VR Digest: Oculus Connect Schedule Released

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written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 32 – September 9, 2015

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

Oculus Connect Schedule Released

Clear your calendar from 10 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m. PST on Thursday, September 24, because that’s when Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe kicks off a series of three keynotes that will be streamed live online. Iribe will provide updates on the Rift, Touch and Samsung Gear VR. Oculus Chief Scientist Michael Abrash takes the stage at 11 a.m. to talk the future of VR, and CTO John Carmack speaks at 1 p.m. The full schedule is now online. Among the planned talks is a discussion about a new social Software Development Kit from Oculus and a live coding session with Carmack. We will be at the conference, and look forward to seeing you there as well.


Facepunch Studios is planning to release a creation platform based on its “ViveCraft” experiment that was used to first design and then ride a roller coaster in this video.

“Building things in Minecraft is already fun, but made slightly frustrating because you’re doing it indirectly through a keyboard and mouse,” developer James King wrote. “With the room scale tracking and motion controls of a Vive you feel exactly like you’re playing with an unlimited set of Lego bricks.”

Unity named six of the best VR experiences made with the engine. If you have a Unity account you can now vote to select a winner, which will be honored at a developer conference in Boston on September 22 (the same day as the Proto Awards in Hollywood). The finalists are Headmaster by Frame, I Expect You To Die by Schell Games, Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives by Owlchemy Labs, Lucky’s Tale by Playful Corp, The Gallery: Six Elements by Cloudhead Games and Tilt Brush by Google.

Re/Code reported that Qualcomm is exploring the sale of its augmented reality division after cutting 15 percent of its workforce earlier this year. Samsung is also said to be reducing payroll by 10 percent, a few weeks after HTC cut 15 percent of its workforce.

Based on LinkedIn profile updates, a shuttered website, and the involvement of a legal firm that often acts on Apple’s behalf, blogs like Macrumors are guessing that the tech giant may have acquired facial expression recognition company Faceshift. Here’s some video of the technology in action a year ago. Using a PrimeSense (now Apple) sensor, the software recreates a man’s expressions in real time across a variety of avatars.

The tiny Ricoh Theta S goes on sale in October for $350, recording up to 25 minutes of monoscopic 360-degree video footage.

The $15,000, 14.5-pound GoPro Odyssey stereoscopic camera rig will finally be going on sale in November, although supplies will be limited and there is an application process. GoPro Odyssey is the first camera available for Google’s Jump platform, which claims to use machine vision techniques to automatically assemble 16 separate video streams into a perfectly seamless stereo panorama. GoPro posted some sample footage on YouTube showing no seams, although there remain blank regions at the top and bottom outside of the cameras’ coverage area. Unfortunately, no stereo version of the video is available.

According to Science Daily, research published in the journal Neurology “shows that a mild electrical current applied to the scalp can dampen responses in an area of the brain that is responsible for processing motion signals. Doing this helps the brain reduce the impact of the confusing inputs it is receiving and so prevents the problem that causes the symptoms of motion sickness.”

VRLA posted videos to its Youtube channel of many of its sessions from the most recent event.

Vanity Fair covered Oculus in its latest issue with photos by Annie Leibovitz.

“There are certain things in the future that you know will happen,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “The real challenge is figuring out what’s possible now and how exactly do you make it.”


Variety reported the Los Angeles Philharmonic filmed a panoramic video of a performance of Beethoven’s 5th symphony, which puts a user between famed conductor Gustavo Dudamel and his orchestra. The experience will be available this week on the Gear VR.

VRSE released a powerful new VR documentary Waves of Grace, this time tackling the Ebola crisis in Liberia. It is available in their app on Gear VR and Google Cardboard.

Kite & Lightning’s latest experience, GE Neuro, is available on Oculus Share and Milk VR.

Two German film students from Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg created a compelling VR sci-fi horror film called SONAR that demonstrates innovative attention-management and editing techniques. Available as a download for Gear VR.

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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