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VR Digest: Hug-starved hedgehog
hastens VR transition to mainstream

The week's top VR news brought to you
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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 26 – July 29, 2015

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

Hug-starved hedgehog hastens VR transition to mainstream

The second Oculus short film “Henry” premiered at an event in Hollywood on Tuesday, beginning what is shaping up as the transitional period for virtual reality from developer toy to mainstream medium.

Wired called the film, about a hedgehog who just wants a hug for his birthday, “The Most Important Movie of 2015”. The L.A. Times said it was “the beginning of a new chapter in entertainment.”

“The character will suddenly look at you. Henry will do that. Henry will be aware that you’re there watching his story unfold,” said Oculus Story Studio Creative Director Saschka Unseld in a promotional video.
 

NFL training has surprising impact on public awareness of VR

The NFL helped make VR’s resurgence common knowledge when sports media this week began covering efforts by teams including the Patriots, Buccaneers, 49ers and Cowboys to contract with competing VR companies for their training software.

“All the research says that real video engages your brain more,” said Derek Belch, STRIVR founder. “We capture what actually happens on the field. Whatever the teams are practicing — that is what we get.”
 

Bits

Microsoft Research used “106 synchronized RGB and infrared cameras on a calibrated greenscreen stage” (video, paper) to capture footage that can later be reconstructed as geometry and viewed from any angle while being streamed at 9-12 megabits per second as a standard MPEG-4 file. The solution eliminates most of the jittering artifacts that have plagued other implementations such as 8i.

Bernie Sanders became the first presidential candidate to make a speech in VR. You can check it out on Vrideo.

You can watch an Apollo astronaut who walked on the moon, Charlie Duke, try the in-progress Apollo 11 experience crowdfunded by Immersive VR Education.

Samsung is hosting an event in New York on August 13 in what might be the announcement for a “Gear VR” consumer headset. Beginning last year with the “Innovator Edition” and continuing this year with the Mobile VR Jam, Oculus has been trying to spur development for mobile VR to stock up its mobile app store with compelling content.

A trailer for SIGGRAPH in Los Angeles from August 9-13 might tempt VR enthusiasts to attend. Spend $50 for the “Exhibits Plus” pass to access the VR Village exhibits.

Two successful VR Kickstarters are wrapping up today: the Sphericam 2 wraparound VR video camera and the FlyInside FSX flight simulator add-on.

Registration is open for Leap Motion's second 3D Jam. Entries must use the Leap Motion Controller and are due November 9.

CCP Games is exploring 8 v 8 teams and voice chat for highly anticipated VR space-fighting game "EVE: Valkyire”.

Oculus CTO John Carmack teased that in addition to his livestreamed keynote he will be doing a “VrScript” live coding session during Oculus Connect. That’s the new Scheme-based scripting language he has been working on for a few months that will ease development on mobile platforms.

A video from social VR platform High Fidelity shows Vive, Rift and desktop users “talking to each other and making hand contact” using the company’s software.

A team called LumaPie won the $20,000 prize in a big data visualization challenge to build a VR visualization tool that could present data in a way that would be more useful than a flat screen. The winners used Unreal and a DK2 to visualize how environmental and genetic factors shaped “the lives of more than 14,000 residents of the city of Bristol.” The team produced a video explaining the tool.

“We started to wrap [points of data] in spirals much like you do in DNA because you can pack the data in.”

Nokia has revealed Ozo, a stereoscopic panoramic video camera built into a sleek metallic sphere with integrated microphones for binaural audio. The camera will offer real-time stitching capability and retail in the mid-five figures price range targeted at professional productions.
 

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

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