The major technology companies may be going head to head as they try to sell their virtual reality products, but they're teaming up to create a new organization surrounding the new entertainment frontier. The newly formed Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA) is tech's attempt to create some uniformity around its virtual ventures and to "unlock and maximize VR's potential." Founding companies behind the organization include Google, HTC, Oculus, Samsung, Sony and Acer. There's not much by way of details of what the group is planning to do or what its overall purpose is other than giving the biggest players in VR a unified voice in addressing the growth of the medium. "The association wants to get ahead of challenges with developing and deploying the technology responsibly," the organization said on its website.
NEW YORK--Virtual reality has a new entry-level competitor: a fabric-covered headset from Google that will compete with the mid-market 99 Samsung VR. Daydream View is a 79 mobile virtual reality headset -- with notably, a VR motion controller that is normally in the domain of more expensive VR gear -- that will be compatible with the Google's just-announced Pixel smartphones and eventually other Daydream-certified handsets. Google first announced its Daydream VR platform at its I/O conference last May. Preorders for Daydream View start later this month, with the product slated to ship in early November. It will be available in slate gray, crimson or snow colors.
While ASUS's ZenFone AR might have been leaked days early, it's nonetheless a phone that's trying to drag us into the future -- whether that's virtual reality or augmented reality. ASUS says its ZenFone AR will be compatible with both Google's Daydream VR platform as well as Google's Tango augmented reality tech. While this is the first smartphone capable of both VR and AR, it's also only the second-ever Tango-compatible Android handset. Even when it comes to Daydream, the phone joins a small group of devices that are compatible with Google's VR platform. The phone itself is pretty unassuming, with a large camera module that looks like something from Nokia's now-gone Lumia smartphone series.
As Facebook users around the world are coming to understand, some of their favorite technologies can be used against them. People's filter bubbles are filled with carefully tailored information – and misinformation – altering their behavior and thinking, and even their votes. People, both individually and as a society at large, are wrestling to understand how their newsfeeds turned against them. They are coming to realize exactly how carefully controlled Facebook feeds are, with highly tailored ads. That set of problems, though, pales in comparison to those posed by the next technological revolution, which is already underway: virtual reality.
The destruction of 1,500-year-old Buddhist statues at the hands of the Taliban in 2001 has sparked a virtual reality conservation project that now has the backing of Google. The Open Heritage project aims to recreate historical monuments around the world in virtual reality in order to digitally preserve landmarks in the event they're destroyed by war, natural disaster or gradual erosion. Initially started by the non-profit CyArk, the project received support from Google Arts & Culture to bring the collections of heritage sites online. "With modern technology, we can capture these monuments in fuller detail than ever before, including the colour and texture of surfaces and the geometry captured by laser scanners with millimeter precision in 3D," Chance Coughenour, program manager of Google Arts & Culture, said in a blogpost. "These detailed scans can also be used to identify areas of damage and assist restoration efforts."