Saturday, October 8, 2016

RUMOR: Is this the new Ricoh Theta? Ricoh Theta SC specifications leaked

A Japanese camera blog called Nokishita claims to have the specifications for a new Theta camera called the Ricoh Theta SC.

Here's a video of the amazing Facebook VR demo from Oculus Connect 3

At Oculus Connect 3, Mark Zuckerberg demo'd a social VR app that Facebook and Oculus are working on, which could become the killer app for Oculus Rift.

Friday, October 7, 2016

New sample 360 videos and photos from Detu F4

Detu has posted several new samples from the Detu F4 camera, including both 360 photos and 360 videos.

TECHNIQUE: Better stitching for Samsung Gear 360 and other 360 video cameras with After Effects and Skybox

You can get better stitching for 360 videos from cameras or 360 rigs that use two lenses such as the Samsung Gear 360, Ricoh Theta S, Nikon Keymission 360, LG 360 Cam, or Kodak SP360 4k.  With this method, you can reduce compression artifacts and ghosting, and have customized stitching.

You'll need Adobe AfterEffects and a plug-in called Skybox by Mettle.  Check out this tutorial by Charles Yeager and the project file from Mike Borup:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Oculus Connect 3 announcements Part 3: Software and Mobile

a scene from Lone Echo
I previously posted the hardware- and social-related announcements at Oculus Connect 3.  Now here are the announcements relating to software and to mobile.

Oculus Connect 3 announcements Part 2: Social VR

Oculus Connect 3 definitely did not disappoint, with many major announcements.  To keep the announcements somewhat organized, I grouped them into related categories:
Part 1: hardware-related announcements
Part 2: social VR announcements (this post)
Part 3: software and mobile announcements.

Oculus Connect 3 announcements Part 1: Hardware

Wow my head is about to explode with the ton of announcements of Oculus Connect 3 keynote, some of which were expected, but there were also some surprises.  I've decided to group the announcements according to category. 

In this post, I'll discuss the hardware-related announcements.
Part 2: Social VR announcements
Part 3: Software and Mobile announcements

How to watch Oculus Connect 3 keynote

At 10am Pacific Time, Oculus will stream the keynote address at Oculus Connect 3.  Mark Zuckerberg will be one of the speakers and we are expecting major announcements including the official launch of Oculus Touch (including the official price and release date, believed to be $199 with release on November 21), Facebook VR, and a possible development on inside-out tracking (which would make an external sensor or camera unnecessary).

There will also be a closing keynote by John Carmack tomorrow Friday at 1:30 to 3pm Pacific Time.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

This could be Oculus Rift's killer app

Tomorrow, Oculus and Facebook are expected to announce what could be Oculus Rift's killer app: Facebook VR.

Update: see here for the announcement

VR helps people experience what it's like to have autism

One of the ways VR can be used is to put viewers in the shoes of another person.  Autism Simulator is a VR experience that helps viewers experience what it's like to have autism. 
The app was developed for SPOSA Bratislava, a not-for-profit Slovak organization to support those with autism.  SPOSA hopes that the app will help parents of autistic children get a glimpse of what their children might feel, and to help employers at trade fairs have a better understanding of autistic job candidates.

The app is available for free for the HTC Vive here and for Oculus Rift in the Oculus store (under Concepts).

VR fitness update

image by punctuated -
​Here are some of the things I ate the past week:
- Krispy Kreme donuts
- Fried shrimp with curry
- Filipino deep-fried crispy pork belly ("lechon kawali," pictured above).
- half of a large bag of kettle-cooked potato chips (i.e., not baked).
- 4 large slices of Round Table Italian Garlic Supreme pizza

Yet my weight has dropped 4 pounds (1.8 kg). since last week (from 180 to 176).  It's because I've been playing the HTC Vive (reviewed here).  Yes, I'm serious.

DEALS: 50% off CyberThreat, an open-world VR shooter for the HTC Vive

CyberThreat is a shooter on the HTC Vive.  Whereas most shooters in VR are wave shooters, Cyber Threat is an open-world shooter that allows the player to travel around a city.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A 360 tour of Mexico City with the Samsung Gear 360

Check out this 360 video tour of Mexico City by Oasis, a home rental service, which was captured with a Samsung Gear 360 (reviewed here).

8 Reasons why Google's Daydream might not be as good as Samsung Gear VR

Today, Google officially launched Google Daydream, its premium mobile VR platform.  It's available for $79 (includes both the headset and controller), or for free if you preorder the Pixel phone, the first Daydream-ready phone.  But before you go out and buy a Pixel phone, you might want to look at these factors which might mean that Daydream is not as good as Samsung Gear VR.

Google Daydream officially launched; leaves many questions unanswered

Google officially launched Daydream today, showing a headset with new design.  The announcement provides more information about Daydream but also raises several questions.

Google's Pixel phone is made for mobile virtual reality

Google officially announced the Pixel phone, which has several features, including mobile virtual reality.

Pixel's key features:
- Google Assistant: like a smarter, context-aware version of Siri
- Camera: the highest DxO score for a smartphone camera 
- Cloud storage with Google Photos: Pixel buyers will be given free unlimited photos and videos at original resolution.
- Communication: Google Duo video calling
- Virtual reality: according to Google, it's the first Daydream-ready phone.  (Comment: but what about the ZTE Axon 7?)

Pixel also has other features such as being able to get 7 hours' battery life with just 15 minutes of charging.

Here are other specs:

Price: $649 unlocked or $27 / month, available today.

Detu Sphere S: a higher resolution version of the Detu Sphere 800

Detu Sphere S is a higher-resolution version of the Detu Sphere 800 hemispherical 360 camera.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Print your 360 photo on an umbrella

Panorella is a service that lets you print your 360 photo on the underside of an umbrella to give you an immersive 360 view of your masterpiece.

Here is the official livestream for Google's October 4 Pixel / Daydream event

Tomorrow, October 4, 2016 at 9am Pacific Time, Google is expected to announce its new Pixel and Pixel XL phones.  However, in addition, Google is also widely expected to launch Google Daydream, its premium mobile VR platform that will provide "VR for everyone."

You can watch the livestream here:

Bookmark this page and come back here tomorrow for exciting news about Google Daydream!

More info on the Detu Twin 360, a fully spherical 360 camera, PLUS: a sample 360 photo

Last week, I posted about the new Detu Twin 360, a fully spherical 360 camera that is based on the Ricoh Theta's design.  Our friends at the 360 camera comparison site got to visit Detu to take a look at the Detu Twin and they've very kindly shared the info with me.

Update: see below for additional info from sinCera!

Consumer 360 Camera Comparison: Ricoh Theta S vs. Ricoh Theta SC vs. Samsung Gear 360 vs. LG 360 Cam vs. Insta360 Nano

There are an ever-increasing number of 360 cameras, but these four stand out as the best ones for $350 and below:
In this post, I will show photo and video samples from each, and give a bullet point summary of their strengths and weaknesses.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The360Cam is a 360 camera that attaches to Android phones and iPhone

The360Cam is a crowdfunded 360-degree camera that is designed to connect directly to an Android phone or an iPhone.

Insta360 Nano Mount tripod adapter $30 at Amazon

The Insta360 Nano Mount tripod adapter (reviewed here) is now available for pre-order for $30 at Amazon.  It says it's 'out of stock' but you can order now and Amazon will ship it as soon as it becomes available.

If you don't want to wait, it's also available now from a reseller but at a grossly inflated price.

The Nano Mount is a dedicated tripod adapter for the Insta360 Nano (reviewed here), a 360-degree camera for the iPhone.

Hands-on preview of Insta360 Nano Mount tripod adapter

Praying in VR with VR Church Psalms (Samsung Gear VR; Google Cardboard)

VR Church Psalms is a free app for Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR for meditation and prayer.  In this app, you're surrounded by peaceful nature scenes in 3D 360.  You'll see water flowing gently and the breeze blowing through the grass.  You can relax or meditate in this space.  You can also use this app to meditate on the Psalms or to pray.