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The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff

VR in Healthcare for reducing anxiety of patients with Access Med

I’ve been contacted by Sam of Access Sports, a medical facility in New Hampshire (U.S.) that is experimenting with virtual reality. Virtual reality is going to perform a great impact in healthcare: I’ve read articles on patients using virtual reality as an alternative to anesthetics during surgical operations (if you wonder how this is possible: well, properly crafted VR experiences can induce a state very similar to hypnosis, so the brain will be told to ignore all pain stimuli from the body); articles on people that have returned to walk thanks to a rehabilitative VR experience; articles on training applications for medics and surgeons using VR (well, me too have been part in a project for medical training in AR). Today I’ve learnt something new, because Access uses VR to releave anxiety in patients before medical treatments.

Copy and pasting pretending that the following ones are my real words, this is what they do. Continue reading “VR in Healthcare for reducing anxiety of patients with Access Med”

Guided Meditation VR review: relax in virtual reality

Some times ago, I made an interview with a great team working on a relaxation app for virtual reality: Just Relax. Today, I’ve been able to actively try another relaxation tool for VR: Guided Meditation VR. Guided Meditation VR is one of the demos that I loved the most at DK2 times (the good old times of Oculus Share, when VR was so pure, do you remember that?) and so when Cubicle Ninja guys gave me a free key I was so happy!

guided meditation virtual reality oculus
Guided Meditation at good ol’ DK2 times… graphics was quite good, but not awesome… and doing screenshots resulted in that deformed images. How many memories!

After having installed it, I launched it… ready to feel relaxed.

Initial menus were a bit too fast (not so coherent with the relaxation theme) and were strangely controllable only using left hand (don’t know if this happened only to me or if it is a design choice… but I didn’t manage to change this in any way). Continue reading “Guided Meditation VR review: relax in virtual reality”

How to use Riftcat VRIdge with Kinects: ImmotionRoom Iridge server

A lot of time ago I described you how cool is VRIdge, the solution that makes you play SteamVR games using a cheap Cardboard or GearVR headset. I love VRidge, not only because it allows people to lower the entry point for playing VR experiences (a Cardboard is surely cheaper than a Vive), but also because it is made by very kind people (I’ve interacted with them and I can assure you that these Polish guys&girls are really fantastic).

Some times ago I wrote a tutorial on how to use VRIdge with Kinect and it got its success. Reason is that of course Cardboads can’t offer the positional tracking owned by Vive, so VRIdge users can supply it with other sensors, like Kinects for instance. Tutorial highlighted some issues in this process, since it required some dev skills (one of the required program doesn’t work on standalone, but needs to be run inside Eclipse!) and it used very rough programs. Since we at Immotionar work with Kinect and VR from almost three years, me and Gianni asked ourselves: why can’t we fix this issue? And we did it.

kinect v1 htc vive vr
Me, doing funny things with a 3-kinects setup

Now you can use VRIdge with Kinect using ImmotionRoom solution, in particular using its Iridge server. What are advantages of this solution? Continue reading “How to use Riftcat VRIdge with Kinects: ImmotionRoom Iridge server”

How to make WebVR work with Chromium and Oculus + Google WebVR experiments review

WebVR is a technology that will have a bright future, we all know it. Since it gives the ability to develop VR applications once and then make them available for every kind of headsets, it is a powerful framework. This is why I covered WebVR various times in my blog, like when I talked about Rodin, a framework to make WebVR development easier.

But I’ve also complained because I couldn’t manage to make it work. I’ve never been able to try a WebVR demo with my Rift… until today.

To try WebVR with Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, the community advices to use Firefox Nightly (Firefox version that includes continuous updates, even not-so-stable ones) or Chromium (the opensource version of Chrome). What I’ve obtained until today was that these two browsers recognized the headset, but they never offered me the ability to see the content inside VR (only rotational data was detected, so I could see the images following my head on the computer screen, but inside the headset everything was black).

WebVR Chromium oculus rift touch setup
Chromium logo: is like Chrome one, but more sad

Luckily a reddit user told me how to fix this issue with Chromium and so I’m going to tell you the secret. I don’t remember his username, but, whoever you are, unknown hero, I wish you the best! Continue reading “How to make WebVR work with Chromium and Oculus + Google WebVR experiments review”

VR mega update: Facebook Spaces, Facebook AR, Google Earth & Microsoft Headsets

After Easter weekend, we were all relaxed, digesting all chocolate eggs we have eaten. When, suddenly, Tuesday came and gave us a hard wake up with a bazillion of virtual reality news! Here you are a small digest if you missed something!

Facebook Spaces

At F8 conference, Facebook has announced Spaces, its social VR environment.

So, what is Spaces? Spaces is that cool application that Facebook showcased at Oculus Connect 3 …the one we believed it was pure fluff.

Well, it seems that it is not fluff… since now it has been released! With Spaces you will be able to cartoonize yourself and then meet all your friends in VR! Continue reading “VR mega update: Facebook Spaces, Facebook AR, Google Earth & Microsoft Headsets”

Gorillaz’s Saturnz Barz 360 music video review

Some days ago I read an article on RoadToVR about Gorillaz’s latest video: Saturnz Barz (Spirit House). But why one of the most important sources of information about virtual reality has talked about a song? Well, because it is the 360 videos making the most views at his debut on Youtube.

Youtube 360 video view Saturnz Barz music
Stats about Saturnz Barz views, compared with other 360-videos on Youtube. As you can see, they outperformed all the others (Image by Youtube, taken on Road To VR)

I got curious about this, so I decided to give a look to this video using DeoVR. And well, my impressions are pretty mixed.
Continue reading “Gorillaz’s Saturnz Barz 360 music video review”

Happy (virtual reality) Easter everyone!

I wish all of you, my amazing readers, to have a marvelous Easter with all your family and friends! If in your culture you don’t celebrate Easter, well, I wish you a fantastic April the 16th to live with all people you like the most.

Here we celebrate Easter opening chocolate eggs and eating lots of chocolate and tipical Easter cakes (like “Colomba”)… in a few days I’ll surely be 10kg heavier than now… but I’ll keep writing articles about virtual reality for sure!

Again, happy holiday! Hope you’ll like the photomontage I did 😀

How to play Cardboard apps with Gear VR

A little article to talk to you about a small trick that may be useful in your virtual reality innovator’s life. You have a Gear VR and you have a Cardboard (no, I’m not making something like Pikotaro…) and suddenly you start wondering: why can’t I use my Gear VR as a Cardboard? Gear VR is super-comfortable, super resistant and has an awesome design… so why should I use a crappy card headset to live Cardboard experiences? You’re right… why?

The answer is: you have not. Since a Cardboard is just a hmd with two lenses, Gear VR is like a deluxe Cardboard. But there is a big problem: once you put your phone inside the headset, Oculus runtime detects that you have connected a Samsung Gear VR and launches Oculus Home and all other Oculus stuff. There’s no way to escape from that: with my Gear VR Innovator Editor there was still the possibility to put the phone so that the hmd plug didn’t enter completely inside the phone USB-C port, so that Oculus runtime wasn’t triggered (but you had high chances of your phone detaching from the headset and falling to the ground), but with new Gear VR versions this is not possible anymore. So how to do that? Continue reading “How to play Cardboard apps with Gear VR”

Issues (and advices) in shooting VR-videos and 360-videos

As a shower thought of the day, I was thinking about 360-videos. We all love them, especially if they’re 3D and if they tell an interesting story (like Ashes To Ashes does). There’s a reason if “storytelling” is one of the buzzwords of VR ecosystem: virtual reality is a great medium to create empathy, to create strong feelings by living stories. And 360-videos are a good medium for offering high-quality storytelling.

But shooting 360 videos has lots of issues and here I want to highlight some of them.

Hardware

How to shoot this kind of videos? There are various means, but the most popular are:

  • 360-cameras: for €249 you can afford buying a Samsung Gear 360 (2017 edition), which can record 360-videos up to 4K in resolution! Really cool. But… these videos will not be 3D, meaning that you will see the videos as projected on a sphere around you, you won’t get the sense of depth of the objects contained in it;
  • 2+ GoPro: as PornFoxVR guy told me, with 2 GoPro cameras and some post-processing you can record a 3D video with a 180° FOV. Incrementing the number of GoPros and using dedicated programs, you can shoot 3D videos with a bigger field of view. This solution is more expensive than the previous one, but can offer 3D imagery that in my opinion makes the video more real, more VR (some people argue that 360-videos are not true VR);
  • Professional VR cameras: professional spheres full of cameras that record a 360-video in 3D. These are the devices used by Jaunt or by other professional companies. Nokia sells a camera of this type for $45.000, so we’re talking about professional stuff;
Nokia 360 camera professional
Nokia OZO Camera, that can record 360-3D-videos and 360-audio with amazing quality. But it ain’t cheap (Image by Nokia)

Continue reading “Issues (and advices) in shooting VR-videos and 360-videos”

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