virtual reality

Rise of the VR-ready Backpack PC: Aorus, HP, MSI, ZOTAC

Rise of the VR-ready Backpack PC: Aorus, HP, MSI, ZOTAC

This week both HP and MSI have revealed Backback PCs - computers that act like desktops but fit on your back, preparing you for a full-range, untethered VR experience. It would seem at first as though they would be leading the way - most average citizens have never seen a Backpack PC before, right? But that's just not true - at least three different groups have made the Backpack PC a real, working model before now - but only now are we truly starting to reach a first stride.

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HTC to show off their first VR game for the Vive

HTC to show off their first VR game for the Vive

We've heard a lot about Oculus's approach to their first-party games lately. However, we haven't really heard anything from HTC about developing their own games. Since they've partnered with Valve, I'd assumed that they were leaving the first-party game development to them. However, it turns out that HTC is indeed working on their own game for the Vive.

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HTC Vive’s front-facing camera just got more useful

HTC Vive’s front-facing camera just got more useful

One thing that I love about using my HTC Vive is the front-facing camera. It might seem like a strange feature to get excited about, but when your eyes are completely covered, having a camera in front of them really helps. You can actually turn on a special mode that allows you to see a rough outline of everything around you, at certain times. This is great for grabbing a drink or a snack, without having to take off the headset.

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VR goes portable with MSI’s new backpack computer

VR goes portable with MSI’s new backpack computer

Good news, everyone! Now there's a way to finally enjoy virtual reality while one the go! No, I'm not talking about Samsung's phone-based Gear VR, or even using a headset in a really wide, open space — like a warehouse. I mean using a high-end headset, like the Rift or Vive, while it's still tethered to a powerful PC. How is this possible? MSI has a simple solution: just strap the rig to your back!

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Samsung has a 5.5-inch 4K display for VR in the works

Samsung has a 5.5-inch 4K display for VR in the works

We're still just coming to grips with the long awaited commercialization of virtual reality technology and Samsung, unsurprisingly, is already trying to push the boundaries of technology and wallets. Although it will insist it's still in the prototyping stage, Samsung showed off at the Display Week conference in San Francisco a display designed for virtual reality and boasting of a 3840x2160 4K resolution. The screen's size is 5.5 inches, which is pretty much smartphone size. Almost ironically, Samsung might have found a use for the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium's 4K screen as well.

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Samsung might have a gamepad for the Gear VR coming soon

Samsung might have a gamepad for the Gear VR coming soon

As fancy and entertaining virtual reality might sound, it has a few shortcomings, primary among which is input. VR delivers an illusion of a different kind of reality, but that illusion breaks down when you start having to manipulate things. Systems like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive use an approximation of our hands via control sticks. The Samsung Gear VR, however, isn't as lucky. Unless you want to always feel like Cyclops touching your visor repeatedly, you will eventually end up reaching out for a gamepad. Luckily, it seems that Samsung might have made especially for the Gear VR.

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Forget room-scale VR, warehouse-scale is now possible

Forget room-scale VR, warehouse-scale is now possible

One of the reasons why I love my HTC Vive is because it allows me to move around the room. Otherwise, just standing around in the same spot tends to break my immersion. Of course, you're still limited to around 15 square feet of movement. But what if you want to roam around a much, much larger room? One company is working on just that.

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You can create a 3D avatar for the Ready Player One film

You can create a 3D avatar for the Ready Player One film

Have you ever wanted to be in a movie? Most of us will never see ourselves on the big screen, especially those of us with little or no real acting talent. However, if you have a bit of 3D modeling talent, you might just get to see your creation featured in an upcoming film.

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Oculus DRM backfires, Revive now lets you pirate games, too

Oculus DRM backfires, Revive now lets you pirate games, too

Friday, I talked at length about how Oculus seemed to be shooting themselves in the foot. This was largely in response to a new update for the Rift that included some particularly annoying DRM. This DRM checks to see if you have an Oculus Rift physically attached to your computer, and if it doesn't it prevents you from opening the game. Only a few days have passed, and their hard work has already been undone.

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Facebook acquires TBE, makes VR audio apps free

Facebook acquires TBE, makes VR audio apps free

Two Big Ears has been acquired by Facebook, making the entire "Spacial Workstation" for Cinematic VR and 360 audio free for all users. Facebook has made this software suite part of their own, offering the public a download which includes tools for three audio apps as well as their Facebook 360 encoder app and stand-alone video player. While Facebook has yet to release a VR video editor, this gets them a whole lot closer.

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OnePlus 3 to be released in VR, thousands of VR viewers given for event

OnePlus 3 to be released in VR, thousands of VR viewers given for event

This week the OnePlus 3 is being teased by the folks at OnePlus, a group that previously gave away thousands of "Cardboard" viewers with Google's spec. Now they're bringing the idea back, giving away thousands of an accessory they call the Loop VR. They've also gone so far as to show the OnePlus 3 off in the video by sliding it in to the headset. You won't get any additional specs here, unfortunately.

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Android starts to Tango as iPhone potential wanes

Android starts to Tango as iPhone potential wanes

While Apple's next iPhone seems to show little potential for great change, Google announces Android software integration with one of their most forward-thinking projects ever: Tango. Apple has built a massive consumer following with the idea that their iPhone is reliable, secure, and ubiquitous - unavoidably present in the public eye. Google, on the other hand, creates the software that manufacturers of all sorts then use to create their own, unique smartphones. This week, Google announced that they'd be adding Tango software to the next version of Android. This could change the public's expectations for a great smartphone entirely.

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