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The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff

Month

March 2017

Palmer Luckey departs from Facebook, goodbye man

When I arrived in the office today, my buddy Gianni told me as first thing: “Have you read about Palmer Luckey? He’s just quitted from facebook!“. Yesterday I had no time to check VR news sites, so no, I didn’t know that and so yes, I was enormously shocked. I hoped that today was April the 1st, but this was not an April’s fool. It’s real. He’s gone.

Everyone is reporting this memorable Facebook statement about this departure, so I’m doing the same here

Palmer will be dearly missed. Palmer’s legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We’re thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.

The translation is

Palmer doesn’t work for facebook anymore. We don’t care, but we pretend to do.

I admit I’m very sad. I’m very sad even more because a bit I recognize myself in him. Well, less rich, less famous, less successful, less lucky… but as a VR startupper I feel his pain. Continue reading “Palmer Luckey departs from Facebook, goodbye man”

How to use Vive Trackers without Vive headset

Some days ago, I gained lots of karma points on reddit sharing an interesting UploadVR article that talked about the need to have a Vive headset in order to use Vive Trackers. The article (that you can find here) reports that, to a question asking if it was possible to use the Trackers without a headset,

A member of the Vive staff replied: “Not at this time, you do need to have the HMD to use the tracker or the controllers normally.” We’ve reached out to HTC to confirm this is indeed the case.

Lots of people complained about this, while lots of others answered on reddit “it’s obvious. What’s the purpose of having a Vive tracker without a Vive headset?”. The question has sense, because if you want to use Vive Trackers, most probably you want to do something with SteamVR tracking and a Vive headset… so this is a non-issue. But, but… Vive Trackers is a completely open tracking ecosystem, and when you create an open ecosystem, you have to think that people could use it to do lots of unthinkable stuff. Continue reading “How to use Vive Trackers without Vive headset”

Freedom Locomotion System Review

I finally had the chance to try the super-praised Freedom Locomotion System by ZapTruder (or Huge Robot, as you prefer). Freedom Locomotion System is this new locomotion method invented by this Japanese guy, that works this way:

  • You stand in the VR experience (so, you’re not seated);
  • You use the VR controller that you hold in your hand to decide the direction you want to go. You do not decide this by pointing the controller, but by pointing simply a thumbstick on the controller with your thumb;
  • You walk in place to walk in virtual reality towards the direction that you specified at the previous point. The faster you walk-in-place, the faster you move in virtual reality.

Continue reading “Freedom Locomotion System Review”

The greatest problem of Social VR is friction, not adoption

Today I was reading an UploadVR article about social VR: the article showcased how social VR will be enormous (with Facebook and others investing lots of money into it) but it has a present problem called adoption. I agree with everything inside that article (I’ve in this blog various articles that say that social VR is cool, like this one): social VR will be enormous and super-important (let’s all think how it will be cool to meet in VR with our far away grandpa or how it will be cool cooperating with teamworkers that are on the opposite side of the planet); but currently it has a clear adoption problem, meaning that very few people have VR devices, so we can’t meet with our friends in VR: many of my friends do not own a VR headset (some of them do not even know what VR is), so having a social VR ecosystem is very difficult. It will need time, they say: when we’ll all have VR devices, social VR will be huge, will be fantastic.

An example of AltspaceVR environment and avatars (image from AltspaceVR Inc.)
An example of AltspaceVR environment and avatars (image from AltspaceVR Inc.)

And I agree. Or maybe not. After reading the article I had a “ehm, no” feeling. In my opinion, social VR will be great, but it will not be enormous. I mean, it will be like Skype (and Skype is a service we all use) but it will not be like Facebook. And the reason is friction. Continue reading “The greatest problem of Social VR is friction, not adoption”

Ashes To Ashes (VR short movie) review

Today I’ve seen a short VR movie: Ashes To Ashes. It is a movie made for VR by Dutch studio Submarine Channel, which has already won a gold prize at Dutch VR Awards. The video is accessible for free inside Jaunt App on lots of VR platforms (Oculus, Vive, etc..) .

The creators define it “a surreal tragicomedy in virtual reality about a dysfunctional family burdened with the bizarre final wish of their deceased grandfather”. Said shortly: a complete WTF in virtual reality 😀

The experience begins with the user immersed into water, like at the bottom of the sea (you’ll understand the sense of it at the end of the movie), with a girl looking at him from above the surface. I liked a lot this first scene because it grabs immediately the attention. It is super-original and makes you curious about the plot of the movie.

ashes to ashes vr movie review
The movie begins this way, with a little girl looking at you from above the surface… and the water waves distorting the visual of her face

Continue reading “Ashes To Ashes (VR short movie) review”

A talk about advertisement in virtual reality with Get Virtual

Some times ago I got in touch with Get Virtual founder Michael Rapoport and we had the opportunity to talk a bit about virtual reality advertisement.

get virtual logo virtual reality advertisement
Get Virtual logo

Advertisement. Yes, that thing on which some of the most powerful IT companies make all their business: think about Google, or Facebook for instance. They all make bazillions of dollars thanks to smart advertisement. Internet has been one of the key revolutions in the computer science history, something that has revolutioned completely our life. The following revolution, lead by smartphones, has made possible the connectivity in every moment and in every place, making possible the social revolution. All these revolutions have been completely interconnected with sales and so with advertisement: now, wherever you are, you can see a targeted ad and buy something that you just discovered you love from a shop that is on the other side of the world. Virtual reality and augmented reality will lead the next computing revolution and we’re asking ourselves: how advertisement will be on those platform?

I’ve tried talking with it making some questions to Michael, which has founded Get Virtual, a company in Florida focused on virtual reality advertisement. Here you are the questions I’ve made him, with his answers and some comments by me in the end. Continue reading “A talk about advertisement in virtual reality with Get Virtual”

Just Relax (relaxation GearVR app) inter-review

I’ve been contacted by Paul, of Mostly Human Studios, to try his virtual reality relaxation tool: Just Relax. I was happy, because I’m super-stressed due to my startup life, so I just wanted to relax a bit. With DK2 I was a huge fan of Guided Meditation, so I was eager to try its app. But life is a b**ch and his app is not compatible with my phone (I’ve a Note 4 and the first GearVR… I feel so old) so I’ve not been able to try it.

So goodbye to my idea of a review and welcome to the idea of an interview. So I made Paul some questions about the Just Relax relaxation app and his experience in developing it. I found his answers very interesting… in a sense I’m more happy with this article than with a review 🙂 Continue reading “Just Relax (relaxation GearVR app) inter-review”

Sketchup Viewer for HoloLens review

Today I felt super-rich. It has been like the moment when I had the opportunity to take a lap inside a wonderful red Ferrari car thanks to EIA accelerator. I felt rich for some minutes and I looked at the other super-poor people envying me, like Paris Hilton looks at us standard people… and then after 3 minutes I was again Tony, the average poor guy :(. Today’s richness was due to the fact that I’ve been able to try Sketchup Viewer for HoloLens. Marketplace cost $1499,99.

I spent $0, of course. Thanks to epic university teacher Andrea Bottino (of Politechnic of Turin) and his right-wing Francesco Strada, I had a chance to try it and feel like Uncle Scrooge for some minutes. In ten minutes I’ve tried a $1500 app on a $3000 device: I’m like a gold-digger.

Anyway, I’m here to write my impressions about it. Continue reading “Sketchup Viewer for HoloLens review”

WebVR will be huge, but nowadays has some compatibility issues

Today I decided to try a website supporting WebVR with my PC and Oculus Rift. I was happy because I was to experiment the future: finally I could experience the ability to try some virtual reality content without passing through any hub (like Oculus Home), just going with my browser on a website. I was excited.

This is the feature that makes WebVR so awesome. WebVR means two things:

  • No need to install any particular app on the device;
  • No need to worry about the platform: the same WebVR app can run on PC (e.g. Oculus Rift) and on Android (e.g. Cardboard), without further modifications.

Continue reading “WebVR will be huge, but nowadays has some compatibility issues”

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