Since the advent of virtual reality hardware, there's been a drive toward wireless. But the dream of an exceptional VR headset that doesn't tangle isn't quite there yet — the performance and graphics quality can't compare to wired systems. Facebook's Oculus seems to believe it has cracked the code, though. At Oculus Connect 5 (OC5), the new all-in-one Oculus Quest headset debuted with the advertising copy: "This is the VR experience everyone's been waiting for." In addition to the new hardware, the VR headset maker announced that its mobile app now supports the Oculus Rift, and that Oculus Go will soon gain access to YouTube VR's full library. Read More
Google Chrome 66 came out a few days ago, with your usual list of new APIs and user improvements. However, one major new feature flew under the radar. This is the first stable Chrome release with experimental support for Valve's OpenVR API, allowing VR content to be viewed on all popular headsets. This includes the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Read More
Today Google has announced Blocks, a new tool for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift for making 3D objects. Think Google's Tilt Brush, but with a 3D spin. As the name might suggest, Google's motivation seems to have been making 3D modeling easier for everyone. Crafting objects literally with your hands should make Blocks much more approachable for users compared to the regular keyboard-and-mouse-driven method on a 2D screen. Read More
Perhaps you haven't noticed yet, but virtual reality is kind of a big deal. Samsung has holiday-themed ads running on primetime TV and sports, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are breaking new ground in a stale gaming industry, and even Google is pushing its new Daydream platform hard. The powers that be think there's money to be made, and that means they're willing to work together (at least to some degree) in pursuit of it. Hence the creation of the Global Virtual Reality Association, announced by Samsung on its corporate blog. Read More
The current boom in virtual reality tech is progressing along roughly two lines: big, complex, and expensive VR headsets driven by full-power gaming machines, like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and small, cheap headsets that slot a high-resolution smartphone in to pull double duty as processing unit and display, like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR. Users who don't have four figures worth of money to burn have had to make do with the latter. But a new app is hoping to change that. Read More
Virtual reality (or whatever term some picky people would like to apply to it) is the hot new thing. Conventional businesses are trying to incorporate it into their plans, and nothing shouts "conventional business" like a hardware store. To that end, US hardware chain Lowe's is working on some interesting ways to get customers involved in their renovation projects, even before they start putting down plastic sheets. At a few stores in Colorado and Ohio, Lowe's has created special VR stations that will let you recreate an entire room, then swap out 3D appliances, apply different paint colors, and do all kinds of home improvement things while seeing the results in real time with an Oculus Rift headset. Read More
Oculus VR has been through quite a ride since it raised nearly $2.5 million on Kickstarter in 2012. It has produced two prototypes of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display, and been acquired by Facebook along the way. Now the company has announced a release window for the first consumer version of the Rift—Q1 2016. That's almost all we know, though.
The Oculus Rift has been in development for a few years with development kits available to those who wanted to experience the future of motion sickness, but now the second iteration of the development hardware is out. Naturally, iFixit got one to tear apart. What they found is solid evidence of the collaboration between Oculus and Samsung. The screen in the Oculus Rift DK2 is literally the whole front panel of a Galaxy Note 3.
This is Google Cardboard. It's really, really weird.
Here's the gist: Google is experimenting with virtual reality displays at I/O 2014, including a new VR toolkit for developers to try out. They've also created an Android app that will let you simulate an Oculus Rift-style, dual-screen VR headset using only your phone, kind of like that Samsung rumor from last month. Here's the problem: you don't have a headset. Google I/O attendees are getting free headsets that they can build out of cardboard, which then holds their phone at optimal VR-viewing distance. Because nothing says "international developer conference run by one of the world's biggest technology companies" like a bunch of coders strapping cardboard boxes to their faces. Read More