The Ghost Howls’s VR Week Peek (2019.09.30): OC6, Pimax Day, Huawei VR glasses, Minecraft Earth and much more!

This has been the week of the OC6, but, believe it or not, I have been able to find some other interesting news that don’t regard Oculus. Do you want to read them?

Top news of the week
(Image by Oculus)
Oculus bets on Oculus Quest at OC6

Well, the top news of the week is, of course, the Oculus Connect 6. I have already written one mega-roundup post of that event, so I will just super-briefly summarize it again here (I’m tired summarizing the Connect! :O).
Briefly speaking, Oculus has announced:

  • Oculus Link: a solution that makes your Quest connect via USB to your PC and behave like a Rift S;
  • Hands tracking for Quest;
  • Facebook Horizon, a new social VR metaverse;
  • That is working on AR glasses and on creating the required infrastructure for them (the AR Cloud);
  • “Medal Of Honor: Above and Beyond”, an AAA VR game developed with Respawn Entertainment.

If you want to discover everything about this and much other news, read my mega-roundup post linked below. And don’t forget to also read the fantastic satiric summary by VR Dizzy!

More info (Mega-roundup on Oculus Connect 6)
More info (Satyric post by VR Dizzy)

Other relevant news
Pimax will start shipping 8KX and 8KPlus models and related accessories

Pimax has just held its “Pimax Day”, that thanks to a complete suicide move was held on September, 24th, during the pure hype for Oculus Connect (and in fact almost no-one cared about the news from there).
During this event actually, Pimax has given lots of interesting news. Finally the 8K X model, the headset that has a native resolution of 4K per eye (the original 8K had a 1440p resolution upscaled to 4K) and its sibling 8K Plus will start shipping in December this year. It is a bit of shame to discover that the 8K X supports 75 Hz as the native framerate, but with that big resolution, some compromises had to be done. Both headsets feature a new display with better visuals and the same famous 170° field of view. Both of them offer ruggedization options for enterprise customers. The prices are $1000 for the 8K Plus and $1300 for the 8K X, for the headset only. You have to buy base stations and controllers separately from HTC or Valve.
It seems that also the Pimax 5K+ in some conditions can now run at 120Hz.
In December, finally Pimax will start shipping also most of the accessories that it has promised during the Kickstarter campaign:

  • Hand-Tracking: $170;
  • Eye-tracking: $300;
  • Modular Audio Strap: $120;
  • Vision comfort kit: $50;
  • 10-meter cable: $100;

If you don’t see mention of the new Sword controllers is because they are delayed again until March 2020.
Pimax is offering a device that is very cheap for what it offers (big resolution and FOV), but the continuous delays and shipping problems have a bit hurt its reputation. And the new delay with controllers is not helping with that, either.

More info (Pimax 8K X and 8K Plus)
More info (Pimax accessories)
More info (Through the lenses of Pimax 8K X)
More info (120Hz on Pimax 5K+)
More info (All the announcements from Pimax Day)
More info (One crazy guy buying Pimax because Oculus doesn’t sell replacement cables)

Tilt Five gets funded on Kickstarter for its AR glasses

Tilt Five is one of the most interesting AR projects of this year. It is a set of AR glasses strictly focused on tabletop gaming that works together with a 6 DOF controller and a special board made with retro-reflective materials.
Even if they are not general-purpose glasses like Hololens or Magic Leap, these glasses feature inside so many technological innovations that made all we of the tech communities fall in love with them, and with their creator Jeri Ellsworth. As for specifications: 720p per eye, 110° total FOV, with all the objects that are seen in full focus every time, thanks to the patented special optics technology.
The startup sought $450,000 on Kickstarter and got them in one day. Now the Kickstarter is traveling towards one million. All this success is deserved, and I advise you to give this product a look!

More info (Description of the device)
More info (My thorough interview with Jeri Ellsworth)
More info (Official Kickstarter campaign page)

Huawei launches its VR glasses

Huawei has launched in China its VR glasses, that will be on sale in China in December for 2999RMB, around $400.
These glasses work by being connected to a phone and feature an incredibly sleek design, that seems like one of very big sunglasses. The design is maybe the coolest that I’ve seen on a VR headset.
Huawei is advertising these glasses as competitors of Oculus Quest and HTC Vive Pro, but don’t get mislead by this. The actual specifications are more or less this one:

  • Total 3K resolution (3200×1600);
  • Around 70° FOV;
  • 3 DOF rotational tracking. Users can use NOLO to have 6 DOF tracking;
  • 3 DOF remote;
  • Integrated speakers and microphone;
  • 3.5mm jack for your headphones;
  • Focal adjustment for each eye;
  • Needs a wired connection to a phone to work. This gives the headset 5G connectivity;
  • 166g weight.

As you can see, this looks like a Gear VR. A very good Gear VR, with a sleek design and 5G connectivity, but always a Gear VR. It will be good for movies streaming, in my opinion: I wouldn’t feel strange about wearing them on a plane during a long international trip, for instance.
Some people point out that the greatest problem will be content. This is not the first VR headset by Huawei, but the Chinese company has never created any content ecosystem for them, and so their first tries have always failed. We hope this time will be different.

More info (Huawei VR glasses WeChat article)
More info (Huawei VR glasses launch trailer)
More info (Article on Huawei VR glasses)
More info (Article on Huawei VR glasses)

Minecraft Earth is close to its release

The time is coming! Microsoft has officially stated that Minecraft Earth, that has been in beta for Android and iOS in carefully selected worldwide locations in the past months, is now ready for its launch. The application should come in Early Access “in October”: it won’t available worldwide in the beginning, but Mojang plans to roll it out fast so that it will be available in all countries before the end of the year.
Minecraft Earth is the game that lets you live Minecraft in augmented reality on your phone all over your city. It is like Pokemon Go meets Minecraft and in my opinion, it is the only game that has at least the potential of earning more than Pokemon Go. Maybe it won’t become as viral, but I’m sure it will become very successful. If it delivers what it promises, it can be the AR game of the year. Keep an eye on it.

More info (Deep dive on the story of Minecraft Earth)
More info (Minecraft Earth release date)

The future of VR 180 video format is uncertain

Google is doing it again. It seems on the edge of abandoning another interesting XR product. This time it’s the turn of the VR 180 format. According to Variety, Lenovo has stopped producing the Mirage Camera, a very nice camera that was able to shoot 180 degrees 3D photos and videos and upload them on Youtube, and LG has never produced in the end the camera that should have made with Google.
It is not clear what is the destiny of the VR 180 format, especially because Google declined to comment on the topic. I hope that at least they will keep the software infrastructure alive even if the officially dedicated hardware has been abandoned. There are other nice 180 3D cameras out there.
 It seems that Google lately is destroying all the VR projects it started…

More info

News worth a mention
Oculus “Cablegate” may end soon

A Redditor reported an answer from the Oculus support that seems to hint to the fact that Oculus plans to have a new stock of replacement cables for Oculus CV1 soon. This may end the “Cablegate”, that is all the backlash that Oculus got from the communities when it communicated that it had stopped selling the cables of the Oculus Rift CV1, leaving all people that broke it with no choice than buying a Rift S. I really hope that this will happen soon!

More info

Amazon announces Echo Frames smartglasses

Amazon has just announced that it is going to release Amazon Echo Frames, the first official smartglasses by the e-commerce giant. But don’t rejoice too much: there are no augmented reality features, they are just a way to be always connected with Alexa. An audio-only device.
Price is $180.

More info

Agent Emerson looks like a cool VR movie

If you are into VR actions movie, you for sure will be very interested in Agent Emerson. It is a first-person action movie, that features fighting, flying in the air with a parachute and other cool scenes. 
It has also been shot using a very original rig that goes all around the head of the actor, so that to provide a 360 3D vision to the user. I recommend you watching the photos of the article linked below to see what I’m talking about! I wonder how it is possible acting that way aha!

More info

YUR gets $1.1M investment to develop calories-tracker software

Startup YUR has just raised an investment round worth $1.1M to develop its solution for tracking calories on all VR devices, including the Oculus Quest. The application can run in background, also connecting with fitness trackers, and track the calories burnt by the user while in VR, in whatever activity he/she is doing. The software also provides statistics to the user, that can so see how much he/she is exercising well in VR.

More info

Some short news on content
  • Cloudhead Games has finally revealed Pistol Whip, an action game that seems the mix of Superhot and Beat Saber;
  • VRWandlung has created The Metamorphosis VR, that lets you live The Metamorphosis by Kafka as the main character that founds himself transformed into a cockroach.
  • Stardust Odyssey is a Co-op Space Shooter Coming to PSVR This Winter;
  • L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files’ arrives on PSVR;
  • HUMANITY is a game about managing a crowd in a stadium. We know very little about it, but it seems a very original concept;

More info (Pistol Whip)
More info (The Metamorphosis VR)
More info (Stardust Odyssey)
More info (L.A. Noire)
More info (HUMANITY)

A nice app with ARKit

I found this nice hands filter made using ARKit body segmentation. I love it…

More info

Applications for the Vive X close on September, 30th

If you have an AR/VR startup, you had better knowing that the applications for the 5th batch of Vive X startups are closing on September, 30th. Vive X is a very well known incubator that includes companies like bHaptics, LIV and Neurable. Companies inside it usually don’t receive enormous amounts of money, but some financing, good connections and mentoring. If you are interested, apply to the Vive X website.

More info

Some XR fun

Oculus Quest requires a powerful PC to run.

Funny link

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(Header image by Huawei)

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AR/VR developer, startupper, zombie killer. Sometimes I pretend I can blog, but actually I've no idea what I'm doing. I tried to change the world with my startup Immotionar, offering super-awesome full body virtual reality, but now the dream is over. But I'm not giving up: I've started an AR/VR agency called New Technology Walkers with which help you in realizing your XR dreams with our consultancies (Contact us if you need a project done!)