I am absolutely sure there are people who doubtlessly wish to experience virtual reality. The price of a VR headset, however, often represents a real impediment for them, reason why the gaming giant Nintendo will release its $80 Labo VR Kit that allows you not only to be immersed in a virtual reality medium, but also to literally build your headset from scratch, and on top of that, to save lots of money.
What is Nintedo Labo VR Kit?
Nintendo Labo is an entire line of DIY kits for The Nintendo Switch (a hybrid video game console), while Nintendo Labo VR Kit is the fourth kit of the Nintendo Labo series that is different from any other creation of the company. As you might have already guessed, VR is the unique element here, or more precisely, the pair of the VR goggles.
Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, said: “This new kit builds on the core tenets of Nintendo Labo — make, play, and discover — to introduce virtual reality in a way that’s fun and approachable for both kids and kids at heart. We wanted to design an experience that encourages both virtual and real-world interactions among players through passing around Toy-Con creations.”.
What is inside it? What does it contain?
- The Nintendo Labo software
- The components for a Labo VR goggles project
- A screen holder and a safety cap
- Six new Toy-Con creations: the Toy-Con VR Goggles, Toy-Con Blaster, Toy-Con Camera, Toy-Con Bird, Toy-Con Wind Pedal and Toy-Con Elephant (used simultaneously with the VR headset they create simple but immersive VR experiences)
How much will it cost and when will it be released?
The VR Kit will cost $80 dollars and is scheduled to be launched on April 12 while the project has already been introduced to some schools.
Shinya Takahashi, Nintedo EPD general manager said regardin this initiative: “We want to get to a demographic that’s not traditionally reached by games at all. I think the case with Nintendo Labo right now is that there are some people who know about it, and quite a lot of potential still for us to explore. ”.
All in all, although the pixel density is not brilliant nor the motion, the Nintendo Labo VR is still a great way of cheaply experiencing VR with the kids and family. So, why not give it a try?
We are all aware of the astounding progress whom technology has been making throughout the last years. It seems that 2019 is also about advancement because there is already the first VR mask that stimulates smell.
Smell in a virtual environment? Are you sure?
Yuup, Feelreal Mask is the device that can generate up to 255 scents delivered through the combination of nine individual aroma capsules, designed by the Ukrainian parfumer and olfactologist, Bogdan Zubchenko. Some of the smells include lavender, coffee and even gunpowder and rubber. Pretty cool, right? There is finally a multi-sensory mask and as its creators say, Feelreal VR is the”world’s First Multi-Sensory VR mask that simulates smells and other tactile sensations to create a one-of-a-kind Virtual Reality experience”.
Feelreal said “Imagine the depth of interaction when users can truly feel themselves on a racing track and actually smell burned rubber. Or being able to grasp the feeling of being on a battlefield complete with the intense gunpowder odor. This is what the multi-sensory virtual reality experience is all about.”.
Feelreal is not just about smell, but about other senses too
The mask has embaded micro-heaters and micro-coolers that will fully immerse people either on a journey to Antarctica or in a warm place like Hawaii. Besides feeling the cold or warm air onto the face, the VR headset has an ultrasonic ionizing system that generates rain to fall on the user′s cheeks and also haptic motors for vibration.
What one should use to have the FeelReal experience?
The mask can be wirelessly connected through Bluetooth or WiFi to numerous headsets like:
- Oculus Rift
- HTC Vive
- Oculus Go
- Samsung Gear VR
Through some magnetic mounts, the mask, which can be white, grey or black, can easily be attached to the VR headset and then removed. Also, four hours of battery life are promised and it weighs only 200 grams.
Although FeelReal is not the only one trying to enrich a VR experience by providing smell, Vaqso VR and Ubisoft also trying to add scent, the mask you have read about is unique for sure thanks to its multi-sensory characteristic. FeelReal is all about providing a more immersive and different virtual reality.
A $5800 VR headset? Isn’t this crazy?
In the summer of 2018, VRgineers, a Prague and Los Angeles-based VR startup, launched its 170º field-of-view (FoV) and 5K resolution headset with a unique and innovative feature called AutoEye.
They practically revolutionized the VR world of headsets; automakers like Wolkswagen, Audi and BMW implemented the XTAL headsets, whom they have been using it for virtual prototyping, design evaluation and other programs. Marek Polcak, CEO and Co-Founder of VRgineers, said “When prototyping a new automobile design, for instance, they’ll be able to see more of the vehicle at once, and come closer than ever to a true-to-life image. We’ve getting ever closer to our goal – which is to make virtual reality indistinguishable from reality itself.”
Therefore, the huge price doesn’t seem that crazy anymore because XTAL targets professional activities like manufacturing, engineering and design.
2019 brings changes to XTAL
Next year, XTAL will be available on the market with all the upgrades done. The new elements with whom the VR headset has been updated transform XTAL in an even more luxurious and professional VR device. Regarding the upcoming version, the company said that XTAL will provide “the clearest, most immersive VR experience to date.”.
”The most immersive”, they say and some of the reasons are…
- 2.5K resolution per eye – 5K total
- Spacious 180-degree diagonal field of view (wider than the 2018 version with 10-degrees
- Non-fresnel lenses (panoramic immersion) : Marek Polcak said “XTAL‘s new non-fresnel lenses will deliver a wider field of view and binocular overlap, a bigger sweet spot, and much less distortion compared to the existing model.“
- Larger eye box – when the headset will be used by more users, this update of the lenses will reduce the need for additional adjustment
- Electroencephalography – sensors that identify, measure and analyze the emotion of the headset’s user
The last new element added is thanks to the partnership between VRgineers and Neurable.VRgineers affirmed ”Neurable’s unique ability to overcome the signal-to-noise issues of traditional non-invasive” brain-computer interfaces “enable them to deliver on the promise of truly useful BCI technology for enterprise and consumer applications.”
XTAL is incredible and ready to bring changes in the VR world. Its latest version will be publically showed next month, at CES 2019, an event held in Nevada, Las Vegas, that will bring together more than 180k people from over 100 countries. Yes, XTAL is worth it if used at a professinal level.
At the end of 2017, HTC Standalone Vive Focus VR was launched only in one country, China. One year later, in November 2018, through a press event held in San Francisco, the company confirmed that HTC Vive Focus can finally be comercialized worlwide. The headset is now present in 37 countries, at the price of $599 in the U.S.
What is so special about HTC Vive Focus?
The headset was initially targeting only the area related to business, given the fact that Vive Focus is part of a portofolio filled with only enterprise-focused VR devices. Surprisingly, it can be used now in any area, from education and culture to health and entrepreneurship, thanks to its launching in the global market.
Still, HTC’s aim was mainly to create a more engaging and productive medium for companies by using HTC Vive Focus and also Vive and Vive Pro. Thereby, HTC’s team built Vive Sync, an enterprise collaboration tool and application meant to provide an easier and more secure way for organizations around the world to communicate efficiently.
Dan O’Brien, HTC Vive General Manager of the Americans, said according to Business Insider, “Executives are understanding they can save time and money. Their designers don’t all have to fly to Germany to meet in one room and talk about design. They can go to VR design room and talk collaboratively there.“.
HTC Vive Focus- technical specs
- Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor
- Resolutions of 1,600 × 1,440 pixels from each OLED display lens
- 3K AMOLED Display
- A single 3DOF controller
- 6DOF headset tracking
- IPD adjustment
- World-Scale tracking (inside-out 6-degree-of-freedom), proximity sensor, 9-axis sensors offered by a tracking technology and sensors
- HTC Vive Focus standalone headset’s price is $599, while Vive Focus Advantage’s price starts at $750
- QC3.0 fast charging battery, 3 hours of active use gime
An HTC spokesperson told GameDaily: “We’ve seen great success with the Vive Focus and the Vive Wave Platform in China as consumers have access to Viveport’s curated library of popular apps and games. However, Vive recognizes that the freedom of standalone headsets extends not only to gamers but to enterprise as well. We believe that in North America, Focus is best suited for enterprise use cases for VR. From training to medical to fitness, we know there is ample demand for a premium standalone VR headset.”
HTC Vive Focus represents a step forward in the VR universe that is continually expanding. It boosts people’s interest through its various and utterly surprising ways it can be used in so many areas. Ultimately, HTC Vive Focus is a tool ready to make businesses more efficient by providing an immersive medium of communication and therefore, the news that it is now comercialized worldwide is a pretty awesome thing.
On Wednesday, at Facebook’s annual event Oculus Connect 5 (OC5), held in San Jose, California, Mark Zuckerberg presented the latest stand-alone VR headset that doesn’t need a smartphone nor a connection to a PC, from the Oculus division. Oculus Quest VR will be available on the market in the spring of 2019, for $400.
What does Oculus Quest have to offer?
Besides offering 6DOF (6 degrees of freedom = the ability of moving forward and back, side to side, and up and down in a virtual space), Oculus Quest also offers two touch motion controllers made out a mix of glossy and matte plastic that have analog sticks and physical buttons and triggers.
It also has the great selection of 50 games and some of them are very popular already: Robo Recall, Moss and Vader Immort, which is a “Star Wars” experience that will immerse players in the game’s theatrical story, “You’ll be able to step inside the world of Star Wars in the comfort of your living room and, for the first time, truly feel free.”, adds ILM(Industrial Light & Music) ‘s representatives.
Moreover, Oculus Quest‘s tracking system technology(named Oculus Insight by Facebook) is able to detect corners, edges and other things as walls, ceilings, furniture, windows and even curtains thank to its four ultra-wide-angle sensors. A member of the Oculus team said about this sensor system: “Oculus Insight uses four ultra-wide-angle sensors and advanced computer vision algorithms to track your position in real time.”.
- display resolution of 1600×1440 per eye (provides clear and colorful images)
- the processor is Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
- the 64GB version costs $400
- fully wireless
- support for 360 degree audio
For now, this is the only information related to Oculus Quest’s technic specifications, but we are waiting to receive even more exact details regarding its 3D-performance specs.
Wait a bit… is there a connetion between the Project Santa Cruz and Oculus Quest?
Not only that they are fully connected, but they are also the same. Yesss, you read correctly, Oculus Quest is actually the Project Santa Cruz whom the Facebook team presented it back in 2016 at Facebook’s Connect Developer Conference.
Despite not being given concrete details about Oculus Quest, there is someone to leave this news on a more positive note: “I have always considered Santa Cruz/Quest to be Facebook’s target device and form factor. It gives them the performance and control of the user experience that the Rift cannot because of Windows and PC makers. That’s why I think they are able to squeeze so much performance out of the 835, they have been optimizing for that chip for years. They want this to be what developers target first and foremost.”, said Anshel Sag, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.
From 31 August to 5 September, the IFA (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) show will host exhibitors, entrepreneurs, producers and innovative creators from all around the world who will present their latest tech developments. The audience, thereby, will be able to form an idea about the next generation of emergent technology.
Currently, at the “Europe’s biggest tech show”(name given to the event because of the great number of visitors and exhibitors present there in 2015), Acer is in the spotlight and the reason for it is the revealing of the Windows Mixed Reality headset’s update, Acer OJO 500, at a press conference there.
In what ways is OJO 500 different from other Acer VR headsets?
The statements of Acer senior product manager Eric Ackerson “They were all the same.” and of Andrew Chung, General Manager, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. “The Acer OJO 500 brings several significant new features to this class of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. We’ve improved the user experience with innovative visual and audio technologies and made the headset more comfortable and easier than ever to use.” reveal the uniqueness of OJO 500 and show that this time, the Taiwanese company really succeeded in creating something innovative.
One of the improvements consists in the modular design with parts that can be detachable. Thanks to this feature, users can now easily separate the lens and the head strap, this update contributing to a more hygienic experience. This makes Acer the first company in the world to create a detachable VR headset.
Also, users will have over 2500 games and apps thanks to the fact that the device supports both the Steam VR and Microsoft Store platforms.
What’s inside the headset?
Inside OJO 500, there are two front-hinged 2.89-inch high-resolution liquid crystal displays that offer a wide 100 degree field of view, deliver a 2880 x 1440 resolution and a refresh rate of up to 90Hz. Also, in order to provide maximum clarity, a patented smart phone app to measure IPD distance ( the distance between the centers of each of your pupils) and a built-in interpupillary distance (IPD) wheel are included.
Moreover, unlike Samsung‘s HMD Odyssey headset, users of this headset can hear audio without headphones, because of the OJO 500’s integrated ‘sound pipe’ technlogy
When will the headset start to be shipped?
In November, all the people interested in OJO 500 will be able to buy it at the price of $399 in US and and $499 in Europe, Africa and in the Middle East.
Pico Goblin 2 standalone VR headset is the new VR headset recently released at a press conference. This is the third standalone VR headset created by the Beijing-based company founded in 2015, Pico Intercative. The company has already reached the number of 300 members located in the US, Europe and Asia .
Is Goblin 2 really matching all the great expectations?
Preceded by Pico Goblin and Pico Neo, Pico Goblin 2 comes with little adjustments in order to create more amazing VR experiences. ” Our mission is built around the principle of “user first design” . We design to advance VR technology beyond current barriers in the industry.” is what the company states regarding the principle around which its devices are built.
The headset’s updates consist in:
- a lighter weight: 268g (Pico Goblin has 400 g)
- 5mm audio jack
- two 5-inch TFT displays for a combined resolution of 2880 x 1600 (3K)
- the refresh rate of the displays: 90Hz
- Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform( it assures a smooth experience)
- battery capacity: 3500mAh (around 3 hours of use)
- 4+64GB of memory and 256GB micro-SD card expansion
- field of view: 101°.
Did I mention affordable?
Tmall and JD.com sell the Goblin 2 VR headset at ¥1999( around $293) . The price is really good taking in considerance the larger battery and all its updates.
Other opinions on this device
Pico CEO Henry Zhou said that “Pico has always been committed to providing an ultimate mobile VR experience, and we’ve put a lot of research and R&D investment into G2. Our hope is that with the first-class hardware and software design, and the affordable price range, people can really get excited with the easy and immersive G2 experience.”
Qualcomm‘s XR Business lead, Gabriel Guo, said: “The Qualcomm 835 mobile platform brings an excellent interactive experience to users with extremely fast speed, long battery life and less heat. It also supports advanced game functions, improves graphics rendering speed by 25%, color display by 64 times, achieving higher rendering level with lower power consumption. We are delighted to keep working with Pico as we continue to elevate the mobile VR experience.”
Now, all we can sum up is that Goblin 2 is the new generation of all-in-one VR headsets that brings the VR industry to an advanced level.
Pimax VR announced that the obstacles that stood in the way of the mass production phase of its 8K VR headset have been eliminated last week, which means that we are now supposed to just wait a little bit of time until we can buy it.
What is Pimax VR?
Pimax VR is a technology company from China that in 2016 was the first to commercialize a 4K VR headset. Now, it has refined elements and resolved issues by creating the 8K VR headset, the headset so many people have been waiting for and it is also expected to become one of the most affordable commercial VR headsets on the market.
In what ways is this headset better than others?
Well, first of all, Pimax brings a field of view setting that is adjustable. The company is currently working on a software solution that would enable users to dial it back to 170 degrees.
Also, the partnership between Pimax and VAQSO (a Tokyo-based start-up company) will immerse the public even more in the virtual reality experience provided by the 8K VR headset by bringing a scent emitter module to it.
How does the scent emitter module work?
Several plastic cartridges are mounted just above the nostrils and under the eyes. In order for the scents to be gently blown towards the nose in sync to the game you are playing, it is used a fan.
The available scents include for now ‘fish’, ‘ramen’, ‘burnt’ and ‘grassland’ and they can be changed out according to the videogame the user is playing.
Other information about the Pimax 8K VR headset
- It achieves high-resolution visuals : 3840 x 2160 dual displays
- It provides a 200-degree field of view
- It provides 200 FOV which is far superior than any other headset out there including the HTC Vive Pro
- It targets an 80Hz refresh rate
To sum up, the 8K VR headset from Pimax VR is going to arrive and immerse the public in this half of the year. Pimax founder Robin Wang said “The obstacles that prevent us from mass production have been eliminated last week. Thus the whole project now can move on with full speed towards Kickstarter delivery. The team works 11 hours per day, six days per week to speed up the iterations.”.
The desire of some people with vision and passion to build a VR headset able to immerse the public in a virtual world where you can see as clearly as in the real one influenced the setting up of Varjo Technologies, which is a Finnish technology company founded in 2016.
Can this VR headset really revolutionize reality?
The Varjo headset is thereby a revolutionary device thanks to the bionic display that lets users to visualize virtual objects in human eye resolution and it delivers such an accurate image that no other device on the market could deliver at the moment.
- Context display: 1440 x 1600 @ 90Hz
- Varjo Bionic Display: 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz
- Integrated 100Hz stereo-eye tracking
- SteamVR tracking with controller support
- Upgradeable with Varjo s Mixed Reality Add-on, available in 2019
- It will support SteamVR Tracking 2.0
Varjo headset ’s Mixed Reality
The Mixed Reality add-on to their headset captures real-time video with 2 4K cameras at 90 FPS, meant to provide a seamless and realistic MR experience.
When will it be launched and how much will it cost?
The first Varjo professional headset will be released in late 2018 and being given the fact that it uses a combination of macrodisplays and microdisplays to put high density resolution, its price will be around $10,000 or even under. Also, the Varjo headset will be exclusively targeting professional/enterprise use-cases.
What PC system is recommended?
- OS: Windows 10 (64-bit)
- Processor: Intel® Core™ i7-6700 Processor or AMD FX™ 9590, equivalent or better
- Memory: 16 GB RAM DDR4 or more
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 1080 or higher
- Video Output: 2x DisplayPort 1.2 ports
- USB: 1 x USB-A 3.0 port 2 x USB-A ports (2.0 or 3.0)
- Unity: Unity Engine v 2017.3.1 or higher
- Unreal Engine: Unreal® Engine 4.19 or higher
- Hard Drive Space: 2 GB or more
To sum up, Varjo CMO Jussi Mäkinen says that Varjo wants to pioneer the productivity use-case of VR, using a mix of hardware and software. One example he gave was using a totally virtual workspace without the need for physical monitors, something that can really only happen once headset resolution is high enough. He said that the software side is expected to be revolutionized by the company in the future.
What is Lenovo Mirage Solo?
Lenovo Mirage Solo is a revolutionary $399 VR headset that was created thanks to the partnership between Lenovo and Google. The good news is that in order to be immersed in the virtual world, you do not need a separate smartphone nor a powerful PC, because Lenovo Mirage Solo has the innards of a modern Android smartphone powering it.
- It has a built-in 5.5-inch screen with a 2560 x 1440 resolution (1280 x 1440 per eye) and a Snapdragon 835 processor
- plasticky white body
- 4GB of RAM
- 64GB of storage
- a microSD slot
- Weight: 1.42 pounds
- A battery size of 4000 mAH
What technology is used?
While wearing the VR headset, you can move your head around in full 3D space thanks to Google’s WorldSense technology, which is an inside-out tracking tech. Two cameras on the front of the hardware are used by The WorldSense system. Now, just put the headset on your head and this technology lets you get off the couch to walk, jump, dodge or otherwise interact with the virtual world you’re seeing.
Google mentioned, after announcing the partnership with Lenovo, that 350 games and 70 that are using the WorldSense 6DoF technology will be available on this VR headset. So, you can already start browsing the games and see if you like the content.
- WorldSense works brilliantly
- Comfortable design
- A fully untethered VR experience offering six degrees of freedom.
- Excellent screen with light-directing Fresnel lenses and a 110-degree field of view.
- Solid construction
- Limited motion controls
- There s only one controller, which means you can not grab objects or interact with avatars in social way like yo can with more sophisticated platforms
- LCD Display, instead of OLED
- Bulki for transport
Lenovo Mirage Solo provides an excellent, imersive and premium experience and it represents one of the first fully-integrated VR headsets to hit the market and by using it, the most demanding games are able to run at optimum speed thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 which is the same chip powering the Galaxy S8 handset.