Quando abbiamo visto Microsoft HoloLens in azione con Minecraft all’E3 lo scorso giugno, eravamo sorpresi e meravigliati da quel che ci mostrarono sul palco: avevamo davanti ai nostri occhi esattamente quel che ci saremmo aspettati dal migliore visore per realtà aumentata potessimo mai immaginare, ed era semplicemente da lasciare a bocca aperta.
Ma coloro che ebbero la possibilità di testare live il device notarono che l’esperienza non era esattamente quella immaginata vedendolo in azione sui nostri schermi: dopo il nuovo video rilasciato da Microsoft nel quale possiamo osservare il visore nel suo utilizzo alla Case Western Reserve University ogni dubbio è fugato e possiamo finalmente vedere quale effettivamente sia il suo vero campo visivo…e, sfortunatamente, sembra che le nostre aspettative debbano essere ridimensionate.
Nel video, creato per mostrare le possibilità di HoloLens e realtà aumentata nello studio della medicina, ci viene mostrato come gli studenti possano vedere attraverso il visore parti del corpo umano e studiarne i problemi virtualmente, senza alcun rischio per la vita dei pazienti.
Ovviamente l’utilizzo è fantastico, ma nel video per la prima volta realizziamo anche quale sia esattamente la visione di colui che indossa l’headset: è chiaro che vi sia una limitazione del campo visivo aumentato dell’utente durante l’utilizzo di HoloLens; sembra vi sia più una “finestra” di realtà aumentata, che prende circa metà dello schermo, occupando un rettangolo nel mezzo delle lenti degli occhiali, e nella parte rimanente rimanga visibile semplicemente il mondo reale. Questo non si nota più di tanto quando gli oggetti aumentati sono lontani, ma è invece molto chiaro quando sono vicini e di fronte all’utente.
Anche per un progetto incredibile come Microsoft HoloLens, dunque, addirittura utilizzato nello spazio, c’è ancora tanto lavoro da fare: siamo sicuri, ad ogni modo, che presto sarà un prodotto buono come lo abbiamo immaginato.
When we saw Microsoft HoloLens in action with Minecraft at E3 last June, we were surprised and amazed from what they showed us on the stage: that was exactly what we were expecting from the best augmented reality headset we could imagine, and it was just breathtaking.
But those who tested live the device noticed that the experience isn’t exactly what we thought watching it from our screens: now Microsoft released a video showcasing the headset’s uses at Case Western Reserve University and finally the actual field of view is revealed…and, unluckily, it seems we have to reshape our expectations.
In the video, created to show the possibilities of using HoloLens and augmented reality for studying medicine, we can see how the students can see through the headset the human body parts and study the problems virtually, without putting at any risk the patients lives.
Of course, the use is awesome, but for the first time we also realize what exactly is the vision of the wearer: it is clear that there’s a bit limitation to the field of view that the user can have while using HoloLens; it seems to be an augmented reality “window”, that appears to take up about half of the screen, occupying a rectangle in the middle of the glasses’ field of view, and in the remaining part there’s just the real vision. This isn’t so much noticeable when the augmented reality objects are seen from afar, but it is very clear when they are near and right in front of the user.
Even for an incredible project as Microsoft HoloLens, at this time used also in space, there’s still a lot of work to do: we are sure that soon it will be as good as we imagined.
Surely all you reading right now know what Oculus Rift is, but how many have an answer when we say Surreal Vision? Well, now these two realities are definitely linked: the Facebook-owned virtual reality firm, Oculus Research, few days ago announced on their blog that the Surreal Vision team joined them.
Surreal Vision is a UK-based start-up that develops software for “real-time 3D scene reconstruction”: saying it with other words, they accurately represent the real world in the virtual one or, also, they recreate it in a virtual space, blending them together. This incredible mix reveals a step towards Augmented Reality from the Oculus company, until now devoted to the world of Virtual Reality: the reconstruction of the world around the person wearing the headset will help knowing when there’s an obstacle on the way, but will also bring outside objects and landscapes into games. We could call this a kind of inverted Augmented Reality. All this will be possible integrating in the headset Oculus Rift the software created by Surreal Vision, called SLAM++.
Since we are talking about this, in the last hours another Oculus Rift related news popped out: finally the Oculus company CEO Brendan Iribe gave a release price to the world, announcing that the headset will cost $1,500. Thinking about the prices we know from other headsets, this seems a bit out of range, but don’t be scared: at first the price seems really high, but then, if you read the statement, you see that he said that would be the total price of the Oculus and a powerful enough pc to run it. This will not obviously affect the videogames players, that already have powerful machines, but for the average computer user this could be something to keep in mind.
At Build 2015, the annual Developer Conference hosted by Microsoft from April 29 to May 1, there was finally some news about HoloLens. Every Augmented Reality fan was for sure waiting something more about Microsoft’s headset, and the company made them happy.
HoloLens was the true star of the conference: since it is in development from some years, big news is always welcome and, hopefully, expected soon, especially since it is strictly linked to Windows 10 launch.
Alex Kipman, the official speaker for the HoloLens project, during the conference made a demonstration of what HoloLens and Windows 10 will look like together and showed some videos of the impact that this project would have on different parts of our lives:
Also, he told something more about the headset, in particular trying to clarify the definition of it:
“The HoloLens has been repeatedly referred to as being holographic. Microsoft has even called its built-in processor a holographic processor. So the very first thing to say is that this is not a holographic display and it has nothing at all to do with holography.
[Instead] it is an augmented reality (AR) headset that … projects a stereo pair of images, one to each eye, just like a virtual reality headset. The difference is that the visor is transparent and you can see the 3D generated image embedded into the natural, real world, view.”
All this news is interesting, and we can’t wait to see it in action. For now, anyway, we have to hope to get our hands on a prototype or to just dream reading the articles of those who tested the device: Microsoft announced that it would offer developers at Build access to “hundreds” of HoloLens devices so that they can experience the technology first-hand, but Augmented Reality fans will still have to wait for a market version of the device. Some rumor going around claims that maybe the headset will be released in September 2015 and it will cost about $500. Will it be true?
Continue to follow us to know more about Microsoft HoloLens will be released and to remain always up to date with Augmented Reality news!
Massimo Vian, CEO of the Italian eyewear colossus Luxottica, announced that soon there will be a new version of Google Glass.
In January, Google stopped the sales of the first version of the Glass eyewear, released in 2013 to users who applied to test the internet-connected device; the reason for this sudden change of mind was explained by Google Glass chief Ivy Ross, who revealed that a new version of the eyewear device would be cheaper and have longer battery life, improved sound quality and a better display, adding that they are working on pairing the device with a wide range of familiar types of eyewear.
This made a lot of users think that the big G was shutting down the Google Glass project, but we already could sense something was moving, since during March 2014, Luxottica’s CEO announced that they were starting a partnership with them.
Massimo Vian told shareholders: “In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version 3 [of the eyewear]. What you saw was version 1. We’re now working on version 2, which is in preparation.”
This clearly means that, even if he didn’t give a certain time for the release, the second version of Google Glass is on its way. In fact, a press release from Luxottica explained that “the two Corporations will establish a team of experts devoted to working on the design, development, tooling and engineering of Glass products that straddle the line between high-fashion, lifestyle and innovative technology.” Moreover, two of the most famous Luxottica’s brands, Oakley and Ray-Ban, were mentioned to be part of the project.
It seems that Google will not be the only partnership that will take Luxottica in the world of advanced technology and glasses: they made another announcement saying they are collaboranting with Intel on different wearable eyewear products; we’ll see hopefully the first results in February or March of next year.
Do you remember Sony SmartEyeglass? If you read our blog in last months, you already know we are talking about a new Augmented Reality headset from this article: Sony SmartEyeglass and Attach: the Developer Edition will arrive in March
They were expected to arrive on the shelves during the last month and, in fact, here they are: March 28 they started to be sold in ten countries around the world, between which Japan, Germany, Italy, UK and United States (for some of the countries you have to be a business client to have them). The price has been set to $ 840, about the price of a laptop, and to work them you’ll have to have an Android device running 4.4 KitKat or higher.
Sony vs Google
With this product, Sony outdone Google: if, on one hand, they are similar to Google Glass in the functionalities, on the other, they are a more developed product and they cost less. The price, in fact, as we said is set to $ 840, while Google Glass beta is $1500.
Sony SmartEyeglass is a good headset to start with, but we don’t have to forget this is just the Developer Edition; this means the product is still far from being perfect, and some sites that tested them said they are “unfinished”. The green text seems to cause headache for some people, many others don’t like that the battery and the remote are in the external box that have to be worn pinned to clothes.
Therefore, it’s clear that, for how much revolutionary this headset could be, a lot of work still has to be done. For now, you can decide to join Sony’s experiment to develop them.
During last weeks we already talked about some headsets and wearables on Experenti’s blog: from Hololens to Vive, from Google Glass to Sony SmartEyeglass; maybe we saw just the prototypes, but we know what to expect.
Today, instead, we are going to talk about a mysterious project that is keeping on their toes the Augmented and Virtual Reality enthusiasts from all over the world: about a year ago, Google invested no less than $ 542 million in a startup called Magic Leap. Of course, everyone started to wonder what was at the back of Magic Leap’s project to interest a colossus like the big G. The situation became thorny as the answers didn’t come.
What we know about Magic Leap is that they’re working on a wearable, probably a headset, which blends Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, and that it’s not meant to be used as stationary. Nothing more. Aren’t you starting to be curious too, now?
The world of the web and technology enthusiast was expecting some answer from the recent Reddit AMA that Magic Leap’s CEO Rony Abovitz held about a month ago. When the users asked Abovitz how he’d explain Magic Leap, he replied in an even more confusing way: “You can think of us as techno-biology,” he said. “We believe it is the future of computing.” Then he explained his meaning of techno-biology: “is the proper application of technology to our biology that leads to the experience of magic.”
From what can be understood, it seems Magic Leap will be different from other headset for a main point: if they put you in a virtual world, Magic Leap will focus on take the magic in the real world. He added that their technology is called “cinematic reality” and it’s not based on the use of stereoscopic 3D, but on Lilliputian projector to shine light and images into the user’s eyes instead.
After that occasion, another one filled the curious with expectations: in march, Rony Abovitz was supposed to appear at TED to talk about his company’s mysterious work. At the last moment, unluckily, the company deleted this and another appearance for reasons unknown. They sent a video, though, that left the users without words: this is what’s apparently happening in Magic Leap headquarters:
Augmented Reality can be very useful for many operations; during these months, we saw it used for various purposes, sometimes on mobile devices, sometimes on headsets. If it can be so useful daily on earth, think how much it could improve the life of astronauts in space. This is why NASA is testing a pair of Augmented Reality glasses that, if successful, are going to be used on the International Space Station.
At first, NASA tried to approach repeatedly Google trying to get them to work on a pair of special Google Glasses, but the Company said they were working only on consumers.
So NASA has partnered with San Francisco-based Osterhout Design Group (ODG) to develop augmented reality glasses that could supplement computers for astronauts. The ODG Company has been building high-tech glasses for commercial and government use for the past six years, and the latest model pack HD displays and cameras, Wi-Fi, GPS, positional sensors and headphones. Currently these glasses have been used mostly for military use, but now the company, while testing also with NASA, is preparing a version for the consumer market.
The primary objective is to help astronauts fixing equipment in space: now they do that just reading printed instructions, but with these new glasses, they would be able to get the directions directly in front of their eyes since they will be uploaded in the headset. This will leave their hands free, also, making it easier to fix.
“As electronic directions and instructions replace paper checklists and longer duration missions are considered, there is a need for tools that can meet evolving demands. ODG’s technology provides an opportunity to increase space mission efficiencies and we are pleased to explore its potential in human spaceflight while also advancing its use here on earth.” said NASA Johnson Space Center Engineering Director Lauri Hansen. “Just put the glasses on and say ‘Next step,’ and you’re looking through an instruction manual”.
The glasses are currently being tested in NASA’s underwater Extreme Environment Mission Operations lab before being used on the ISS.
Reading the news about Augmented Reality seems to be no doubt on the passage from mobile to wearables. Today, to further prove it, we talk of the announcement of a new headset: the name is Vive and will be created by HTC in partnership with the popular gaming company Valve Software.
What are the features of HTC Vive?
Talking about the design, HTC prototype looks similar to Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset, but there’s a substantial difference compared to other competitors: Vive, other than the headset, comes with some base stations” that you place inside your room and handheld controllers, so the device can track your physical motions and your moves in reality are transferred in the virtual reality.
As you can imagine, this key feature is widely related to the world of videogames; after all, Valve is the owner of the famous gaming platform Steam, which counts for not less than 125 million active accounts, and surely is not a detail that can remain in the background.
Nonetheless, HTC didn’t think only to gaming for its Vive, but also to other possible application fields; using HTC chief Peter Chou’s words:
“Virtual reality will totally transform the way we interact with the world, and will become a mainstream experience for the consumer,” he said “Attending real-time concerts, learning history, watching an incredible movie, reliving memories through photos or shopping experiences will be transformed.”
An example of this is the promotion of movies and TV shows: the company announced also other partnerships with Lionsgate and HBO.
For now HTC Vive is available only in the Developer Edition, but the company said that around the end of 2015 will be released also the Consumer Edition. Do you want to be the first to know? Keep an eye on their site http://www.htcvr.com/
Day after day there are always more news in the Augmented Reality field, but many technologies (one among all, Microsoft Hololens) are yet in development phase and we will not see them before some years are passed. For the joy of all those who can’t really wait anymore, Caputer Labs thought to put a remedy to this problem.
Last month at CES the company presented a new project: its name is SEER, it’s an augmented reality headset based on mobile technology, and it is low-cost and low-technology. SEER has been launched on Kickstarter only in January and it has already widely reached and passed the $ 100,000 goal that Caputer Labs set: at this moment the campaign, which will end in about a week, arrived to almost $ 120,000.
How does it works? Basically, the headset, that how we already said is based on mobile technology, project the screen of a smartphone on the front transparent glass, placing real and virtual images one on top of the other and transforming the experience in augmented reality. All this reaching, for the first time in this technology, a 100° FOV. This system, which reminds Google Cardboard, allowed the company to maintain a low technological level (it’s just a system of mirrors and reflections) and a very competitive price; in fact it’s just $ 119 per headset, since the true technological part is the smartphone that the user already owns. Talking about the commands: SEER also supports a variety of inputs, ranging from regular video game controllers and joysticks to Leap Motion sensors. You can also control it by simply shaking your head, moving left and right to scroll through a menu.
For now, SEER’s uses are limited, but there’s already the thought of new developments; in the while, if you want one, you can book your headset on Kickstarter still for a week.