VR Digest: A cardboard Hololens;
Star Trek released; Vive mods

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by John Dewar (@jstarrdewar) Issue 122 – May 31, 2017

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

Hi Friends,

Hope you all got the most out of your long weekend! After four weeks in a row that were chock full of major announcements, we caught a bit of a breather this week, so it’s bits-only today.
John, Aaron, Bowdy, and Elissa 
at Studio Transcendent


A really interesting new Kickstarter project called Aryzon is a Google Cardboard-esque Augmented Reality HMD that is capable of displaying true Mixed Reality content like the Hololens, Meta 2 and Magic Leap HMDs, but at the same $30-ish price point as the first Cardboard devices. Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters fame makes a cameo in the video.

Ubisoft’s long-awaited multiplayer VR game Star Trek: Bridge Crew has been released. New buyers of the HTC Vive will get the game for free. The game supports cross play between PS4, Vive and Oculus via Ubisoft’s UPlay service, but that has caused some headaches for users trying to activate the game, especially if they purchased it with a discount directly from UPlay. Players are advised to log out of the UPlay app before launching the game from Oculus Home, then follow the prompts to log back in.

Reviewers got their hands on the $100 HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap. Gamespot has an unboxing slideshow and Road to VR posted a very positive review. The strap will go on sale June 6.

Tobii is now taking pre-orders for eye-tracking Vives. The devkit consists of an HTC Vive Business Edition with eye tracking hardware retrofitted into the HMD.

French astronaut Thomas Pesquet‏ posted photos of himself using an Oculus Rift CV1 on the International Space Station. “Last week we ran the GRASP experiment with a VR headset to test how brains interpret visual cues without gravity – disconcerting but fun!”

A Bloomberg article reveals that IMAX’s VR center in Los Angeles has seen 25,000 visitors in the first four months since it opened, with revenue of $15,000 per week. Based on that success, IMAX will be opening 11 locations rather than the originally-planned 6. The next venue to open will be located, unsurprisingly, in Manhattan.

The headline of the piece is unfortunate; some journalists (Steven Levy from last week’s profile of Clay Bavor was also guilty of this) seem intent on painting VR as a disappointment in the retail sector; but we have to ask---disappointing compared to what? The only public projections seemed to have arisen from wildly optimistic analysts, who aren’t done hyping the space: the same Bloomberg article quotes Goldman Sachs’ projection that the VR marketplace will see revenues of $80 billion in just 8 years.

John Carmack is always good for a fascinating tech talk, and he pontificated for nearly an hour and a half at UMKC’s School of Computing and Engineering Spring 2017 Commencement. A large portion of the talk is given over to how he tackled the challenge of reducing latency in the Oculus Rift motion-to-photons pipeline by thinking holistically about the problem rather than simply trying to farm every individual issue out to a domain expert to solve in isolation.

HTC announced Link, a new VR headset for the U11 smartphone. The Link curiously is not part of HTC’s Vive brand and will only be released in Japan. What sets it apart is that it has LED tracking lights, and an external camera that will give the device 6-degrees of freedom head tracking.

Flite Test reviewed the DJI Goggles HMD which they rated 9 out of 10, citing great comfort, crisp detail, ease of use and no stuttering or pixelation of the image (at the expense of latency). The device gives drone pilots FPV (First-Person View) capabilities with long range and a six-hour runtime with hassle free setup. It also has some interesting VR-like capabilities, thanks to a built in IMU (a rarity among today’s drone FPV HMD equipment). The drone can be controlled with head movements, or the camera gimble can be set to mimic head movements, giving the impression of flight.

NVIDIA’s new Max-Q gaming laptop reference design will measure only 18mm thick and weigh five pounds, while housing a powerful GTX 1080 inside. Asus has a page detailing their planned version, the ROG Zephyrus GX501, which features an interesting vent design that opens when the screen is opened, essentially making the chassis thicker, then collapses back to a thin profile when the screen is closed.

HTC and Intel will showcase a new WiGig powered wireless VR solution at E3 2017, offering “pristine video quality with <7ms latency in any environment, supporting multiple users sharing the same space. All of this results in the seamless wireless VR with the Vive.”

Studio Transcendent’s Director of Sales Bowdy Brown will participate in a panel on June 6th during the PromaxBDA Conference in L.A. The panel will discuss emerging technology and its impact on the future of entertainment marketing, including the use of bots in film marketing and dynamic storytelling. PromaxBDA’s mission is “to lead the global community of marketers and creatives in the media & entertainment industry, by celebrating excellence, driving talent & industry development, and connecting people.”

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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