Top 5 #VirtualReality & #AugmentedReality News
Snapchat, NBA, Instagram, Samsung, Twitter, and more…
1.) Tell Us Your Secrets, Snapchat…
Snapchat acquired Seene, a computer vision startup that lets users make 3D selfies. This acquisition was kept very quiet; although it happened a few months ago, Tech Crunch broke the story just last week. Seene lets you capture 3D models from your phone with a simple smartphone camera. Snapchat could use Seene’s format for a brand new category of selfie lenses, a new 3D photo format, and potentially for future virtual reality projects. OK, Snapchat — what are you up to???
2.) The NBA goes hard in the virtual paint with Samsung AND Twitter
Exclusive behind-the-scenes content from the NBA Finals is being filmed w/ Samsung 360 Camera, and the NBA is releasing the video highlights via Twitter. It’s supplemental content, and not live streams of the games themselves, but a few things are interesting here. It’s yet another example of the Samsung brand dominating mainstream access to virtual reality, as well as a vote of confidence to the 360 camera itself (still not available in US but the price point, expected to be ~$400, keeps it within the reach of creators and the quality is GREAT). Fans will be able to click on a Twitter website card from @NBA or @SamsungMobileUS accounts which will take them to immersive NBA game footage. The 360 content is not natively embedded in Twitter, but you see the writing on the wall here.
3.) New app turns your Instagram into a Virtual Gallery: Instamuseum!
3D model platform Sketchfab has debuted another toy that integrates Instagram. You just type in your user name, or the handle of any public account, and the program uses Blender to generate dynamic 3D model and then uploads them with Sketchfab (full source is available on GitHub, too!).
The program uses Blender to generate dynamic 3D models and then uploads them with Sketchfab, full source is available on GitHub. The creator has stated the obvious: the next logical step is to add embedded photo captions and more social integrations. Speaking of social integrations, since Instagram is owned by Facebook (and we know the Big Book of Face has a vested interest in VR), when will Instagram itself release functionality for native 360 photos/videos?
a. Will Nintendo NX Support VR?
Digitimes is reporting that the Nintendo NX mass-production plan intended to begin mid-2016 will begin early next year instead
What IS the Nintendo NX? It’s still unclear, but maybe console/handheld hybrid? Nintendo (somewhat infamously) denounced virtual reality tech at E3 in 2015, but maybe they still felt the burn from Virtual Boy…
b. Will Xbox Host VR Support?
In late 2017 there could be a console that supports virtual reality. “Project Scorpio” (best code name ever?)
could be a more robust Xbox One with a new graphics chip that gives it 4x the power — enough to power an Oculus Rift?
c. Apple: Updating Thunderbolt Display for VR?
Thunderbolt Display going to be updated for the first time since 2011. Will this display have an integrated GPU?
If these rumors are correct, then it would let Mac laptops be able to run more advanced graphics processing (and be able to power a VR rig???).
5.) Preserving Artifacts Destroyed by Islamic State with Photogrammetry
The Mosul Museum, the 2nd largest museum in Iraq, was looted by the Islamic state in 2003. A new program called “RecoVR: Mosul” aims to restore all of these historical artifacts; this is a project from the Economist and will be an ongoing reclamation project that is starting to crowdsource photos and create 3D models of destroyed artifacts. What is photogrammetry? In this use case, it’s combining lots of photographs to composite and create 3D models of real-world objects.
… just a few more …
a. Jaunt Opens New VR Content Company in China
Jaunt, which is one of the most well-funded VR companies with $100M, is teaming up with Shanghai Media Group and China Media Capital to create VR content with the Jaunt One camera; the first round of content will be virtual tours of Shanghai and music from pop group SNH48 (do yourself a favor and watch some music videos from SNH48). My question is: how will Jaunt work with Chinese censors?
b. uSens Raises $20M in Series A to Pursue Inside-Out Tracking Technology
uSens is a AR/VR startup founded in 2013, developing on inside-out position and hand tracking technology for both tethered and mobile systems. These could provide gesture controls and augmented reality overlays, and are currently in prototype form claiming a 2016 release. Here’s another instance of Chinese funding: the lead investor here is Fosun Kinzon Capital (which is a $400M fund usually focused on emerging Internet companies).
c. Dverse Raises $1.04M
Dverse is a Japanese startup that has an app called Symmetry, which seems like like Tiltbrush for arcitechture and civil engineering. It allows users to convert 3D models into VR models to be able to design with. Dverse will be setting up an office in Los Angeles and hiring more engineers, and hopes to expand into other modeling industries like industrial and interior design
Free Samsung Gear VR Bundle is BACK
In March, Samsung gave away 300,000 Gear VR sets with pre-orders of the Galaxy S7 series smartphones. Now (yep, just in time for Father’s Day) Samsung is bundling 600,000 units and expanding the offer to purchases of Note 5, S6 series, as well as S7 series. No official numbers on how many Gear VR units have been sold, however it was recently announced that there have been over one million unique Gear VR logins to the Oculus home store. As contextual side note, some forecasts predict that Samsung Gear VR will sell 5 million units in 2016.
NEW PODCAST EPISODE: NEWS & MORE!
The VRScout Weekly News Report Ep. 13
Thanks to this week’s featured guests:
Christina Heller, co-founder & CEO of VR Playhouse
Caleb Eubanks, VR developer, YouTube personality, co-owner of VRSpies.com
Jonathan Nafarrete, co-founder & Editor-in-Chief of VRScout
The Real Virtual Show is a live, participatory talk show focused on all things mediated reality. Hosted by @TheMalia, we have conversations with leaders in the exciting virtual and augmented reality space. Catch the podcast on iTunes: http://bit.ly/RVSiTunes or any podcast directory: http://bit.ly/RVSrssfeed.
Where real people talk live about virtual #realvirtual