Dan Blair - Addicted To Technology

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The HUB Opening Night: Winnipeg New Music Festival

The HUB Opening Night: Winnipeg New Music Festival

Remember how awesome it was when we last teamed up with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra? We loved it so much we are doing it again! We are excited to announce that for our next event we are presenting the opening night of the Winnipeg New Music Festival!

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Virtual Reality Tracking

Virtual Reality Tracking

Now that the big 3 VR HMDs are out it is time to talk about tracking. Some things work and some don’t. When you watch videos of any of the helmets it is easy to think they all work flawlessly, which obviously isn’t true.

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Reforging Reality – Virtual Reality TEDx Winnipeg

Reforging Reality – Virtual Reality TEDx Winnipeg

My topic was where did virtual reality come from and how is it affecting our local industries. At Bit Space Development we have a focus on building interactive virtual reality applications for education, training, and fun. We are working on plenty of client related projects that bring their ideas to life in VR in one way or another, we also have some awesome projects we are building ourselves. The video is finally up, you can watch my talk here.

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Use Virtual Reality Marketing Today

Use Virtual Reality Marketing Today

Virtual Reality (VR) is a new medium. A lot of people think of Virtual Reality as the next big technology which is likely true, it is pretty mind blowing when you are standing on the surface of mars or you are floating through a vein into the heart. What a lot of people don’t realize is that VR is actually the next big medium, like television, smart phones, or radio. VR is a new way to interact with your customers and have your brand interacted with.

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The Oculus Rift DK2

Virtual Reality is not a new technology, certainly not something that was imagined recently. The Oculus Rift was one of the first devices to actually do a good job with creating an immersive environment. The DK2 is quite an improvement from the original Oculus Rift, which was hard to do considering the first Oculus Rift was so amazing to begin with.

Virtual reality is difficult to describe to people who have not actually tried it. It is not quite like you are sitting at your desk with a box on your head (google cardboard), it is more like you have actually traveled to the virtual place. If a simulation is good enough, it can feel like you are really there. This is amplified if you are actually sitting or standing like the character in the simulation and if you are wearing a good headset to cancel the noise.

Hardware

The hardware is a lot better this time around. The resolution is now 960 X 1080 per eye, which is noticeable. There is an additional position tracking unit which tracks the Oculus Rift, and your device’s orientation.

Precise, low-latency positional tracking opens the door to entirely new interactive and gameplay opportunities. Great positional tracking is a key requirement for virtual reality; with it, the Oculus Rift can accurately map all of your real world head movements.

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The DK2 uses low persistence OLED Displays. This basically eliminated the motion blur and jutter of the display, which is what makes you feel sick most of the time.

DK2 uses a low persistence OLED display to eliminate motion blur and judder, two of the biggest contributors to simulator sickness. Low persistence makes the scene appear visually stable, increasing the potential for presence.

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Over all the DK2 has a lot better hardware. The specs below will outline what is on board of the headset.

Display
Resolution 960 x 1080 per eye
Refresh Rate 75 Hz, 72 Hz, 60 Hz
Persistence 2 ms, 3 ms, full
Viewing Optics
Viewing Optics 100° Field of View (nominal)
Interfaces
Cable 10′ (detachable)
HDMI HDMI 1.4b
USB Device USB 2.0
USB Host USB 2.0 (requires DC Power Adapter)
Positional Tracker USB USB 2.0
Internal Tracking
Sensors Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer
Update Rate 1000 Hz
Positional Tracking
Sensors Near Infrared CMOS Sensor
Update Rate 60 Hz
Weight
Weight 0.97 lbs (without cable)
Included Accessories
Included Accessories HDMI to DVI Adapter DC Power Adapter International Power Plugs Nearsighted lens cups Lens cleaning cloth

Software

Software wise there is a lot to choose from experiment wise. Immediately I downloaded a tour of the solar system. This blew my mind away. One of my biggest dreams (not surprisingly) is to go to space one day. The experience was great, and it really sold me on virtual reality. On the Oculus Share site, there are loads of software experiments to download for Mac, Windows, and Linux.

There is also a plugin for the Unity game engine to develop games for the Oculus Rift. The SDK allows you to easily build games and simulations for the rift.

The Oculus Rift is paired with the publicly available Oculus SDK which includes source code, documentation, and samples to help you hit the ground running. The Oculus Rift and the Oculus SDK currently support Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Over all developing for the rift is easier than you would expect, if you have a little game dev knowledge to begin with.

Usability

The device isn’t terrible to set up. There are a lot more cords than you would expect. The device I tried it out first on was my laptop at work, a 2013 Mac Book Pro. Setting up the Oculus on the Mac wasn’t terrible but it was difficult to get the displays configured correctly.

If you are going to use the Oculus Rift, the best configuration I have found so far is to just mirror your display, I found that sending my display to the rift as a secondary display just caused a bunch of issues including rotating the display. After all was said and done, it was super easy to download and try out different experiments.

Conclusion

Overall the device is great. The setup was a little frustrating. On Windows it was admittedly a lot easier to set up than Mac, which is fine because my work laptop isn’t really for gaming anyways haha. It is going to be interesting to see what kind of technologies are released for this in the near future. It is also going to be interesting to see what Samsung does with their Gear VR, based on the Oculus Rift.

Pics

Here are some fun pictures of us using it at the office.

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