Dash is reminiscent of a Minority Report-style interface, where windows dangle in the air and can be moved around with the wave of a hand. Dash will let you code inside VR, but also bring along your favorite desktop experiences like Facebook and Messenger, YouTube, and Spotify.
Developers will especially enjoy the ability to debug VR apps while actually running them via Visual Studio, Unity, and Unreal. Screens appear in full-fidelity inside Dash, and you can access the rest of your PC beyond the core apps.
The revamped Oculus Home lets you make your startup screen for Rift into your fantasy geek palace. You can pick all sorts of sensible or sci-fi furnishings, like art, seating, and toys. You can show off trophies of your in-game achievements, and even play retro video games. Oculus is planning to let you hang out with friends inside Home in the future.
Tell a child they need to undergo another painful medical procedure, and you’ll probably have a kid who’s racked with fear and anxiety. Tell that same child they’ll have a chance to zap flying cheeseburgers in outer space while their doctor works on them, and they might feel a little different.
That night-and-day difference in how kids respond to the pricks and prodding of their doctors is the reason for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford’s groundbreaking use of virtual reality technology. As one of the first hospitals in the country to implement distraction-based VR therapy in every patient unit, Packard Children’s lets kids participate in fun and relaxing immersive experiences that can significantly reduce their anxiety — and even their pain.
Experts have already found virtual reality has a major impact on kids’ stress levels. “VR is often so unfamiliar that it is instantly engaging and incredibly distracting,” Veronica Tuss, a child life specialist with the hospital’s Child Life and Creative Arts Department, told Stanford Medicine News Center. “If I’m preparing a child for their very first IV, and they share with me that they don’t want to see what’s happening procedurally, I know I need a distraction that is visually engaging. With VR, an often-intimidating setting suddenly becomes this really cool thing or place that they get to explore. It can minimize the experience of getting the IV to the point that we may actually turn a negative experience into a positive one.”
This isn’t the first time Packard Children’s has introduced innovative methods to ease patients’ worries. In 2015, Sam Rodriguez, M.D., and Thomas Caruso, M.D., the co-founders of Packard Children’s Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology (CHARIOT) program, which is leading the VR rollout, introduced the Bedside Entertainment and Relaxation Theater (BERT). The system projects videos on a large screen attached to patients’ gurneys so they can watch movies and music videos all the way to the operating room. Pretty cool stuff.
And in early 2017, CHARIOT launched an interactive video game called Sevo the Dragon, which projects on the BERT screen and gamifies the administration of anesthesia, so the tiniest patients have something fun to do while breathing medicine through a mask.
Caruso and Rodriguez are currently collaborating with Silicon Valley-based software engineers to create original VR content that’s specifically tailored to pediatric patients. Spaceburgers, the duo’s first game, was developed in collaboration with Juno VR, and it allows the kids to listen to relaxing music as they fly through outer space and zap objects.
Researchers are now investigating how much of an impact VR actually has on pain and anxiety levels during certain procedures, and so far, the results are promising. Kids who are engaged with VR tend to be more cooperative, less fearful and experience less pain during procedures like blood draws.
Nokia, the once-mighty phone maker that eventually retreated to a business based around networking equipment and targeted verticals like health and imaging, is rethinking its business strategy once again. Today, the company announced that it would cease building its pricey OZO virtual reality cameras after finding that the VR market was developing “slower than expected”. It will instead shift its focus more to health products and patent licensing. Nokia Technologies is laying off up to 310 people as part of the move. Nokia Networks is unaffected.
The reductions will happen mainly in the U.S., U.K. and Finland, the company said, and account for about 35 percent of the 1,090 employees in Nokia Technologies, as the unit overseeing VR efforts (along with Health and licensing of patents) is called.
“Nokia Technologies is at a point where, with the right focus and investments, we can meaningfully grow our footprint in the digital health market, and we must seize that opportunity,” said Gregory Lee, president of Nokia Technologies in a statement. “While necessary, the changes will also affect our employees, and as a responsible company we are committed to providing the needed support to those affected.”
Nokia’s OZO VR cameras made their debut around 2015 at a time when Nokia looked like it had all but given up on hardware, after seeing its mobile phone business — once the biggest in the world — get decimated by the rise of Android and the iPhone and eventually sold off to Microsoft (which continued to wind it down after also failing to resuscitate it).
The company said that it will continue to support those who have already purchased devices.
Tapping into the growing interest in VR, the company doubled down on its imaging prowess — it was known to have some of the best camera technology in its smartphones, with the patents to underpin it — and went hell for leather into VR cameras.
Partly because of the tech involved, and partly because of the relative immaturity of the market, these cost a fortune, upwards of $60,000 when they finally started to ship, meaning that there was never going to be a mass market for the products, unless VR really took off.
In the end, it hasn’t — or at least not like Nokia thought that it would. With competitors making lower-priced equipment, one interesting turn has been how VR tech has made its way into more ordinary products, rather than developing on a specialist-equipment trajectory. (In the VR headset space, for example, that has meant headsets that let you use your own smartphone as the display screen.)
Intel recently hosted a 100-year-old man at its virtual reality lab in Hillsboro, Oregon. Lyle Becker was a big fan of the VR flight simulator, which reminded him of the planes that he flew in World War II. That kind of first-time experience evokes a sense of wonder at the immersiveness of VR, and that’s why Kim Pallister, director of VR excellence at Intel, believes so much that VR will be a transformative medium.
While VR is off to a slow start, Pallister believes that it will catch on in the long run. Intel recently pivoted away from a tech demo that it called Project Alloy, a stand-alone VR headset, to something entirely different. The first generation of VR headsets, such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, are connected to powerful personal computers via wires. Everybody wants those wires to go away, but how you tackle the issue matters.
Pallister said Intel tried at first to put the processing power in the headset itself so that you don’t have to connect a wire to a PC. But the company also worked on connecting the headset display to a PC via a wireless technology. Pallister thinks that will deliver a much better experience.
The WiGig wireless networking technology, which uses a short-range 60-gigahertz radio, can transfer data at fast enough rates to feed VR imagery from a PC to the display in a VR headset. With the WiGig connection, VR headset makers will be able to exploit the extra processing power available in a full desktop computer, rather than a more limited processor that has to run on battery power in a compact headset.
I recently joined a small group of journalists who jointly interviewed Pallister. We talked about Becker, the immersive nature of VR, Project Alloy, WiGig, and Intel’s partnership with Blueprint Reality on a VR presentation technology. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.
Google is looking to make VR more mainstream. To that end, Chrome’s “happiness evangelist” François Beaufort, recently announced on Google+ that VR web browsing capabilities are coming to Chrome in the near future.
Actually, basic support is already available in the newest Chrome 61 stable build. What does this mean exactly? Well that Google Chrome users with a Google Daydream View headset will be able to view and interact with (most) websites in VR mode, as well as follow links between pages, and move between 2D and immersive viewing for sites that support WebVR.
Google added support for WebVR tech in Chrome back in February, but now you’ll be able to experiment surfing any site on the web in VR, regardless of whether it has specific VR extras added or not.
The list of Daydream-ready smartphones has been growing steadily in recent months and currently contains high-end models that have received a lot of attention from the Android community including the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30, but also the older ZTE Axon 7and Huawei Mate 9 Pro.
Since some basics capabilities are already available in the latest stable Google Chrome 61 release, those who have a Daydream View headset and compatible phone at their disposal can go ahead and start browsing the web in VR.
People have been waiting for VR to take off for years and they have been met with disappointment—until recently. A lot of evidence is now promising a bright future for VR but investors should be knowledgeable about several things before diving in; like what the risks are, how big the market is going to be, why this strategy should be played out in the long term and who the key players are.
1.Virtual Reality Rises
2.Virtual Reality via Real Estate
4.Virtual Reality Apps
5.VR Business Opportunities
6.AR and VR in Education
8.Diving Into VR
9.Medical VR Is Changing Healthcare
10. VR Golden Era
11. AR marketing Ideas
12. Making Money in Augmented Reality
13. Virtual Reality and Therapists
14. Diving Into VR
15. Before Investing In Virtual Reality
16. VR with Blockchain
Over the years, multiple different versions of geocaching developed, which evolved as technology grew more sophisticated. Laws were established governing where geocaching could occur, historical sites and cemeteries being commonly off-limits. There have been rescues of searchers who have gone into dangerous areas, and, tragically, there have been deaths as well.
Humans love a mystery story, and we also love new technology. The combination of the two is irresistible to many. One evolving technology brings both together: augmented reality.
When we think of augmented reality, we think (mostly) of Pokémon Go. That is the latest and most successful commercial application of AR we’ve seen so far. Released last summer, Pokémon Go has had millions of people out on the streets, in parks, at beaches—even at the White House—searching for and “capturing” virtual critters. The phone-based app displayed a map (created with GPS technology) of where the user was standing or walking, and imposed Pokémon creatures available for capture. The point of any Pokémon game is collection—the more creatures you have, the better you are doing. Suddenly people found themselves exercising and exploring in ways they hadn’t before. This is, ultimately, virtual geocaching.
Any hunt is a story—which was the point of Masquerade. The quest for the Holy Grail—which has inspired poetry, opera, Indiana Jones movies, and Monty Python—is a story. A mystery is a hunt for clues that will lead to a solution. Where there is seeking, be it one individual’s search for answers about his life or a community’s hunt for a perpetrator, there is the possibility for an AR application to bring it to life.
In other words, publishers have the opportunity to look at stories in different ways. Publishers can develop apps for readers, who could point them at books in a manner similar to Pokémon Go and retrieve additional information about the story, or trivia, or details about the likely size of Jo March’s house. AR provides the “enhancements” that we were looking for with e-books—that other dimension that a straightforward narrative can’t offer without footnotes.
Even more enticingly, publishers have the opportunity to create games from their stories. Imagine a Harry Potter AR game: your house is your dormitory, your school is the Hogwarts classrooms, your homework is framed as “spell practice.” AR allows readers to bridge the gap between the narrative and their own lives.
Laura Dawson, CEO of Numerical Gurus, is a book supply chain consultant. She also facilitates Metadata Boot Camp, a webinar series tackling metadata issues in publishing.