Atari founder Nolan Bushnell's new virtual reality startup


Modal VR, the new stealth startup co-founded by Atari and Chuck E. Cheese creator, has opened the doors a crack. According to Bushnell, their portable VR system is built for business applications (even though the demo video shows, you guessed it, a game). “We want to help enterprises solve problems by looking at them from another point of view," Bushnell said.

“For those of us who grew up on “Star Trek,” the holodeck has always been the gold standard," he said. “Modal VR is the first time that I believe we actually have the holodeck.”

"Nolan Bushnell’s Modal VR launches next-generation virtual reality platform for enterprises" (VentureBeat)

"Nolan Bushnell Says His New Virtual Reality Startup Has the Keys to the Holodeck—and it’s Portable" (IEEE Spectrum)

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Evolution of Verse is a poetic VR experience


Even if you don't have a VR headset, Chris Milk's Evolution of Verse hints beautifully at the future of immersive entertainment. Go fullscreen, don headphones, and get close! Read the rest

The first VR film to be directed by an Indigenous person in North America

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This cure for virtual reality sickness may mitigate balance disorders


Some people experience virtual reality sickness while wearing headsets, and it's similar to motion sickness. Mayo Clinic researchers have developed Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GVS) to help with VR sickness, and it may one day help with other balance issues. Read the rest

Virtual Reality Box Headset offers a big 3D experience at a small price - now just $18.99

Virtual reality gaming and exploration doesn’t have to cost a can enjoy a ridiculously cool VR experience for under $20 with the VR Box Virtual Reality headset on sale for $18.99 - 36% off - in the Boing Boing Store.

VR Box creates a comfortable headset unit that’s compatible with most smartphone models - just slip in your phone, adjust the easy-to-use Optical Axis Sliding Control to maneuver your 42mm-diameter resin lens and start enjoying VR gaming, apps and videos that immerse you in a 3D world.

The unit includes plenty of padding for a comfortable fit on your face with high-quality lens that won’t fatigue your eyes like many other VR headset models.

You’ll even get a game controller that connects to your phone and headset via Bluetooth, offering loads of gameplay options that will definitely take your Google Play or Apple Store games to the next level.

Usually priced at $30, pick up the VR Box Virtual Reality headset now for the discounted price of just $18.99 before this offer expires. Read the rest

Mixed-reality demo displays C-3PO and R2-D2 in any room


Magic Leap continues to roll out tantalizing demos of their mixed reality technology, this time imposing the "lost droids" scene into a typical room. Read the rest

How to make an edible virtual reality headset


Caleb Kraft used the Google Cardboard design to make a working VR headset from graham crackers and icing. It's entirely edible, except for the lenses.

"Making an Edible Virtual Reality Viewer for Your Phone" (MAKE:)

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Fantastic radio show about virtual reality, c. 1992


Media artist Michael Naimark writes:

In 1990, right as the first VR wave was swelling, Stewart Brand and Grateful Dead manager Jon Mcintyre concocted a scheme to produce an invitation-only 24-hour VR event modeled after the Electric Cool-Aid Acid test. They convinced Colossal Pictures, the largest soundstage in San Francisco, to host it. Dozens of demos and scores of talks were presented, by far the largest and most prominent VR event of its kind. I directed the video production. In total, 66 hours of video, both from a pro crew and a “basket full of prosumer cameras”, was shot.

Shortly after the event, David (Lawrence), Jim (McKee), and Earwax received an NEA grant to make a radio show. The funding enabled all of the video to be logged and transcribed. From it they made several versions, organized in short 1-4 minute themed sections. Their style was very “pre RadioLab”. From the New American Radio website:

Virtual Paradise—The Reality Tape (1992-93)

Earwax Productions with David Lawrence. An exciting production created in the spirit of the technology it focuses on. Virtual Paradise examines the ideas, issues, and attitudes that currently surround virtual reality. As this technology evolves, it brings with it the potential for redefining our most basic assumptions about media, experience, and reality. Virtual Paradise features many voices recorded at Cyberthon, a 24-hour virtual reality event presented by Whole Earth Institute in 1990. It also includes interviews with such visionaries as science-fiction author William Gibson, VR architect Jaron Lanier, artificial reality pioneer Myron Krueger, and Timothy Leary—all intercut with music and sound effects and shaped into a highly entertaining and insightful "virtual" tape composition.

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The magical future of virtual reality


In Wired, BB pal Kevin Kelly wrote a definitive feature about the current (and future?) state of virtual reality, technology that many of us first tried in the late 1980s but took nearly thirty years to be ready for prime time.

I first put my head into virtual reality in 1989. Before even the web existed, I visited an office in Northern California whose walls were covered with neoprene surfing suits embroidered with wires, large gloves festooned with electronic components, and rows of modified swimming goggles. My host, Jaron Lanier, sporting shoulder-length blond dreadlocks, handed me a black glove and placed a set of homemade goggles secured by a web of straps onto my head. The next moment I was in an entirely different place. It was an airy, cartoony block world, not unlike the Minecraft universe. There was another avatar sharing this small world (the size of a large room) with me—Lanier.

We explored this magical artificial landscape together, which Lanier had created just hours before. Our gloved hands could pick up and move virtual objects. It was Lanier who named this new experience “virtual reality.” It felt unbelievably real. In that short visit I knew I had seen the future. The following year I organized the first public hands-on exhibit (called Cyberthon), which premiered two dozen experimental VR systems from the US military, universities, and Silicon Valley. For 24 hours in 1990, anyone who bought a ticket could try virtual reality. The quality of the VR experience at that time was primitive but still pretty good.

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Inside Industrial Light & Magic's virtual reality lab

Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) is a newly-formed supergroup of artists, engineers, sound designers, and storytellers prototyping the future of interactive, immersive cinema for Lucasfilm. Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, I wrote about my visit to the xLAB where The Force is quite strong:

"The way we do technology development here is really hand-in-hand with the creative goals,” says (Lucasfilm CTO Rob) Bredow. “The R&D is always in service to the story.”

For example, to port the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars film universe into the interactive realm, the Advanced Development Group engineers first had to figure out how the VR hardware could render the massive 3D model in just milliseconds, compared with hours or days for a film shot. Then Skywalker Sound built a surround system that realistically rumbles and whooshes as a Corellian starship should. Meanwhile, game designers and the storytellers hashed out the most compelling way for a Jedi-in-training (you) to battle an army of Stormtroopers with a lightsaber.


Kitten petting simulator

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 8.48.57 AM

"VR is the next big thing, says Andy Pandy, "and I'm going to make millions with my virtual reality cat petting simulator."

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Watch a 4-year-old girl experience virtual reality on Oculus Rift for the first time


“Is he going to eat me? I thought he was. Ahhh! I thought he was real! Is he real? Go away. You go away I say, dinosaur.”

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View-Master Virtual Reality viewer


The general impression of the View-Master Virtual Reality viewer is that it's an excellent Google Cardboard viewer for any Android phone or iPhone, but that the View-Master app "reels" aren't very good. My family and I love Google Cardboard - the experience of walking around Paris and Tokyo is amazing. For $18, it seems like a good deal. Has anyone tried it? Read the rest

Oculus Rift VR headset turns out pricier than expected


Ballparked at $350 by its creators, the consumer version of the Oculus Rift VR headset will in fact be $599. The sticker shock led the company's CEO to do an apologetic AMA on Reddit, where he explained the circumstances and why the earlier price suggestion was made.

Palmer Luckey:

“In a September interview, during the Oculus Connect developer conference, I made the infamous ‘roughly in that $350 ballpark, but it will cost more than that’ quote. As an explanation, not an excuse: During that time, many outlets were repeating the ‘Rift is $1,500!’ line, and I was frustrated by how many people thought that was the price of the headset itself. My answer was ill-prepared, and mentally, I was contrasting $349 with $1,500, not our internal estimate that hovered close to $599 — that is why I said it was in roughly the same ballpark.

Later on, I tried to get across that the Rift would cost more than many expected, in the past two weeks particularly. There are a lot of reasons we did not do a better job of prepping people who already have high-end GPUs, legal, financial, competitive, and otherwise, but to be perfectly honest, our biggest failing was assuming we had been clear enough about setting expectations. Another problem is that people looked at the much less advanced technology in DK2 [Development Kit 2] for $350 and assumed the consumer Rift would cost a similar amount, an assumption that myself (and Oculus) did not do a good job of fixing.

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Fellow enjoys VR sex simulation so much he won't stop when asked to


A young man with a VR headset does not want to part with an inflatable torso dressed up as an anime character.

I interviewed Robert Anton Wilson for bOING bOING (the zine) in 1988 and he told me he was not concerned about virtual reality sex because people who favored it over real sex would be weaned from the gene pool.

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Google needs VR camera testers – just fill out their form and cross your fingers


Interested in creating virtual reality? Google is looking for people to test drive their Jump VR system that includes 16 cameras. Anyone can apply by filling out this 2-page form. But the company is going to be highly selective, and your answers should be "awesome," according to the company. They plan to start the testing by the end of summer, so if you're interested, apply now! Read the rest

Watch Minecraft become holographic in Microsoft Hololens E3 demo


Amazing gameplay footage: Minecraft through the Hololens. The VR demo from Microsoft executive Sax Persson today at the annual E3 games convention completely transforms the experience of Minecraft.

Microsoft acquired Minecraft Maker Mojang for $2.5 billion last year.

From PopSci:

“This is a live demo, with real working code,” Persson said, before donning the HoloLens and projecting a Minecraft map onto a wall, and then a table onstage. Microsoft announced Minecraft would be a main attraction of the HoloLens earlier in the year, but this is the first working demo the company has shown to the public.

Viewers were able to see Persson’s augmented reality through a “special camera” outfitted to show the HoloLens display in real time, as he played the game on the wall with an Xbox controller.

Persson then walked over to the table, said, “create world,” and watched as the Minecraft world poured onto the table. This was met with perhaps the loudest applause of Microsoft’s presentation, as he continued to use voice commands and gestures to manipulate the world. The virtual projection constrained itself to the edges of the table well, and the camera was able to look inside of structures by moving through the virtual walls.

No HoloLens release date yet.

More at Boing Boing's OFFWORLD: “The only things you really need to know about Microsoft's E3 press event

[Kotaku on YouTube]

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