Facebook and RED’s new mammoth of a camera has 16 8K lenses!

The kind of specifications I’m about to read out to you are so insanely over the top, they’re sort of hard to believe. This super-expensive football capable of recording audio and video content in VR comes with 16 (yes, SIXTEEN) RED Helium 8K sensors with 180-degree Schneider lenses, and capturing content at 60 fps in VR in a single scene with depth information (so you’ve got 3D ready data too) to display 360-degree footage at a quality that has the brand value of RED attached to it.

The camera is capable of capturing depth information and discerning between foreground and background and rendering out parallax too (check out the video below), allowing for 6 degrees of freedom while viewing content using a VR headset, so in layman’s terms, you can move your head forwards and backwards, side to side, and up or down, and objects in the video will orient themselves with respect to your head’s position, which makes for an incredibly realistic VR experience because as your head moves even slightly while breathing, or just through involuntary movements, your VR environment responds to it by repositioning objects too, to make your VR experience significantly 0more believable and immersive.

The Manifold is built in a way that allows you to store controls and video storage as far as 328 feet away from the camera (obviously in a 360° recording, you don’t want any cast/crew or equipment in the camera’s field of view). The Manifold utilizes Facebook’s depth estimation technology to build its 3D view for volumetric data and even has post-processing tools for filmmakers like Adobe, Foundry, and OTOY to render out projects.

While the two companies aren’t being particularly generous with launch details, it’s safe to say that the Manifold is clearly strictly for professional use (and will most likely be extremely expensive for professional video capture too). However, if and when the Manifold does launch, and finds itself being used to capture videos (whether for movies or games), it’ll be pretty ground-breaking to be able to capture content as advanced as what the Manifold promises. I hope I live long enough to see it become an industry standard (like IMAX) too!

Designer: RED and Facebook 360

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Oculus finally built the best VR gaming headset ever

Imagine this VR experience. No wires, no connected laptops or phones, just a headset, and two controllers… that’s the dream that the Oculus Quest promises. Launched at Oculus Connect 5 keynote, the Quest is touted to be the most immersive VR gaming experience, thanks to some stellar breakthroughs in headset tech. The Quest uses absolutely no wires, as it is a system in itself, much like the Playstation or XBox. It comes with its own battery that powers it, along with 64gb of storage, and a screen resolution of 1600×1440 in each eye. The Quest also features its own audio solution, with earphones embedded into the headstrap, providing 360° audio as you game.

The Quest’s biggest achievement is, however, the 6 degrees of freedom. Not only does the quest allow you to view content in 360°, it also allows you to move around in this virtual world. Using 4 powerful ultrawide angle sensors on the four corners of the headset’s front face, the Quest actively scans your surroundings and your position in relation to them, allowing you to move forward and back, left and right, and even up and down, so that your gaming experience is dynamic, rather than you just sitting in a chair or standing in one place. The Quest also comes with touch controllers, much like the Rift, giving you the tools you need to game in virtual reality. Working just like the Rift’s controllers, the Quest’s hand-held wands track movement, angle, and even force, while providing haptic feedback, in an experience that the company says is the most powerful and unchained VR experience yet!

Designer: Oculus

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This Robot Lets You Feel Virtual Objects

Virtual reality headsets use your eyes and ears to make things seem real, but the future of VR is all about incorporating the other senses. Researchers at Stanford University have our hands and fingers covered. They have come up with a way for you to virtually feel virtual objects, with the help of a weird robot.

It’s called ShapeShift. It’s a robot that has a dense grid of “pins” on top, and a set of optional wheels on its bottom. A tracking marker syncs the location of the ShapeShift box to the location of your hands in a virtual reality world. So when you touch a virtual object, the pins extend and retract to form a representation of that object in the real world, thereby allowing you to feel it.

Pretty cool right? Sure, this won’t simulate the softer things, like petting a cat in VR, but it should be convincing enough for other kinds of object. Yes, folks. This is the first step toward being able to feel things in our own personal holodecks. You could imagine a room with walls that are made with this sort of mechanism, and it could be used to create unique terrain underfoot as well.

It will be interesting to see where this technology goes from here.

[via Gizmodo]

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ZephVR Adds Wind Simulation to Virtual Reality

If you’ve ever strapped on a proper virtual reality headset like an Oculus Rift or an HTC Vive, you know how truly immersive today’s VR experiences can be. But there are still some things that break the illusion, like not being able to truly walk around, and the way things FEEL versus the way things LOOK.

In the interest of making VR experiences even more realistic, ZephVR is developing an inexpensive add-on for VR goggles that is designed to produce simulated wind while you make your way through the VR landscape.

The ZephVR adds a pair of lightweight fans to your goggles, and hits you with a breeze of air that’s synchronized with your VR games. Apparently, it uses audio from VR games and machine learning algorithms to listen for wind noise to determine when to blow its fans, rather than detecting player movements. I think that approach seems a little odd, but I’m guessing it’s easier to intercept the audio compared to trying to determine movements in 3D space.

In addition to the autonomous mode for gameplay, the fans can be turned on full time in case you just want to keep cool while playing. Plus, the system is compatible with all three major VR platforms, Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR.

The early bird deal for the ZephVR has the add-on priced at just $75, so it’s a reasonably inexpensive add-on to your VR rig. It’s an interesting idea, though I think you might want to wait to test one out before jumping into the Kickstarter fray on this one.

Design Your Own VR Games with AppGameKit

Want to create a virtual world of your own? The Complete AppGameKit VR Starter’s Kit will teach you how to create your very own VR games… and maybe even make money from them.

With AppGameKit’s scripting system, anyone can quickly code and build apps for multiple platforms. You’ll learn how to create VR experiences from scratch by detecting users’ movements, controlling their positions within a scene, and accommodating both seated and standing experiences. You’ll even learn how to properly incorporate sound to create an even more realistic gaming experience. Learn the AppGameKit programming language in no time – even if you’re a total beginner.

The Complete AppGameKit VR Starter’s Kit will start you on the road to game development for just $29.99 in the Technabob Shop.

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