With just one week to go before he leaves office, President Obama is giving citizens a look inside the White House like never before. The President and First Lady teamed up with Facebook's Oculus to film a tour of the place they have called home for the past eight years in virtual reality (VR). The tour, dubbed "The People's House: Inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama," launched today as a 360-degree video on Facebook and Oculus Video for the Oculus Rift and Gear VR. Check it out below. Strap on your VR headset if you have one or just watch on your phone or desktop, and "experience nine famous areas of the White House, as seen through the President and First Lady's eyes," the Oculus team wrote in a blogpost about the new experience. The tour even includes some spaces not open to the public, like the Oval Office. If you're watching on your mobile device, just move your handset up, down, and all around to check out 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from all angles as the … [Read more...] about Obamas Show Off White House in Virtual Reality
Is Apple going to launch a virtual reality headset alongside that electric car? Don't rule it out. According to the Financial Times, Apple has been growing a large research team in secret. Tasked with looking into virtual reality and augmented reality, the team has already constructed some prototype headsets. We don't, however, know any details, like whether the company is focusing on standalone virtual reality headsets in the style of an Oculus Rift, headsets that would work in conjunction with an iPhone (like Samsung's Gear VR), or augmented reality headsets like Microsoft's HoloLens. It's possible Apple might be trying out a number of different uses, or that the company has come up with a new, novel way to approach virtual/augmented reality. If you think Apple is going to spill the beans on what it's working on, well, the best you'll get is this vague statement from CEO Tim Cook during this week's earnings call: "It is really cool and has some interesting applications." … [Read more...] about Apple’s Other Secret Project: Virtual Reality?
Apple has remained mostly silent on its augmented and virtual reality ambitions until Monday, when it announced new tools for software developers that will allow them to bring augmented reality apps to iPhones and iPads. Called ARKit, the tool harnesses inputs from the motion sensors and cameras in iOS devices to allow apps to superimpose virtual elements—a 3D mug of steaming coffee, for instance—onto real-world objects seen through the device's camera—say, a coffee table. Using ARKit, developers will be able to create AR apps that work with people's existing iPhones. That's in stark contrast to Google's Tango AR platform, which requires phone manufacturers to integrate Tango-compatible sensors and other hardware into their devices. The upshot is that Apple's entrance into the AR industry will make iOS devices the largest AR platform in the world, according to Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. Related Articles The Best VR (Virtual … [Read more...] about Augmented, Virtual Reality Headed to Macs, iPhones
The resurgence of virtual reality is still in its infancy, and while we do have very good VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR, in other areas the tech is still severely lacking. Take interaction, for example, it's very difficult to convey touching something in the virtual world with physical feedback. But what if you could interact with real world objects that appear in the virtual world? Disney Research decided to carry out just such an experiment by asking the question: can you catch a real ball in virtual reality? The good news is, yes you can, but there's a number of prerequisites to achieving such a simple task. For us humans, ball catching relies on good hand-eye coordination, which means being able to track the motion of the ball as it flies through the air. The main issue with allowing good hand-eye coordination in VR is the inherent latency in the system. Too much latency means the virtual representation of the ball the user sees is not actually where the … [Read more...] about Disney Researchers Catch a Real Ball in Virtual Reality
"Hack Reality: we'll bring the headsets, you bring the big ideas," read the invitation to Samsung Research America in Silicon Valley; 120 entrepreneurs answered that call, grabbed a Samsung Gear VR, and spent a recent weekend coding furiously. By 2 pm on Sunday, a once-pristine cafe had become a sea of cables, soda cans, abandoned plates of Korean food, and half-crunched apples. Despite copious amounts of extra strength cold brew coffee, everyone looked exhausted; 70 participants completed projects in record time. "We do days like today without specific targets set for the entrepreneurs and their projects," said John Rodkin, Managing Director of San Francisco's Samsung Accelerator and one of the event's judges. "Of course we do set targets for ourselves, namely the calibre of the attendees and the exposure to our platforms, with extra credit if we find ideas we can fund or people we can hire. However, if you set a target for the projects themselves it can undermine the creative … [Read more...] about Can You Hack Virtual Reality Better Than a 14-Year-Old?