Welcome to RenderThat’s weekly roundup of the tech stories you need to know. This week, AR company Meta looks to expand into China thanks to a new round of funding, and Double Robotics announced a new robotic 360-degree video camera dolly. Meanwhile, at the E3 conference, companies showed off exciting virtual reality gaming experiences. And over in the TV and film industry, Hulu revealed they’re making their VR app available to Oculus Rift, while Magic Leap showed off an incredible new AR Star Wars experience. Want to know more about what happened in this week’s tech news? Read on to find out.
Though in previous years, virtual reality was touted as the next big thing, this year’s E3 was the conference where attendees felt VR has truly arrived. E3 2016 brought headsets at lower price points, including HDK2’s Razer, a headset priced at an affordable $399. And for the first time, E3 attendees got to see full, complete versions of fan favorite franchise games including Resident Evil, Final Fantasy, and Batman. Games for the PlayStation VR headset that’s compatible with the PS4 and Ubisoft-developed games for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive were demonstrated as well, showing that 2016 is the year where gaming VR is for the masses.
“We’re seeing virtual reality adopted now not as a weird curio, but as a tool to enhance gaming experiences. […] 2016 still might not prove to be “the year of VR” but we’ve been given a glimpse of the future, and it’s wearing a great big futuristic headset.”
China seems to be betting on AR, as several backers for Meta, an AR headset and software company, are out of China including Lenovo, Banyan Capital, and Tencent. Though many VR and AR companies are focusing on creating software and content for virtual and mixed reality devices, Meta seems to be angling to be a competitor for Magic Leap, which is currently valued at $4.5B.
“Meta is taking […] a vertically integrated approach in which it is using its own software development […] that works on hardware of its own design, which lets you immerse yourself in virtual situations that are embedded in real environments, giving you the ability to manipulate the virtual elements with gestures and other hand movements.”
Double Robotics, a company known for its remote controlled telepresence robot that has an iPad holder and can balance itself, wants to make shooting 360-degree video better by introducing a new dolly that has a mount for 360-degree cameras. Once a camera is mounted on the dolly robot which also includes lateral stability, you can shoot stabilized, telescoping, 360 video without getting yourself or your film crew in the shot–something that’s almost impossible when shooting with a handheld 360-degree camera. The new mount also has an iPhone or smartphone ready mount for real-time video feedback.
“[…]Double’s telepresence capabilities make it a perfect 360-degree video platform.”
Though Netflix may be leading in the streaming world, Hulu continues to be a strong competitor by announcing that it’s VR app, which was released in March for Samsung Gear VR, will now be available for Oculus Rift. And you don’t have to have a Hulu subscription to view the 30 original VR experiences Hulu has made available, in addition to the app’s function of showing 2D content in a virtual cinema environment. Hulu has also partnered with the Syfy network to develop a show-specific VR experience for the time-travel series “12 Monkeys.”
“As the company builds its original VR content library, however, it may be enough to get users accustomed to jacking into Hulu using virtual reality headsets instead of their televisions or tablets.”
Mysterious augmented reality company Magic Leap has created an experience that will no doubt amaze Star Wars fans. The company has partnered with LucasFilms and ILMxLAB—a studio they started to create immersive VR and AR experience—to make this Star Wars demo experience featuring characters R2-D2 and C-3PO, who appear both life-sized, detailed, and amazingly realistic in a living room setting. Even more impressive, the demo video was filmed through Magic Leap’s hardware technology without any post-processing.
“So far all we know about how Magic Leap’s headset works is that it’ll project images directly onto your retina. This results in shockingly convincing effects because it’s basically recreating the same neurological process your eyes experience when they see objects in real life.”