Welcome to RenderThat’s weekly roundup of the tech stories you need to know. This week, high-quality gaming on-the-go inches closer to existence for VR power gamers who have headsets like Oculus Rift. More helpful uses for AR continue to emerge as companies develop augmented reality for the battlefield and for home furniture customers. Meanwhile, Google and IMAX have teamed up to develop a VR camera likely to be one of the best of its kind. Want to know more about what happened in this week’s tech news? Read on to find out.
When shopping for furniture it’s often hard for consumers to imagine what a sofa will look like in their living room or how it will fit in with the other items in the room. But if home furnishing company Wayfair has its way, this will no longer be a mystery to customers shopping for furniture. The company is using Google’s Project Tango to let customers buy online with confidence. They’ve developed an app called Festa that will use Project Tango’s technology to let customers see on their smartphone or tablet exactly how an item will look in their space.
“This type of app shows the potential for augmented reality and how it can be used by enterprises to give their customers a much better feel for their products and even services,” said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group.
IMAX is known for creating immersive and intense experiences for movie-goers, and now those experiences will get even more immersive thanks to the company’s collaboration with Google. The IMAX VR camera, which is what the cinema-quality device will be called, is primed to become a tool for blockbuster filmmakers and directors like James Cameron and J.J. Abrams to create 360-degree films. Previously released IMAX documentary footage will also be made available to Google for conversion for use with Google’s VR technology.
“The camera, which will be built to utilize Jump, a platform for creating and viewing 3D 360 video, will deliver the highest-quality, most-immersive virtual reality content to consumers.”
A backpack with powerful PC components is coming soon. Though casual VR users might be satisfied with mobile virtual reality devices such as the Gear VR, virtual reality gamers who want something that packs a bit more bunch and want to experience high-quality VR need a powerful PC. Gamers like these are going to want look toward the HP Omen and MSIs Backpack PC. These wearable PCs that come with swappable battery packs will make powerful, high-quality mobile VR gaming a possibility.
“High-quality VR with headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require equally powerful PCs with beefy graphics cards.”
Brad Herman and Shiraz Akmal want to shake up the way we watch movies. The partners left Dreamworks Animation to form Spaces, Inc., a virtual and mixed reality company that aims to make VR a mainstream entertainment medium. The partners believe virtual reality is prime for enabling better storytelling. Still, the pair knows it’ll still be some time before VR and mixed reality transform the average person’s life.
“As the hardware continues to improves […] it gives content creators time to hone how best to tell stories in this new medium. ‘We’re working on a range of VR and mixed reality experiences,’” Akmal said.”
Plenty of people have played simulation games involving fictional scenarios where information about a villain is overlaid on the screen for the player to see. Now, augmented reality is bringing a similar kind of information sharing to soldiers in real battlefields. Using a camera attached to the soldier’s helmet, the soldier can see everything from coordinates to drone footage in real-time. The current AR camera system by Applied Research Associates has some limitations and can only be used in a nighttime environment, though the company is working to fix this.
“The Augmented Reality system (AR), will overlay important digital information over surrounding environments to give [soldiers] a leg up on adversaries.”