Tag - Augmented reality
2016 is going to be a landmark year for virtual reality and augmented reality, with the Oculus Rift soon to reach the hands of eager customers, while the HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR headset, and Microsoft HoloLens are not far behind. The View-Master VR headset (which has recently appeared in the Apple online store) is a Google Cardboard-compatible viewer that works in tandem with your iPhone or Android device. Although not in the same league as the as devices like the Rift, it's "VR-lite" experience still gives a you a good sense of what the hype is about, as we find out in our hands-on with the View-Master VR.
Apple's latest hiring may hint the company is looking into working in virtual reality and augmented reality, by reportedly bringing aboard a top researcher in the field. Doug Bowman is a Virginia Tech computer science professor and Director for the Center for Human-Computer Interaction that has an extensive history in the field of AR and VR interfaces, and is said to be joining Apple following after a sabbatical period.
Facebook has finally revealed its alternative to the "like" button, as part of two different ways the social network is hoping to change the way its users interact with each other. A test for "Reactions," emoji-based responses to Facebook posts, is underway in two countries, with Facebook also confirming it is building on top of its existing virtual reality work, by attempting to develop it's own augmented reality version of the social service.
Microsoft is preparing to ship developer kits for the HoloLens, its attempt at an augmented reality headset, the software company revealed during today's Windows 10 devices event today. The HoloLens Development Edition will be made available to purchase in the first quarter of next year, priced at $3,000 per kit, with Microsoft starting to accept applications for the headset's development kit from later today.
Microsoft is attempting to prove the usefulness of its HoloLens augmented reality headset, by offering free units and cash to researchers. The Microsoft HoloLens Academic Research project will grant five academic institutions two development kits for the device as well as up to $100,000 in grants each, if researchers make a suitable proposal that aims to "better understand the role and possible applications for holographic computing in society."
Epson is continuing to work on its own attempt at Google Glass-style eyewear, with an update to its Moverio headset. The Moverio Pro BT-2000 improves upon last year's model, with the device now including a five-megapixel stereo camera with depth sensing, as well as a new inertial measurement unit, allowing the headset to create more accurate augmented reality images than earlier models were capable of.
Microsoft's HoloLens is unlikely to have a wider field of view for its augmented reality display when it eventually reaches consumers, an executive has confirmed. The smaller section of the helmet where the AR content is visible, leaving a large peripheral area where there isn't any overlay, will most likely remain the same in terms of size and position, despite receiving complaints and comments from people who have tried out the device in tests and at major events.
Apple has bought out the assets and technology of Volkswagen-created augmented reality (AR) firm Metaio, which developed AR-enhanced business and product-oriented interactive software for websites and companies. The acquisition is not the first of Apple's buyouts of AR firms, which use live video from cameras and overlay graphics or information to supplement what can be seen -- from instantly translating a sign into one's native language to noting the business hours and ratings of a business.
HoloLens, Microsoft's augmented reality headset, also received some attention at the Build keynote, among updates to Windows 10. A brief demonstration showed how the headset could be used in industry for visualization and management of complex systems, as well as how it handles running Windows 10 apps, taking into account the available 3D space.
Sony is continuing where the Google Glass headset left off, by putting its own augmented reality headset on sale. The developer edition, model number SED-E1, of SmartEyeglass has become open to pre-order in the United Kingdom and Germany with sales in Japan the United States, and six other countries coming soon, with Sony expecting to ship the $840 head-mounted device in March.
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Trade-up program expands in Europe
Smartphone users in France, Italy, and Spain will have until at least August of this year to trade in old iPhone, Windows Phone, or Android models at Apple Stores, and put the reward towards a new iPhone -- thanks to an expansion of Apple's trade-in program into those countries. The money given for the trade-in must be applied towards a new iPhone on a two-year payment plane, and traders must qualify under a credit check as part of the program. Interested customers can apply for the trade-in at their nearest Apple Store. http://bit.ly/1qPsldD
NBCUniversal adds Bravo, Syfy, E! to Apple TV
NBCUniversal has launched three new apps channels for Apple TV users. Bravo Now, Syfy Now and E! Now brings users access full seasons of current and past episodes of most of NBCUniversal's catalog. The Bravo Now app includes shows like "The Real Housewives of New York Cit," "Below Deck Mediterranean," comedy "Odd Mom Out" and "Top Chef." The Syfy Now app offers up shows like "The Magicians," thriller "12 Monkeys" and the reality show "Face Off." The E! Now app serves up shows like "Keeping Up with the Kardashians," "Botched," "#RichKids of Beverly Hills," Caitlyn Jenner's "I Am Cait," and "WAGS." While some content is free, most content requires users to authenticate via their cable satellite or telco TV provider. http://bit.ly/20K4Pea
Apple rolls out Arabic version of Apple.com
Apple has rolled out a new version of its Apple.com website for Arabic language users in the United Arab Emirates. The site utilizes a right-to-left reading format where it has been updated, although the upgrade is still in progress with a number of page links still in the original English language left-to-right format. Of particular note is that the site debuts an all-new custom Arabic font created by the Tarek Atrissi Design agency, giving it a highly contemporary look and feel. The new support for Arabic on its host website follows the introduction of full support for right-to-left languages in iOS 9, and the addition of Arabic support to Siri late last year. http://apple.co/20JHGIM
Adobe previews Photoshop content-aware crop
Adobe has previewed a new 'content-aware crop' feature from the next version of its Photoshop CC. The new feature is similar to its 'content-aware fill' from the current version of Photoshop CC, and potentially saves users time when cropping photos in a way that might otherwise leave blank white space in the frame. Adobe's 'content-aware' tech automatically assesses the blank space and seamlessly fills the blank space with the nearest related content in the space when a photo is expanded or rotated without the need to manually clone that part of the image. The feature allows users to move a horizon by adding more sky or ground, change the aspect ratio by adding content around the edges of the image and fill in the corners of an image when rotated during a crop. Adobe says the feature is coming soon and will be automatically available to Creative Cloud subscribers. http://adobe.ly/20JDFEu
Markzware updates Q2ID for QuarkXPress 12 files
Graphic design file conversion tool maker Markzware has launched a new version of its Q2ID tool. The InDesign plugin enables users to open QuarkXPress files within a new InDesign (INDD) document, without rebuilding the QXP document from scratch -- the new version includes support for QuarkXPress 12 files. Q2ID Subscription members can download the new version as part of their annual plan. A single-user can purchase the plugin for $200, with other licensing options available. http://bit.ly/1Z4dS9t
PopChar X 7.5 arrives
Ergonis Software has released PopChar X 7.5, an improved version of the company's tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. PopChar X 7.5 adds support for combined emojis in the Apple Color Emoji font, enhances the "Font Info" view, and adds many further enhancements that improve overall speed and stability. PopChar X 7.5 retails for €30 ($34), and is free for anyone who owns a license for PopChar X 7 or purchased a license for PopChar X 6 on or after March 1, 2014 [4.5MB]
Safari Technology Preview release 5 arrives