosed spaces.

The company in December appointed a new CEO, RJ Pittman — who had been the chief product officer at eBay, and before that held executive roles at Apple and Google — to help fill out that bigger strategy.

Matterport had raised just under $63 million prior to this and had been valued at around $207 million, according to PitchBook estimates.This current round is coming from existing backers, which include Lux Capital, DCM, Qualcomm Ventures and more.

Matterport’s roots are in high-end cameras built to capture multiple images to create 3D interior imagery for a variety of applications, from interior design and real estate to gaming. Changing tides in the worlds of industry and hardware have somewhat shifted its course.

On the hardware side, we’ve seen a rise in the functionality of smartphone cameras, as well as a proliferation of specialised 3D cameras at lower price points. So while Matterport still sells its own high-end cameras, it is also starting to work with less expensive devices with spherical lenses — such as the Ricoh Theta, which is nearly 10 times less expensive than Matterport’s Pro2 camera — and smartphones.

Using an AI engine — which it has been building for some time — packaged into a service it calls Matterport Cloud 3.0, it converts 2D panoramic and 360-degree images into 3D images. (Matterport Cloud 3.0 is currently in beta and will be launching fully on the 18th of March, initially supporting the Ricoh Theta V, the Theta Z1, the Insta360 ONE X and the Leica Geosystems BLK360 laser scanner.)

Matterport is further using this technology to grow its wider database of images. It already has racked up 1.6 million 3D images and millions of 2D images, and at its current growth rate, the aim is to expand its library to 100 million in the coming years, positioning it as a Getty for 3D enclosed images.

These, in turn, will be used in two ways: to feed Matterport’s machine learning to train it to create better and faster 3D images; and to become part of a wider library, accessible to other businesses by way of a set of APIs.

And, from what I understand, the object will not just be to use images as they are: people would be able to manipulate the images to, for example, remove all the furniture in a room and re-stage it completely without needing to physically do that work ahead of listing a house for sale. Another is adding immersive interior shots into mapping applications like Google’s Street View.

“We are a data company,” Pittman told me when I met him for coffee last month.

The ability to convert 2D into 3D images using artificial intelligence to help automate the process is a potentially big area that Matterport, and its investors, believe will be in increasing demand. That’s not just because people still think there will one day be a bigger market for virtual reality headsets, which will need more interesting content, but because we as consumers already have come to expect more realistic and immersive experiences today, even when viewing things on regular screens — and because B2B and enterprise services (for example design or insurance applications) have also grown in sophistication and now require these kinds of images.

(That demand is driving the creation of other kinds of 3D imaging startups, too. Threedy.ai launched last week with a seed round from a number of angels and VCs to perform a similar kind of 2D-to-3D mapping technique for objects rather than interior spaces. It is already working with a number of e-commerce sites to bypass some of the costs and inefficiencies of more established, manual methods of 3D rendering.)

While Matterport is doubling down on its cloud services strategy, it also has been making some hires to take the business to its next steps. In addition to Pittman, they have added Dave Lippman, formerly design head at eBay, as its chief design officer; and engineering veteran Lou Marzano as its VP of hardware, R&D and manufacturing, with more hires to come.

Since Google’s announcement of Project Glass, the company has remained quite silent on their augmented reality glasses project. We saw Project Glass in an interview with Charlie Rose back in April, but that was nothing compared to Google’s latest demo. At the annual Google I/O conference, the company decided to take things to the extreme […]

Unusual as they are, these highly immersive VR experiences will ensure you a ton of mixed emotions.

First it was about helping you escape the world, stepping into a completely new one, then we saw the introduction of VR flight simulators. This was followed by science fiction stories (The Lawnmower Man, for instance), which indicated that the world would soon become familiar with Virtual Reality.

The ambitious experiments with virtual reality go on. Over the past a few years, many innovative VR projects have evolved from simple proofs of concept to large, complex narratives and detailed installations. A common trend seems to be that VR developers now do their best to create endlessly imaginative projects that involve all the human senses into a fully immersive experience.

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So, here are some exciting novelties in the VR world. They all share one common feature: a hint of creepiness that might be powerful enough to spark your curiosity.

Sweet Dreams: A Real Meal in Virtual Setting

Project creators: Robin McNicholas, Ersin Han Ersin, Barnaby Steel, Nell Whitley
Can I eat the Sun for breakfast?

There is little chance that many normal people have pondered this rather Seussian question. However, when we are full of desire in Sweet Dream’s virtual environment, where we have tried and tasted everything else possible, we are left with the Sun as a last option.

Nominated as the Best VR Installation in Sundance’s New Frontier section earlier last week, this artwork created by Marshmallow Laser Feast is so sophisticated that it fires all of your senses simultaneously.

The project serves up a delicious tale of desire in aworld that’s unhealthily obsessed with new culinary experiences. It takes you on a magical journey through the so-called Luscious Delicious Land. Progress involves actual eating and drinking (assisted by a few real people from backstage).

You play the part of Lonny. She has been a citizen of Luscious Delicious Land for so long that she has indulged herself in her world’s every standard delight. Her overwhelming, powerful desires are now driving her to extreme measures, such as squeezing a thousand lobsters into a single shot and injecting butter directly into her veins. Now, her ultimate ambition is to eat the Sun, itself.

Sweet Dreams appears sweet and light-hearted, however this façade masks a moral drama about the dangers of desire.

Orcz Evolve: Alpha Edition

Orcz evolve, how about you?

Orcz Evolve VR is a sci-fi wave shooting orcz-and-other-filth annihilation gaming experience.

The earth has ceased to exist. You have crash-landed on a lush planet where locals are not really delighted to see you, especially when they are given a direct order to make you dead or deader.

There are no people, just targets.

Created by an army led by two young (and hungry) game wizards, Vahe and Levon from ARLOOPA, the gameplay features the struggle between the fictional humanoid creatures, orcs, and their warm-blooded counterparts.

But things are not that simple: even fancy weapons are not enough to beat an enemy that evolves. You will need to use your human intelligence!

You will see them, you will hear them, you will touch them and you will feel the smell of fear that your enemies emit constantly…

The enthusiastic authors have relished creating the game after exploring tons of famous and not so famous games out there.

Let’s build a game we want to play, finally!

The game is set to launch officially on the Oculus store in a matter of days. Early access is however possible for only $2.99. Get early access.

Gloomy Eyes

Credit: Sundance Institute

Going back to Sundance, another prominent VR experience, and winner of the best animation award, is Gloomy Eyes by Atlas V. This is a dark, yet amazing three-part animated mini-series with a plethora of emotions.

The virtual reality animated adventuredepicts a year that is an alternative 1983, when the Sun has vanished under the ground. A religious leader is spearheading a campaign against zombies — only to find out that his young daughter has fallen in love with one of them.

The central character is a small zombie called Gloomy, who is trying to make sense of a desolate world, wrecked by continual conflict between humans and zombies.

Credit: Sundance Institute

Narrated by Colin Farrell, Gloomy Eyes is adorable with just a hint of horror. Instead of obsessing with an epic struggle, the focus on a romantic relationship will remain in future episodes.

VR Roller Coaster Ride

The Roller Coaster ride is an adrenaline-packed VR experience with a pinch of salt… A whole bucket of salt.

Available on the App Store, Google Play and Oculus, the Roller Coaster takes you on an adventurous mind-trip in the fictional land of Cave Depths.

The two-minute ride, accompanied by hyper-realistic sounds of nature, boasts interactive components, where you can choose your direction with a head movement.


The creators say VR has given them a chance to explore faster-paced experiences, where, even though motion sickness is not uncommon, a user is able to see and feel the amazing landscape all around them.

VR Skydiving onto the Statue of Liberty

Skydiving is great and usually it is also safe. However, in case you have not mustered the courage to try it yet, here is an astounding VR skydiving experience that generates almost as much adrenaline in a far safer environment — your home.

Created by SkydiVR, a US Parachute Association STAR awardee, this immersive experience places you into thin air above the stunning New York Harbor, which from that distance looks like a mere pond among many other tiny looking objects.

Your adrenaline keeps driving higher and higher until at one point it seems like your brain has stopped processing the distance. You are able to control your direction.


And as soon as your sense of the world starts to return, you find yourself landing directly on the Statue of Liberty!

The author behind the experience, who is also a skydiving instructor, finds that VR helps students learn how to navigate their parachutes more effectively.

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Can I Eat the Sun Please? 5 Unusual VR Experiences to Stimulate All Senses was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.