Showing posts with label Gadgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gadgets. Show all posts

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The best VR headsets

In the last few months we've seen an explosion of augmented reality and virtual reality headsets. While the technology has been bubbling under for decades, advances in the miniaturisation of components - derived from smartphones - have finally made the mass manufacture of both technologies feasible.
If you're unfamiliar with the terms, augmented reality (AR) refers to devices that project information into your view of the real world. With gaming headsets this could mean blurring the lines between your real surroundings and a digital realm.
Virtual reality (VR) is a more immersive experience in which your head movements are tracked in a three dimensional world, making it suited to games and even movies.
But what are the best VR headsets? We've created the definitive list of the most gob-smackingly awesome devices just waiting to be strapped to your bonce.

Samsung Gear VR

Over in Berlin at IFA 2014 Samsung revealed its venture into the world of virtual reality. The Samsung Gear VR is an Oculus Rift powered device that involves not a PC to plug into but a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 acting as processor and display.
The 2560 x 1440 QHD Super AMOLED display mobile device simply slots in, in front of the lenses, into a Micro USB dock. What you get is a split VR resolution of 1280 x 1440 for each eye. That’s with a 60Hz refresh rate and a 96 degree field of view. There’ll be over 100 apps to go with it at launch and some Bluetooth compatible headsets to complete the total immersion entertainment.

Oculus Rift

Of course, Oculus Rift is the virtual reality headset that started the current trend. Developed by 21-year-old engineer Palmer Luckey and funded via Kickstarter, the Rift plugs into your computer's DVI and USB ports and tracks your head movements to provide 3D imagery to its stereo screens.
It's captured the imagination of game developers around the world, and it can even be used to watch films on a giant – albeit virtual – screen.
Make sure you check out or round up of the best games for Oculus Rift.

Sony Project Morpheus

However, Oculus VR's $2 billion acquisition by Facebook has sparked controversy, so if you're really keen to get into the world of virtual reality you may wish to consider the alternatives. Chief among these is Sony's Project Morpheus, which provides virtual reality immersion for the company's PlayStation 4 console.
Compatible titles are thin on the ground at the moment, but it's a list that's sure to grow once the headset is released.

Carl Zeiss VR One

The big news here is, like the Samsung Gear VR, the hardware power for this headset comes from your smartphone. Unlike Sammy’s effort, however, you’re not tied to just one mobile with the Zeiss VR One; it will play ball with any iOS or Android handset between 4.7 and 5.2 inches.
Launching in December with two basic apps; one a media player for the likes of pictures and YouTube videos, and the second an AR app for augmented experiences, its makers will be hoping that its open source Unity3D SDK (iOS and Android) will provide more.

Avegant Glyph

The majority of these headsets are large and heavy, but Avegant's Glyph is far sleeker and smaller. Its svelte size is due to its display technology: rather than using conventional smartphone-like screens to present imagery, it uses an array of micro mirrors to reflect an image directly into your retina.
It may sound like the stuff of techno-nightmares, but it's said to alleviate the slight nausea that comes with conventional virtual reality headsets, and your peripheral vision is unaffected so you can still see your keyboard.
$499, (early 2015)

Google Cardboard

Not to be outdone, Google has announced its Cardboard virtual reality headset. Popping a smartphone into a cardboard container and then strapping it to your head may sound like a joke, but it actually works and it could become a low-cost way to experience virtual reality.
After all, your smartphone contains all the necessary gyroscopic sensors and positioning systems to accurately track your head movements. Related is Durovis' Dive, which is essentially the same thing made of higher quality and more sweat-resistant materials.

Archos VR Headset

Essentially Google cardboard but, er, not cardboard, Archos' attempt at bringing mobile VR experiences to the masses is a sub-£25 device that was announced in October.
The Archos VR Headset works with any smartphone with a screen sized 6-inches or less, and the French company claims it will work with iOS, Android and Windows Phone - although you'll be hard pressed finding any developers knocking out VR apps and demos for Microsoft's mobile platform.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Google Is Putting $50 Million Toward Getting Girls to Code.

Mindy Kaling and Chelsea Clinton want high school girls to embrace computer science.
The two women were on hand at a Google event in New York City on Thursday called Made With Code.

Made With Code is a new Google initiative to motivate future female programmers. Only 18% of computer science degrees are earned by women, and Google is spending $50 million over the next three years to change those numbers.

More than 150 high school girls turned out for the event, including local chapters of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Black Girls Code and Girls Who Code. Kaling, a writer and actress, emceed the premiere, which brought in Google X Vice President Megan Smith, Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, iLuminate creator Miral Kotb, Pixar Director of Photography Danielle Feinberg and UNICEF Innovation cofounder Erica Kochi.

Feinberg, who has worked on films like Brave, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc., spoke with the group about her early experiences with coding and how it has shaped her career. She also emphasized the importance of exposing girls to how fun coding can be.

"This is something that's so important to me that I'm happy to do anything that they want me to do and be as involved as possible," she told Mashable. "I think it's much easier to connect with when you can see it and you can hear it and get all the senses involved."

Smith spoke about why she spearheaded the campaign to get girls into coding. She took a coding class in high school, but described it as boring. Her goal for Made With Code is to show girls that figuring out coding can be challenging but rewarding: "We invited you guys because we wanted to share the incredible world that we live in every day."

After each speaker shared her personal experiences with coding, Swedish house music duo Icona Pop gave a private performance. iLuminate's robotic dancers, wearing light-up suits, also performed, giving viewers a live example of how coding and dance can be combined.

Girls then had the opportunity to peruse multiple demonstrations of coding in action, ranging from the practical to the simply fun. Demos included programming — and trying on — virtual dresses, designing 3D-printable bracelets and creating a dancing avatar.

One attendee was Brittany Wenger, 19, who won the 2012 Google Science Fair for her app that accurately diagnoses breast cancer and is also minimally invasive.

"I was the only girl in my high school computer science class," Wenger told Mashable. "My teacher was a female, so it was great to be able to look up to her ... I just wish everybody had that same experience."

Made With Code isn't a one-time event. The website links girls seeking encouragement to coding meet-ups in their area. Google Helpouts also makes tutorials explaining coding concepts.

As part of the event, girls were able to design custom 3D-printed bracelets, courtesy of Shapeways, a NYC-based 3D printing marketplace and community.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Take a Glimpse at LG's Upcoming Smartwatch

Mere months after the launch of its first Android Wear device, the LG G Watch, LG will release a new smartwatch, this time with a circular face.

The new wearable has been announced via an official video teaser, which reveals very little, besides the new device's round shape (as opposed to LG G Watch, which has a square face).

The teaser does, however, reveal that the device will be officially unveiled at IFA 2014, which takes place from Sept. 5-10 in Berlin.

The fall is shaping up to be pretty big for smartwatches. We'll likely see plenty more wearables at IFA this year, and Apple might launch a wearable of its own at its Sept. 9 event.

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