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VR Digest: Carmack countersues Zenimax; 
Vimeo adds 360 support

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by John Dewar (@jstarrdewar) Issue 111 – March 15, 2017

VR Digest: A Virtual Reality newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent

Hi Friends,

 
It’s a fun travel week here at Studio Transcendent. John is in London setting up a VR activation for Danone at Paddington Station. Bowdy is attending SXSW in Austin, Texas. If any readers would like to take this opportunity to meet face-to-face, please drop us a line at contact@studiotranscendent.com.

Best,
Aaron, John, Bowdy, and Elissa 
at Studio Transcendent

 

Carmack Countersues Zenimax

Hopefully Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher are paying attention and sharpening their pencils, because the drama surrounding Oculus’ formation keeps getting twistier. Ian Hamilton provides a rundown on the latest development, in which John Carmack has sued Zenimax for nonpayment of the last $22.5 million installment for their purchase of id Software.
 

Vimeo Adds 360 Support

Vimeo has finally added 360 video support to their platform. They accept source media up to 8K, although they currently only support 4K playback. While they do not yet have binaural audio format support, they are offering support for their on-demand platform for 360 content, giving content creators a potential monetization play.
 

Bits

Ubisoft, in partnership with digital therapy company Amblyotech, has developed a pair of games that can help treat adults and children afflicted with amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye”. The games await FDA approval.

The Venture Reality Fund reported that “the landscape of companies it tracks in the virtual reality market grew more than 40 percent in 2016.” The largest area of growth was in content companies that create apps for VR headsets, explaining why the gaming and entertainment companies nearly doubled in size.

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC recently implemented VR as an accessibility solution for Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Infinity Mirrors’ exhibit. Because of narrow walkways and steps, people in wheelchairs couldn’t experience parts of the popular art exhibit. With the help of VR, everyone is now able to explore it. The Washington Post reports that, rather than using 360 video, the VR artists modeled a “digital replica of the room as it appears to the viewer, including black lines where the seams of the mirrors would appear. Early screen captures of the project earned Kusama’s approval, and a representative from her studio signed off on the final version.”

The Freedom Locomotion System is now compatible with Rift. The project implements a number of locomotion systems for developers to play with. One of the most interesting: “[Controller-Assisted On-The-Spot] is a form of walking in place locomotion solution where, to move, you simply walk, jog or run on the spot, allowing you to walk, jog or run in VR. This also has the benefit of allowing you to traverse large open world VR spaces in an immersive manner while being less likely to get motion sick than traditional sliding VR locomotion solutions.”

Google recently published a patent application for an ‘Integrated mobile device packaging and virtual reality headset’. Road to VR reports that Google aims to “provide a ‘relatively low cost’ VR headset solution by shipping the smartphone in packaging that doubles as a VR viewer.”

Originally released on Steam in August 2016, Cyan’s Obduction will integrate motion control support on March 22 for HTC Vive and Oculus Touch. Rand Miller, CEO, says that many of the 200,000 fans on Obduction’s Steam wishlist have been asking for hand controls. Indeed, this should make exploring the detailed objects and interacting with the many buttons and levers much more organic. “As a VR-centric studio, we’re thrilled to be delving even further into these platforms, bringing ever deeper immersion to our worlds and pushing the edge of what’s possible,” says Miller.


Studio Transcendent, publisher of VR Digest, played an integral role in helping Cyan film the stereo video characters featured in the story, a technique best appreciated in VR.

A recent article in Quartz reports that “social justice and policy advocates are beginning to use VR as a tool for persuading legislative change. New content studios advertise missions to ‘harness the power of virtual reality and leverage it for social good.’ Nonprofits captivate donors with immersive documentaries about their gifts’ impact. And earlier this year, HTC Vive committed $10 million to a new program, VR for Impact, that will fund projects aimed at advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”


In 2015, journalist and entrepreneur Jamie Wong partnered with CNN political commentator Van Jones to create Project Empathy. They have now created two films and are working on a third. Wong notes: “We not only [want] to introduce to the public using VR for good and for political action and activism, but also to create a concrete opportunity for empirical discovery and understanding.”

Originally revealed at Sundance, Positron’s Voyager VR chair made another appearance at SXSW. The revolutionary chair simulates motion with the help of motors that control pitch and yaw, a built-in vibrating Subpac, an Oculus Rift headset, and noise-canceling headphones. Users reported that the seat yielded a very effective simulation of the inertia felt when one is “pinned back” during aircraft takeoff. They also liked that the chair’s movement synced with the camera movement as opposed to being stationary and noted that the chair greatly reduced motion sickness because it tricked the body into feeling like it was really moving through space.

VR Digest™ is a Virtual Reality Newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent, a producer of premium Virtual Reality experiences. We publish weekly on Wednesdays.

 
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