VR Digest: Intel’s ‘Project Alloy’

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written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 81 – August 17, 2016

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

Intel’s ‘Project Alloy’

Intel introduced Project Alloy at its developer conference, promising a wireless headset with a host of sought-after features including robust “inside out” positional tracking (meaning that no external sensors or lighthouses are required, so play space is unlimited). Intel says it will be available to partners in late 2017. This timeline likely means any headsets produced by Intel’s partners won’t be available until at least 2018.  One potential challenge to overcome is battery life. Oculus CTO John Carmack is on the record saying “inside out” position tracking “consumes a whole lot of battery power."

The technology is built on Intel’s Realsense 3D sensors and promises to seamlessly merge people and objects from the real world into your VR experience. That means you can avoid collisions or talk to someone naturally while wearing the headset. Additionally, the headset was shown with a person taking a real-world object and using it in VR to manipulate a virtual pottery wheel.


Minecraft launched on the Oculus Rift as a beta several months after appearing on Gear VR, with comfort features designed to make the experience more enjoyable. A number of users have found the game doesn’t launch, so you might want to wait to try it. A video posted by Microsoft-owned Mojang dives into the creation process.

Samsung started shipping its Note 7 phone and new Gear VR. The headset is quite comfortable and compatible with Samsung’s phones going back to the Note 5.

Framestore built an incredible Magic School Bus that combines a variety of cutting edge technologies including transparent screens that can turn opaque that, together, gave a bus full of kids the impression they were on Mars. The movement of the bus as it drives down the street is used to drive the view out of the “windows”.

The team behind a new South Park game lampoons videos promoting new technology with the “nosulus rift” -- a smell-o-vision facemask that could fit right under the Oculus Rift. Warning, the video is NSFW.

NVIDIA introduced the GTX 1060, 1070 and 1080 VR-Ready graphics cards for laptops, promising performance "within 10%" of their desktop counterparts. There is some confusion around naming as some sellers are still referring to the cards with the 'M' moniker that NVidia previously used to denote mobile versions of their cards. The laptop cards are slightly different than the desktop versions, with the 1070 adopting more cores and a lower clock speed than its desktop version. Road to VR was able to run some benchmarks during their hands on. The 1070 equipped laptop scored 2072 on Unigine Heaven benchmark, besting one of our desktop workstations, which uses an overclocked GTX 980.

An Australian band made a music video entirely in Google’s sketching app Tilt Brush.

Aerofly FS2 is a long-in-development simulator from IPACS (who were previously known for Radio-Control aircraft simulators but jumped into the full-scale game when Microsoft shut down the ACES Flight Simulator development team). The simulator offers built-in Vive and Rift support as well as the best out-of-the-box graphics in the general aviation flight simulation genre. The sim is being offered as a Steam Early Access Game.

Universal Studios Orlando is getting a VR horror experience called The Repository for its Halloween Horror Nights powered by VRstudios. Pricing is in line with The Void: $50.

Microsoft announced a plan to add Windows Holographic to all Windows 10 machines in 2017, which would theoretically let a number of AR and VR devices interface with Windows while offering control of Windows itself through a “holographic shell.” The concept video even throws in a virtual dog.

Microsoft also started selling the Hololens directly to businesses with their new “Commercial Suite” offering, which adds Mobile Device Management and Kiosk Mode features to the $3,000 Mixed Reality headset.

Both Facebook and Jaunt released heatmaps for 360-degree videos, letting creators see what areas of a video garnered the most user interest.

A project looking to preserve rapidly-disappearing scary carnival rides with 360-degree videos is looking for crowdfunding.

A story and video on Quartz details a study published in Nature that shows how scientists from the Walk Again Project utilized VR and robotics to help 8 subjects regain some control of their paralyzed limbs.

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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