VR Digest: Rift delays extended;
Facebook debuts 360 camera

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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 63 – April 13, 2016

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

Facebook Debuts 360 Camera

Facebook kicked off its annual F8 developer’s conference with the debut of an open-source 360-degree camera. All of the components are available online with a total cost around $30,000. Plans and software are to be released this summer on Github.

The device is expected to be capable of capturing ultra high resolution 8K stereo video that can then be played back at native resolution on the Gear VR using Facebook’s new dynamic streaming codec. The plans include a Linux computer to handle data ingestion using a 5-SSD RAID array.

Stitching will be handled automatically and works in a similar way to Google’s Jump camera, analyzing each frame to recreate depth information and then synthesizing virtual cameras to create a seamless panorama. This means that the camera cannot stream stereo video in real time; the finished shots must be rendered “overnight”.


Rift Delays Extended

Last week Facebook confirmed that an undisclosed component shortage is slowing the release of the Oculus Rift. The company gave free shipping to all early pre-orders as an apology.

This week, Oculus provided more information to early adopters through the order history page, giving them estimated arrival windows. The $600 PC-powered headset was available for pre-order starting in early January with the first deliveries slated for late March. Now, some Rift orders promised for March ship dates may be delayed into May (and orders originally slated for April have slipped to June). New orders are expected to ship in August.

Oculus provided some information on Reddit for prospective buyers and, separately, said “many Rifts will ship less than four weeks from original estimates, and we hope to beat the new estimates we’ve provided.”


VideoStitch announced the Orah 4i 360 video camera, which is designed specifically for live streaming monoscopic 4K video at 30fps. It can be preordered for $1,795 and will retail for $3,595. Shipping is planned for July.

A new Kickstarter project for prescription VR lenses has successfully funded on Kickstarter with weeks to go in the campaign.

Senator Al Franken sent a letter to Oculus (PDF) asking privacy-related questions.

A 5-minute video shows how challenging a virtual high-speed driving game can be while a 6-minute video shows mixed reality racing in VR.

Road to VR took a stroll on Mars in the VR Mars 2030 project from FUSION Media. The project is being built in collaboration with NASA and NVIDIA.

Voices of VR spoke with Valve engineers for a podcast about the evolution of the lighthouse tracking system.

A 35-minute deep dive by Tested compares the Rift and Vive.

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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