VR Digest: $3,000 Hololens devkit;
VR marriage proposal

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 36 – October 7, 2015

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

HoloLens developer kits cost $3,000

Microsoft announced a whopping $3,000 price tag for its HoloLens “Development Edition” which is slated to ship in the first quarter of 2016. Interested developers must apply to be eligible to pay for one come January.

The augmented reality glasses are a self contained, untethered solution, so the cost includes the CPU, GPU, storage and tracking hardware (the so-called “Holographic Processing Unit”) as well as its cutting edge (though limited field-of-view) display.

Microsoft is touring major U.S. cities in October and November to give hands-on demos of HoloLens. Space is limited and as of this writing many venues are waitlisted.

Also demonstrated was “Project X-Ray” a first-party robot-blasting game that takes advantage of Hololens’ ability to map the geometry of a room and its furniture. It utilizes a never-before-seen hand tracking wand controller.

Bits:’s Oculus Connect 2 video interview with the creators of Job Simulator offers some useful insights about building a cross-platform experience using hand controllers from each of the major VR platforms.

“We’ve got across the board with the three major players kind of an alignment in feature sets of tracked controllers,” said Owlchemy Labs Chief Scientist Alex Schwartz. “I can pick things up using a single trigger and I can activate them, and so actually Job Simulator only has two buttons in the entire game.”

A Valve employee apparently used VR to propose marriage. From the bride-to-be’s Facebook explanation:

“So there I was, typical day...on a sunken ship deck; fixing robots; painting three-dimensional fire; walking through the Alps; and then suddenly, a virtual engagement ring started floating my way. Chandler told me to grab it. Then told me to take off my headset, and there he really was, on one knee, with a real ring. It wasn't imaginary anymore. But I didn't say yes. I said, ‘OF COURSE I WILL MARRY YOU!’"

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On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert discussed CNN’s team-up with panoramic video broadcasting startup NextVR. The Laguna Beach-based startup is live-streaming the Oct. 13 Democratic debate to the Gear VR.

Disney Research showed an impressive augmented reality app (video, research) that could allow kids to use a coloring book and, with a tablet, see 3D models of their creations in real-time.

Mike Alger posted an 18-minute video bridging the gap between science fiction computer interfaces and real-world next generation VR and AR interfaces. The video and associated links referenced in the video’s description, as well as a lengthy paper, are like a jam-packed course in cutting edge computer interface design.

Oculus released three videos of its major keynotes from Oculus Connect 2: Major announcements with co-founders Brendan Iribe and Palmer Luckey (1 hour), Chief Technology Officer John Carmack (1 hour) and Chief Scientist Michael Abrash (32 minutes).

Chris Madsen posted a pair of short videos showing a wireless positional tracking experiment using a Google Tango tablet on the back of a hard hat and Gear VR strapped to the front for visuals. The first video gives a pretty good look at the hardware and the second shows a short skateboard ride while in a VR environment.

Samsung is kicking off a “Be Fearless” ad campaign that suggests Gear VR can be used to conquer fears, with one video showing a person practicing public speaking and another showing a person overcoming a fear of heights.

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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