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VR Digest: Light fields explained;
VR Web browser debuts
 
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 44 – December 2, 2015

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

Mobile VR web browser debuts

The Oculus platform continues to gain steam with the release of new VR apps. The most notable this week was the first Web browser for mobile VR, made by Samsung for the Gear VR. The browser was released as a beta and uses the same rendering engine as the default Samsung Internet app included with all of their phones. The browser’s best trick is support for 3D and 360-degree YouTube videos. The app is the latest to arrive on Gear VR amid the strong consumer launch of the headset, which has seen a steady stream of apps and games that won accolades (and cash) during the Oculus Mobile VR Jam earlier this year. Among them is flying carpet game Bazaar, which Oculus CTO John Carmack critiqued on Facebook and House of Languages, a cute foreign language learning app.
 

Light fields explained

Experts from rendering company OTOY, capture company Lytro and researchers from USC talked at a Visual Effects Society event focused on light fields. It will take a couple hours to get through the videos but the four parts are a must-watch for people confused about what the technology represents.
 

Part 1 (34 minutes)

Part 2 (31 minutes)

Part 3 (26 minutes)

Part 4 (1 hour 10 minutes)
 

Bits:

Nokia’s Ozo camera for VR capture will cost $60,000. It weighs around 10 pounds, can run without wires, and promises live-monitoring of footage as well as complete surround sound capture. A $5,000 deposit is required and it starts shipping in Q1 next year.

Kent Bye posted a pair of podcasts offering a look into the minds of people who are investing in mixed reality companies. One 15-minute podcast is with Sunny Dhillon, who invested in promising volumetric capture company 8i. The other 16-minute podcast is with Joe Kraus of Google Ventures.

“AR has the potential to disrupt any prior computing platform that we previously had,” Dhillon said. “VR so far has been largely focused within entertainment but there’s huge enterprise and healthcare and biological impacts that technology is going to have that has not been researched, explored or well-funded so far.”

Techcrunch confirmed that Apple acquired facial animation software company Faceshift. UploadVR posted some videos showing the progression of the technology over the last year into a friendly avatar creation tool that can track expressions in real-time.

A HoloLens developer tweeted a cool-looking video showing a solar system floating in a girl’s hands, though the girl couldn’t see the solar system because she was not wearing the headset.

Keep an eye on The Game Awards on Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. PST for “a special announcement from Oculus” that will definitely not be pre-orders for the Oculus Rift.

An Oculus blog post dives deep into how to use Unity to create a user interface system for VR.

A 23-minute video shows Zach Barth of Valve explaining how to design and build a room-scale VR game for the HTC Vive in Unity.
 

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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