virtual reality

Big surprise: Facebook is working on VR apps

Big surprise: Facebook is working on VR apps

When Facebook acquired Oculus last year, many were left scratching their heads at the combination. Regardless of what Facebook's intentions were, it made an unspoken promise to leave Oculus alone to do what it does best: develop VR products and experiences. That doesn't mean, however, that Facebook has no plans to capitalize on that purchase itself. Thus it came as a surprise to no one that Chief Product Officer Chris Cox admitted at the Code/Media conference that Facebook is working on some VR apps. The question, of course, is what for.

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Apple awarded patent for iPhone headset ala Gear VR

Apple awarded patent for iPhone headset ala Gear VR

It seems like almost everyone is getting on the VR trend these days. Surprisingly, even Apple seems to be game, or at least considered the possibility. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) just granted Cupertino a patent for a "Head-Mounted Display Apparatus for Retaining a Portable Electronic Device with Display". Or to keep it short, a Samsung Gear VR-like accessory but powered by the iPhone instead. Is Apple now jumping on the virtual reality bandwagon? Probably not yet, but at least the legal groundwork has been established.

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Google’s View-Master: here’s how it works

Google’s View-Master: here’s how it works

Believe it or not, you won't actually need a View-Master to view the content Google is presenting this week. The View-Master device is just a box with a magnetic switch - just like Google Cardboard. To "view" a View-Master reel - like the "reels" you remember from the original View-Master, you'll need only your smartphone. To view these reels correctly, you'll need a Google Cardboard headset - and that doesn't need to be manufactured by Mattel. The View-Master headset just makes everything easier to understand visually.

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Mattel reboots View-Master with Google Cardboard magic

Mattel reboots View-Master with Google Cardboard magic

Google and Mattel have yanked the View-Master into the 21st century, taking the venerable 3D eyepiece and giving it a smartphone spin courtesy of the same tech as in Google Cardboard. Where the original View-Master used a clicking wheel of photos users peered through, taking a three-dimensional trip to foreign countries, wonders of the world, or outer space, the new model relies on a smartphone slotted into the front, and on which "experience reels" of photos and other content can be shown. Best of all, third-party developers and fans of Cardboard will be able to make their own 3D content, which Mattel plans to curate and distribute.

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Panasonic is making its own VR headpiece

Panasonic is making its own VR headpiece

It seems that after smartwatches, VR goggles are slowly becoming the latest tech darling. You are starting to see everyone trying to give their own spin to the gadget, from those that utilize smartphones for display and processing as well as those that don't. Panasonic, who has practically bowed out of the smartphone race, aside from a few mobile devices, is now trying its luck in this space. Its early VR goggles prototype shows a design that is easier to wear than an Oculus Rift but still less stylish than a Samsung Gear VR.

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John Carmack to talk mobile VR at GDC 2015

John Carmack to talk mobile VR at GDC 2015

This morning game developer and Oculus VR CTO announced he'd be attending GDC, the Game Developers Convention, to speak about mobile VR. As it was made clear last year that his full move to Oculus VR was made possible due to the Samsung Gear VR and the promise of a mobile smartphone virtual reality experience, this chat aught to be a real winner. This talk will go by the name "The Dawn of Mobile VR" - and Carmack says this dawn is "close."

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LG G3 Google Cardboard comes for free

LG G3 Google Cardboard comes for free

This week the folks at LG have made clear their intent to jump in on the virtual reality headset world with their own model. This model is based on the Google Cardboard VR headset and will be coming for free to those that purchase the LG G3 in the near future. This unit looks similar to and functions exactly the same as Google Cardboard. This unit goes by the name "VR for G3" and may or may not be available for sale for current owners of the LG G3 as well.

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Mattel’s Google View-Master project set for ToyFair 2015

Mattel’s Google View-Master project set for ToyFair 2015

Invites have just been sent out to the press inviting them to a showing of Google's first team-up project with the toymakers at Mattel. This event will take place on the 14th of February, the first official day of NYC Toy Fair. While Toy Fair will be held by the Toy Industry Association, Inc at the Jacob K Javits Convention Center, this Google / Mattel event will be held off-site - just about 2 miles away, as it were, but still off-site and not officially associated.

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You can now buy the Gear VR from Best Buy, online only

You can now buy the Gear VR from Best Buy, online only

If you've been waiting to get your hands on Samsung's fancy VR headset accessory but aren't a fan of having to buy it through Samsung itself or aren't eligible for AT&T's offer, then your prayers might have just been answered. Somewhat. Now you can try your luck at getting the Gear VR from Best Buy as your last resort. But there's a catch. Don't expect to be able to walk into a Best Buy outlet to grab one, as the headset is still only available online.

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Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

Opportunity abound: walking on Mars virtually with NASA

NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has been rolling around the surface of the red planet for 11 years. To celebrate, the craft has sent back a panorama image viewable by you in full definition right this minute. To get up close and personal with the surface of Mars, NASA has also been collaborating with Microsoft over the past few weeks and months, having an early peek at their new Windows Holographic system with Microsoft HoloLens - making walking on the planet's surface much more of a "real" experience than ever before.

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