Saturday, September 17, 2016

Damaged Core now fully supported on HTC Vive with Revive 0.9 update

The Revive tool, which allows you to play some Oculus Rift games on the HTC Vive has been updated to version 0.9.  Most importantly, it now adds full support for Damaged Core, one of the best VR games IMHO.

Previously, you could play Damaged Core on the HTC Vive via Revive but it had a couple of limitations: first, you had to disable reprojection or else there would be a double image.  Second, there are weapons equipped with scopes but you could not use the scope.

With the latest update to Revive, Damaged Core is now fully supported.  I don't need to disable reprojection, and I'm able to use the scope.  I also noticed that the game plays more smoothly even on my modest PC setup (perhaps because reprojection is now allowed).

If you have like FPS games even slightly, and you don't mind having to aim with your gaze as opposed to motion controls, I highly recommend Damaged Core.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Expanse: a high resolution virtual theater headset

One of the benefits of a VR headset such as the Samsung Gear VR (reviewed here) is being able to watch movies and videos on a giant virtual theater.  The issue with doing that is that the resolution is limited, and one of the complaints against the Gear VR and other VR headsets is the screendoor-effect (SDE), i.e., it looks like you're watching everything through a screen door or mesh.

Expanse is a headset with a completely different design to address the desire for a high resolution display - as much as 5 times higher than on a VR headset.

New features added to 360 photo sharing platform

There are now several social media platforms for sharing 360 photos and videos. is a 360 photo sharing service that differs from its competition with its features and effects.  Now they've added a few more.

Hands-on review of the Insta360 Nano Mount tripod adapter

Here is a hands-on preview of the Insta360 Nano Mount tripod adapter for the popular Insta360 Nano.

UPDATE; Added video of the Insta360 Nano tripod adapter test!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Official Insta360 Nano Tripod Adapter now available on Amazon

​The original Insta360 tripod adapter accessory for the Insta360 Nano (reviewed here) is now available from an Amazon reseller.  However, it is a little pricey, and the delivery date stated is not until the second half of October.  Hopefully it becomes available sooner in the US, and for a lower price.  Meanwhile, there's also a third-party tripod adapter available at a much lower price.

REVIEW - LG 360 Cam R105: affordable and compact 360 camera with a unique feature

This is a review of the LG 360 Cam (R105), an affordable and compact fully spherical 360-degree camera with a unique remote activation feature.  I'm evaluating it in comparison to other fully spherical 360-degree cameras for consumers: the Ricoh Theta SSamsung Gear 360, and Insta360 Nano.

RUMOR: new Samsung Gear 360 Pro; iOS support to be added

There will be a new Samsung Gear 360 Pro camera that will be launched with the Galaxy S8, and Samsung may add iOS support, according to Sammobile.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Oculus Guardian: Is Oculus Rift shifting toward room-scale VR?

photo by Oculus

One of the distinctions between the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive is that the Rift was designed for seated or standing experiences, while the Vive is designed for room-scale VR.  That distinction may be getting blurred as the Rift may be shifting toward room-scale VR.

Tim Cook affirms Apple's interest in VR but says AR will be bigger

photo by ABC News
Robin Roberts of ABC News' Good Morning America conducted an exclusive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook where they talked about the iPhone 7, the new AirPods, VR and AR.  Here are my comments on Tim's remarks.

InstaVR lets you build virtual tour apps with nearly every imaginable feature

InstaVR lets you build a virtual tour app across multiple platforms, with nearly every imaginable feature:
- supports 360 photos and videos (up to 4k, unlimited duration)
- supports 2D and 3D
- can add music and voiceovers
- includes interactive hotspots
- edit your content to change the orientation
- heatmaps
- allows embedding
- can share via URL
- supports web browser, iOS, Android, Gear VR (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Playstation VR support TBA)
- option to have your content streamed from their network to keep the app size small
- free version available

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wireless VR with MSI VR One backpack PC

MSI's VR One is a lightweight backpack PC for untethered VR.

Edit 360 Videos with new Cyberlink PowerDirector 15

​Cyberlink PowerDirector is one of the leading desktop video editors.  PowerDirector 15 will be released tomorrow, and among other features, it will include 360 video editing capabilities, similar to those that are in the ActionDirector Gear 360 included with the Samsung Gear 360 (reviewed here).

Space Pirate Trainer (HTC Vive) receives major update, plus a 25% discount

If there is one app that really sold me on the HTC Vive (reviewed here), I would have to say it's Space Pirate Trainer, which got a major update today, and a 25% discount for a limited time!

2016 Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories

Do you love VR stories?  Check out the 2016 Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories, which will be held this weekend in Toronto, from Friday September 16th-Sunday, September 18th – 11am to 7pm daily.

CamRover launches on Indiegogo; offers 360 livestreaming and 6k video

CamRover (previewed here) is now live on Indiegogo, with more information about its specifications.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Capture 3D 360 panoramas with Cardboard Camera - now available for iOS

Cardboard Camera is a Google app that allows you to use your smartphone to take 3D 360 panoramas, with background audio.

To use Cardboard Camera, you hold the camera as you turn around, similar to taking a panoramic photo with your phone.  Google's processing converts the panorama to a 3D 360 image (albeit with limited vertical field of view).  It's not a substitute for a real 360 camera, but it gives an idea of the benefits of 360 photos and 360 cameras. 

Here is the link for iOS.  Cardboard Camera has already been available for Android.

If you like the results you're getting from Cardboard Camera, you might want to consider the Vuze (a 3D 360 camera for consumers), Insta360 Nano (a 360 camera for the iPhone), Ricoh Theta S, or the LG 360 Cam (review coming soon).  You could also use the Samsung Gear 360, but it is not compatible with the iPhone (there are some workarounds).

Drool at these sample videos from Indiecam nakedEYE, a professional 4k 360 camera with huge sensors

IndieCam nakedEYE is a 4k camera with two large 2/3-inch sensors that each have a resolution of 2k x 2k, allowing very high image quality even in low light.  The sensors also use global shutters for perfect synchronization between the lenses.  It is one of the few 360 cameras that is capable of recording in 12-bit raw (DNG format).

IndieCam was announced at NAB2016 and is now being officially launched.

Here are sample videos:

Gnomes & Goblins: a VR experience so amazing, I rearranged my furniture for it

Gnomes and Goblins is a VR experience for the HTC Vive (reviewed here) by Jon Favreau, who has directed films such as Iron Man.  It is so amazing that I rearranged our living room to experience it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

TECHNIQUE: Add or fix 360 metadata in your 360 photo with Exif Fixer

For a 360 viewer to recognize your 360 photo as such, your photo needs to be in an equirectangular panoramic format and it needs the standard 360 photosphere metadata. Occasionally, the 360 metadata is missing or is lost in the editing process. Exif Fixer can add or repair the missing 360 metadata. 

Exif Fixer was made by Keith Martin (Twitter; Facebook) and is available here, for Mac or Windows.  Exif Fixer is free but donations are encouraged.