Youtube Now Supports 360 Degree Video in Android and Chrome!

youtube panorama video 360 degree demoWe’re on the edge of a whole new generation of consumer produced immersive and interactive content. After playing with cameras like the Kodak PixPro SP360, which can shoot panorama video, we’ll soon be sharing immersive experiences that put people in the middle of a memory.

Activated on Youtube, when watching special panoramic videos through the chrome browser you’ll be able to “look around” a scene with side mounted controls. When viewed through the Android app, your phone’s accelerometer will allow you to tilt your phone screen around to see whats happening all around you.

This is a really exciting move, as it positions Youtube as an early resource for user generated 360 degree and virtual reality content. You can see an example video from MY OFFICE below.

MWC2015: Galaxy S6 & Samsung Pay! HTC One M9 & RE Vive VR Headset! Announcement Reactions!

It’s been a crazy start to MWC 2015 with a pair of killer announcements from Samsung and HTC! New smartphones, mobile payment systems, and a VR headset! What were your first reactions to the news? Drop a comment below!

HTC Announces One M9 and RE Vive VR Headset with Valve Partnership

HTC took the wraps off their next flagship smartphone and showcased partnerships with Valve and Under Armour for a new VR headset and fitness tracker respectively.

Screenshot (12)The One M9 has been leaked and discussed, but we now have confirmation that the shell will be very similar to last years M8. We’re treated to the same 5″ LCD 1080p display covered in Gorilla Glass 4. We’ll get 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built in storage with an SD card slot which supports up to a 128GB card. Those BoomSound speakers return, everything we’ve enjoyed from the M8 is back.

What’s new is the Qualcomm 810 chipset will be powering this new phone. Should be interesting to see how performance is managed in an all metal phone with an HD display.

Screenshot (13)HTC has also updated the camera, walking away from the gimmicky dual sensor shooter on the M8, to a single larger 20MP rear shooter. It’s expected that this camera and chipset should deliver UHD video, 60fps 1080p, and a high speed slow motion mode, but we’ll have to wait for devices to confirm that.

Lastly, it looks like HTC has finally seen the light on ergonomics, and joined the rest of the Smartphone world in moving the power button to the side of the phone.

Partnering with Under Armour, HTC also took the wraps off of the Grip fitness tracker. Looking a bit like a Nike Fuel or Gear Fit. The P-OLED display should provide decent battery life, and the entire build is sweat and water resistant.

Perhaps the most exciting announcement from HTC however was watching them step into the world of Virtual Reality headsets with the RE Vive. Partnering with Valve, the headset is a high end competitor to Samsung’s Gear VR. Instead of using a phone as the display, Vive is a self contained unit with dual 1200×1080 resolution displays with 90Hz refresh rates providing smoother and faster responses than Oculus which pumps out 75Hz.

Over 70 sensors on board track not only movement, but when paired with a pair of SteamVR base stations, it will create a 15 by 15 foot action area. Instead of being tethered to one spot, Vive will track your movement.

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Vive will ship with a pair of game controllers, but we still don’t have details on price, shipping dates, or how this unit will be powered. Will HTC require an HTC phone? Will this be a standalone product? We’re all waiting to find out!

You can catch the full HTC Press conference below!

LG to Release Free Plastic Version of Google Cardboard VR Headset to G3 Owners

LGE_VR+G3_5002We’ve seen a few companies build out variations on Google’s “inexpensive” solution for using a phone as a VR screen.

Based on that template however, LG will be building a plastic rig, designed specifically for the G3, and if you’re looking to buy LG’s current QHD screened flagship smartphone, chances are you can score a headset for free. We don’t have details yet on how or when LG might start shipping, but you can read their full press release below for more info!

Continue reading “LG to Release Free Plastic Version of Google Cardboard VR Headset to G3 Owners”

Samsung Partners With Oculus for Gear VR Headset

Samsung is betting on VR becoming a popular service. Thankfully, instead of reinventing the wheel and releasing a standalone proprietary headset, they’re partnering with Oculus to bring the Gear VR to market.

Utilizing the same AMOLED screen found on the Note 4, the Gear VR brings an even higher resolution than the most current Oculus Rift Developer Kit, effectively 1280 x 1440 per eye.

samsung gear vr headset front viewThe Gear VR will also feature a MicroUSB connector allowing to hook up to a Galaxy Note 4 to display content. Wearable headsets like this can be used to either create an immersive 3D world around the viewer, or provide for a more passive “I Got a Movie Theater All To Myself” effect. The headset will come with a MicroSD card which will include a handful of movies and demos from Marvel, IMAX, Dreamworks, and more.

While there’s no hard launch date or pricing info, Samsung says the Gear VR will be available this year. Oculus got a shot in the arm after Facebook acquired it, but Samsung has the resources to push new technologies into the mainstream.

You can read Samsung’s full PR below.

Continue reading “Samsung Partners With Oculus for Gear VR Headset”

Your New Reality Is Ready – A look at the newest VR and Augmented Reality from GDC

As I take in the sights and sounds of Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) 2014, and the occasional suspicious smell, which I overhear someone claim is that of hot dogs, a deep feeling of suspense starts stirring within me.  A merciless coup is forming poised to strike with undaunted ferocity.  The harbinger, a very specific new trend with the capability of completely disrupting everything we think we know about gaming.  No, more than that.  Reality itself.

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Virtual and augmented reality is about to mount a full-scale invasion on your sense of “the real.” It is about to change the way you consume interactive and passive content.  An assault, amassing so much power and such allies, before it even lands upon the shores of our consumer collective consciousness, it is doing everything in its power to win the war before a single shot is fired.

At every recent tech convention, the absolutely longest line, by far, to experience the latest and greatest in entertainment and gaming is not at any long-established heavyweight veteran’s booth.  It is, instead, snaking along the perimeter of a brand new, fresh-faced, hyper-ambitious startup’s booth.  The banner reads, “Oculus.”  And this phenomenon is repeated at every other booth showcasing their wares via a “generation one Oculus developer’s kit.”

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Having taken the Oculus experience for a spin at CES a few months ago, I will not be waiting in the hour-plus line to demo a couple minutes of the developer’s latest generation Rift, sporting 1080p displays, much wider field of vision, and low-latency buttery goodness.  I will say, at CES, it lived up to every shred of hype I had heard prior, even exceeding my unfairly high expectations.  But here at GDC, what I was more taken in by was the very fact that I was staring at a booth filled with dozens of people jacked into Rift headsets, lost in a world separate from this one, truly immersed and interacting inside in a virtual sphere.

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Then… the trumpets sounded, the heralds cried, and Sony announced Project Morpheus.  Their own version of a totally immersive, HD, virtual reality headset, complete with infrared head-tracking, stylish blue LED-glowing trim, and tailor-made to be a bold companion peripheral to their own Playstation. Continue reading “Your New Reality Is Ready – A look at the newest VR and Augmented Reality from GDC”

Avegant’s Glyph 3D goggles coming to Kickstarter in January!

Avegant-Glyph-BlackI’d be really happy to see more 3D headsets make their way to consumers faces next year. After playing with Oculus Rift and Sony’s 3D headset, they offer up a unique experience for watching movies and playing games. More competition in this space, especially when we can put pressure on pricing, is great.

Glyph is looking like it could be the more mobile solution for a wearable 3D display. Contrary to others making this comparison, this has nothing to do with heads up displays like Google Glass. With the eye pieces in place, immersion is the name of the game. Why the Glyph might be more portable comes down to their innovate headband design. The screens can swivel up to provide a simpler headphone mode for on the go audio. Swivel the band back down over your eyes, and it should resemble the feeling of sitting in your own private theater.

What’s interesting is watching Avegant get ahead of the social media game, announcing their Kickstarter push nearly a month before the crowd funding goes live. I like watching a company like this get a bit more aggresive in getting their message out, and Glyph looks like it could stir up a little passion in the A/V communities. The Kickstart will launch at $599 with an HDMI/MHL cable and a battery pack.

More info on Glyph: http://www.avegant.com/

Watch this Woman use Oculus Rift 3D VR goggles for first time on “Rift Coaster”

OculusRift1This is hysterically cute.

In the past, 3D goggles never really delivered the virtual reality experience they claimed they could. Current gen 3D tech is getting surprisingly good however, and the head tracking tech built into Oculus Rift provides for an extremely smooth experience, cresting that mind warping realism we’ve been seeking for so long.

This woman isn’t prepared for what’s about to happen on this roller coaster simulator, and that’s why this video rocks.