The restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic led many museums and galleries to offer visitors stranded at home the opportunity to discover works of art in AR or RV. But what are these virtual tours worth compared to a real experience? Many aesthetes will say that nothing beats a face-to-face with Mona Lisa, but a new neurological study could well shatter these prejudices.....
Aldin Studio presents the new version of its Telepath intelligent travel system. Built into the Waltz of the Wizard: Extended Edition game, it makes the experience more fluid and reduces the feeling of nausea....
Sony has developed a face recognition system for virtual reality. It would give avatars a photo-realistic appearance for even more immersion..
Bloomberg reports that a new Oculus Quest is in the works. The diary details some of its features such as a lighter weight, a reduced size and an increased screen refresh rate.....
The restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic led many museums and galleries to offer visitors stranded at home the opportunity to discover works of art in AR or RV. But what are these virtual tours worth compared to a real experience? Many aesthetes will say that nothing beats a face-to-face with Mona Lisa, but a new neurological study could well shatter these prejudices.
Conducted by MIT scientists in collaboration with the startup Cuseum, the research focused on the effects of art on an individual. Over a period of 10 months, they compared neurological responses to a work of art seen in RV, AR, two-dimensional or real life.
A total of nine individuals who had no particular affinity for art made up the sample. Thus, the researchers observed their reactions when they discovered works of art in RV and AR, but also in 2D (via an iPad) and in real life at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. To do so, the guinea pigs had to wear special helmets to record their brain activity.
Results that defy preconceived ideas about art and AR/VR
Some may be surprised at the results obtained by the scientists. According to them, discovering a work via digital reproduction does not in any way degrade the experience. In the case of augmented reality, the individuals studied even showed an improvement in their brain activity compared to an experiment in the real world. In AR, the individual recalled the work more often in the weeks following the experience.
Cuseum, the partner in this study, is creating digital tools for museums to improve visitor engagement. The company did not fail to cite these results during the launch of its new product. Called Museum From Home, this AR tool aims to bring museums into the home.
While it cannot be said that visiting a museum virtually is better than going there in the flesh, AR and VR have a real plus to bring to the art world. Moreover, it is more a question of affinity than competition. Everyone can find the best way for him or her to discover a work.
Aldin Studio presents the new version of its Telepath intelligent travel system. Built into the Waltz of the Wizard: Extended Edition game, it makes the experience more fluid and reduces the feeling of nausea.
Aldin Dynamics Studio has developed a virtual reality motion system. Called Telepath, it aims to offer movements that are closer to reality and do not cause nausea. Implemented in their game Waltz of the Wizard for some time, the developers claim that 90% of players use it regularly.
Also, they explain that they have only revealed a small part of the system's capabilities. That's why Aldin has announced the upcoming release of an extension for their RV magic practice game. To prepare for it are delivered new Telepath abilities, including the hand-tracking that will arrive later on the Oculus Quest.
Thus, in a post on their blog, the studio details the new features that come with the Telepath update. Their goal is to make the overall experience more enjoyable, i.e. more flexible and natural. To achieve this, they have focused on two points: the adoption of a natural behaviour prompted by real movements in the real world reproduced in virtual, and the reduction of motion sickness effects. In order to achieve this, Telepath relies on three functionalities.
Soon Telepath on Quest with hand tracking
First of all, there's what the Aldin Studio calls Presence Control. Instead of using buttons to indicate an action, the system analyzes the user's intent through his or her movements. It then adapts to body language and accentuates the immersion effect. Next, the Smooth Motion mode allows complete movements that show the entire transition from the starting point to the end point. Finally, Arc Roll adds a "twist" to the traditional teleportation mode. It is indeed possible to bend its trajectory with it. This should give more precision by means of locomotion.
These new functions are available from now on. But the Aldin Studio is looking forward to the return of the players, good or bad, so as to give priority to what is not yet ready. The developers have warned that the current system is not perfect, but is constantly evolving. So this is also a testing period for Telepath, waiting for the release on Quest a little later, with the presence of hand tracking. This will have to wait until Oculus officially makes this feature available.
Sony has developed a face recognition system for virtual reality. It would give avatars a photo-realistic appearance for even more immersion.
The US patent agency has just granted one to Sony. It's called "integration of a face tracking option for virtual reality users in a VR environment". The helmet uses cameras on the underside of the helmet to detect mouth movements and facial expressions. This should make it possible to reproduce them on the avatars of a virtual social space. This avatar would then correspond to a faithful representation of the person. Thus, when a group of players or friends meet in virtual reality, they can see themselves talking, laughing, smiling, being surprised or getting angry.
The patent also mentions an eye-tracking function. Here again, it will make it possible to reproduce the movement of the eyes in RV. All these aspects should bring a greater sense of realism to interactions between people in virtual reality. This should become more common in a post-coronavirus world.
For the next generation of helmets or the one after that?
The system developed by Sony reproduces the entire face while only the eyes and mouth are captured. Indeed, an important part including the nose, cheekbones, and brow bones is masked by the helmet. The Japanese manufacturer mentions several techniques in its patent to get around this problem. Overall, they try to locate the position of the nose by proximity sensors. But also its size by determining the space it occupies in the part of the helmet intended for this purpose.
Sony engineers aren't the first to explore facial recognition to recreate photorealistic avatars. Last year, Facebook already published some videos showing the possibilities of such a system. The result was quite impressive. However, nothing says that this technology will be present in the next generation of helmets like the PSVR 2. This patent may never even be used in a product for the general public. If it were nevertheless the case, it is certain that the social experience in virtual reality would greatly benefit from it.
Bloomberg reports that a new Oculus Quest is in the works. The diary details some of its features such as a lighter weight, a reduced size and an increased screen refresh rate.
We know that Facebook is preparing a replacement for its successful stand-alone helmet, the Oculus Quest. However, there's not a lot of information about it at the moment. But today, the American news site Bloomberg is unveiling some new details about a future, more comfortable version of the device. However, it is not clear whether these features are related to the Del Mar project we mentioned a few weeks ago.
even if nothing is official or confirmed, Bloomberg's reports are often right, as when they announced the Oculus Go several months before it was revealed to the general public. Their sources are therefore generally trusted. Again, the site does this several months in advance. In fact, originally expected for the end of the year, this new version of Quest should now arrive in 2021.
A lighter Oculus Quest
The new features announced by Bloomberg try to make the Oculus Quest more comfortable. To do this, several modifications are being made. First of all in terms of weight. Currently, the helmet weighs 571 g because, unlike devices connected to a PC, it has everything you need to operate on its own. The next Quest should be slimmer and 20% lighter with a weight of 450 g on the scale. In addition, this is accompanied by a reduction in the overall size of the device by 15%. However, we don't yet know which part has been reduced.
Another point of improvement is the refresh rate of the OLED display. Today set at 72 Hz, it is below the PC VR headphones which go from 90 Hz to 144 Hz (for the Valve Index). Thus, Oculus would like to raise this rate on the Quest to 120 Hz, but may eventually decide to block it at 90 Hz to save battery power.
The use of less noble materials
The Bloomberg report also mentions the Quest controllers. There is no mention of the word "Jedi", which is used to refer to the new Touch controllers. It simply states that they will be compatible with the current helmet so that you can enjoy them even with an older model. They will also fix the problem with the battery cover that tends to come off during gaming sessions.
Finally, to reduce production costs, Facebook has decided to use a more "low-end" plastic. The product's finish could suffer, but Oculus surely hopes that people know not to judge a book by its cover. As for the velcro straps, they could be replaced by elastic bands.
Screenshots showing a momentary mention of Tetris Effect on the Oculus store...
Mark Schramm has released a do-it-yourself kit for the Oculus Rift S. It allows you to add a hinge to swivel the helmet up...
The zombie game The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is coming to PSVR and Oculus Quest. If the latter is expected by the end of the year, the version on PS4 is coming very soon...
In April, the proportion of Steam RV helmet users increased from 1.29% to 1.91%, largely due to the success of Half-Life: Alyx.
In April, the proportion of Steam RV helmet users increased from 1.29% to 1.91%, largely due to the success of Half-Life: Alyx.
This additional 0.61 point translates into an increase of around 50%, a more than exceptional increase. However, Valve changed the way it counts its users last month. As a result, it is not really possible to compare the data from April with that of the past.
Again, 1.91% may seem insignificant, but in the context of niche equipment, PCVR is doing more than well despite its relative newness. So at this rate, RV headsets should surpass 4K screens among the means of connecting to Steam.
Never so many RV users on Steam
By April 2019, the platform had announced a total of 90 million users, all hardware combined. According to the UploadVR site, this figure would now hover around 100 million, including 2 million RV users. As a reminder, the mark of one million RV helmets on Steam was exceeded in June 2019.
The American site has also coupled this estimate with the data published by Valve for April in order to know the approximate number of each specific helmet. Thus, the HTC Vive is in the lead (500,000 users), closely followed by the Oculus Rift S (450,000) and Rift (325,000) helmets. In fourth place, the Valve Index has around 225,000 users on its own platform.
In fact, new equipment with internal trackers has contributed to the majority of the increase in RV users on Steam. Even so, older models with external trackers still account for 60% of the connected devices.
The Oculus Quest's meteoric progress
Also noteworthy is the impressive increase in the number of users logging on via an Oculus Quest headset. This only appeared in Valve's reports from last March onwards. The Quest then accounted for 2.89% of the helmets. One month later, it is already at 6.03%, the highest gain of a VR helmet ever recorded on the platform.
To explain this fact, we can cite the containment measures relating to the coronavirus. But UploadVR has another theory. Indeed, the Oculus Rift S has lost its first place to the HTC Vive by slipping 5% in one month. The site sees it as a correction made by Valve to its figures on Steam's VR users. They could have previously counted the Quest in Rift S.
The zombie game The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is coming to PSVR and Oculus Quest. If the latter is expected by the end of the year, the version on PS4 is coming very soon.
[UPDATE 05.04.2020: The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners game has appeared on the English PlayStation Store. It is sold there in its basic version at £28.99 (~ €33), and at £44.99 in the Tourist version (~ €51.50). We don't know if this is a mistake, or if it will be available on the French store soon].
In an interview with VentureBeat, Peter Akemann, co-founder of Skydance Interactive announced that they are currently working on the port of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners to PSVR. Without giving an exact date, he nevertheless confirmed that the release would be unveiled in a very short time. He particularly insisted that it would be in the very, very near future.
Still about The Walking Dead and its PSVR version, it's normal to wonder how the game runs on PS4. To this question, Peter Akemann answered confidently that this version is great. He added that he played it every day on PSVR and that the experience was fantastic on it. Indeed, even though this console is no longer young and will soon be replaced by the next generation, it is still capable of running today's games.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners also on Quest
Another platform should also receive a playable version of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners. This is the Oculus Quest. This port is not planned for now, however, and will have to wait until the end of the year. Peter Akemann again tried to reassure the helmet holders by explaining that the work was already well underway. As with the PSVR version, the Quest experience will certainly be just as great. He notes, however, that some compromises are mandatory on standalone platforms. So the studio is at the point of knowing which elements of the game will be sacrificed.
Like Boneworks or Half-Life: Alyx, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is based on a game mechanic that emphasizes interaction with the virtual world. However, this virtual world is full of zombies that you have to push back and make sure they stay dead for good. Thus, if Skydance Interactive has to make concessions, they must not intervene in the elements that make its success and do not make it a classic undead shooter. We'll have the answer before the end of the year. That's if the studio doesn't encounter disruptions that force it to delay these releases.
Mark Schramm has released a do-it-yourself kit for the Oculus Rift S. It allows you to add a hinge to swivel the helmet up.
A developer has developed a system to make wearing the Oculus Rift S more comfortable. In fact, like an HTC Vive Cosmos, he has added a hinge to the helmet that allows the entire eye area to be tilted upwards. This way, there is no need to remove the device to switch from the virtual world to the real world. With this system, as with the welders' masks, all you have to do is raise the visor to return to reality. This is especially useful for VR developers who have to constantly switch from real to virtual when working. However, taking off the helmet and putting it back on each time can quickly become a pain.
That's why Mark Schramm, the man behind this impro`vement, says that for the time being his invention is reserved for developers. He strongly advises against replicating his system for the average user. Indeed, it requires a good dose of DIY and the inattentive hand could damage the helmet irreversibly. All the more so as with the scarce stocks at the moment, it will be complicated to replace.
An assembly in the manner of a piece of furniture in parts
Mark Schramm is used to the Oculus Rift S and knows it inside out. As a developer, he worked on the Superhot VR games, but also Gravity Lab and Nighttime Terrors. So he designed this special kit using a 3D printer. All the plans are available on the MyMiniFactory website. They are accompanied by guides and advice from the designer. It details the steps to follow and indicates all the material needed for the do-it-yourself. Finally, it states that it is possible to return to the original configuration at any time and that the helmet is not in any way degraded by this modification.
The plans are available for free, but again, recommended only for developers. Nevertheless, we encourage you to take the utmost precautions before starting this procedure. Do not take unnecessary risks.
Screenshots showing a momentary mention of Tetris Effect on the Oculus store prove that the game will soon arrive on Oculus Quest.
Indeed, the title appeared for a few hours in the "Coming soon" section of the online store. Several Internet users had time to make screenshots before the error was corrected.
As a reminder, Tetris Effect started in virtual reality on PSVR in 2018. Then, PC players on RV could play it from July 2019 via the Epic Games store. It will be the turn of Oculus Quest users to experience the joys of Tetris Effect soon.
Several Internet users have posted their screenshots on reddit, images that the UploadVR site then obtained. You can discover Tetris Effect referenced among other upcoming titles on the Oculus Store. See for yourself :
Tetris Effect: an expected success on Oculus Quest
In fact, the puzzle game was a great success, both on PCVR and PSVR. It is a successful adaptation of the original classic for a VR universe. Thus, there is no doubt that owners of Oculus Quest helmets will appreciate Tetris Effect just as much.
Among other things, Tetris Effect has more than thirty levels that can be explored via more than a dozen modes. The gameplay doesn't deviate from that of the classic game, but brings some improvements. However, it's the stunning visual effects coupled with the immersion created by virtual reality that really gets you hooked. For example, the title always manages to surprise by changing the way the bricks are stacked each time. Add to this a music that evolves according to your actions.
Unfortunately, neither Facebook nor the game's developers have commented on this so far. As a result, we don't have a release date yet. Of course, we will keep you informed of any developments.