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The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff

Considerations about using HoloLens (or any other AR glass) inside an exhibition

In a previous post I highlighted the problems that current generation of augmented reality headsets have (if you haven’t read it, read it!). Today I want to show you the problems that can happen while showcasing an augmented reality application in an exhibition or such.

On Friday I went to Novara to test a project I’ve been doing with Politechnic of Turin professor Andrea Bottino (and his right wing Francesco Strada) involving the use of HoloLens for medical applications. Purpose of the test was to make doctors to try our solution and make them express feedback. No-one of them had ever tried HoloLens and some of them had even no idea about what HoloLens were… so they were the ideal people to test our super-nerd stuff.

Feedback about our solution has been great, but this is not the topic of this post… (but a good reason to be happy)

Accurate representation of me after Friday demo (Image by KnowYourMeme)

Here I want to talk you about problems I had during the test… and how I tried to address them. It has been the first time that I’ve used HoloLens inside a public showcase with non-technical people, so I think it’s interesting to tell you all the problems I had. Continue reading “Considerations about using HoloLens (or any other AR glass) inside an exhibition”

In.Block review: a nice 3D prototyping app for Oculus

In this period, an idea popped into my mind: why can’t I develop an app for fast 3d prototyping in VR? I know that there are cool drawing apps like Oculus Medium or Quill, with which awesome products have been made (fantastic Dear Angelica experience has all been made with Quill), but I wanted something really simple, really fast. Something like the Paint 3D of VR, with just cubes to sketch things in VR. As always happens when I have a great idea… well, it already exists.

The app is called In.Block and has been made by Run Dot Games. You can download it for free on the Oculus Store.

It is exactly as I thought it should be: a simple environment within VR, where using your Oculus Touch you can paint mega-voxels in space. Voxels can be of different colors and size. Stop. This is the simple concept of the app: draw cubes with your hands.

Continue reading “In.Block review: a nice 3D prototyping app for Oculus”

Transported review: visit the house of rich people in VR

Transported is a nice app on Oculus store that lets you take tours of awesome houses from all over the world. This has two purposes:

  • If you’re rich, you can take a tour of the house from wherever you are in the world and then decide if buying it.
  • If you’re poor, you can see how is it living in a big house and then cry in a corner. I belong to this group, of course.
Transported VR rich houses tour
Look at all these rich people stuff I’ll never have in my life!

Obviously the target of this app is the first category of people: buying a house is a very complicated process and you have to visit lots of houses to decide which one is the best one and this makes you lose a lot of time. I’ve friends that have just gone through all this process (not for millions-worth houses, unluckily) and this is just a nuisance. So, why don’t make all this better doing the tours in virtual reality? This is surely the idea that got the guys of Transported… an idea that is surely interesting. I’m sure that no virtual tour can substitute at the moment the action of going inside a house and feel how it is from the inside, but virtually one could go even to 100 houses in few time and then going actually in real life only to the 2-3 ones that seemed the most interesting. Continue reading “Transported review: visit the house of rich people in VR”

Ghost in The Shell VR experience review: I expected something better

I just tried Ghost in The Shell VR review on The Oculus Store. And I admit I’m a bit disappointed.

I’m not a huge fan of Ghost In The Shell (not because I don’t like it, but because I barely know what is it), but since I’ve friends fond of it and because this movie is having lots of attention by the media, I was very curious about its VR experience that was available on the Oculus Store. After having seen it, I can say that I liked it a bit… but I expected something more.

First of all, you have to know that there is not Scarlett Johansson in this experience. This is the first turndown: my dream was being next to her, at least in VR… but even this has been ruined. FFFFFF. So, if I had to give a score for this experience, I would start from -10 just because of this big issue :D.

In the experience (that is not a 360-video, it is a Computer Graphics VR short movie) you start on a skyscraper of a futuristic town and then you move forward until you reach the main character (the girl who is not Scarlett Johansson). Here you notice one of the problems of this experience, that you will feel all the time: motion sickness. Every scene makes you move forward and this is surely not comfortable, at least for newbie users. There is a reason why Ghost In The Shell has been flagged as “moderate” comfort on the Oculus Store. Continue reading “Ghost in The Shell VR experience review: I expected something better”

Make WebVR development easy with Rodin

As a response to my article about my sad experience with WebVR, I got in touch with some guys working on a interesting framework to make WebVR development easy. After some email exchange, I thought it was a good idea to talk about their product, that is called Rodin.

What is Rodin? Well, they say that:

We’re making it ridiculously easy to build and deploy powerful VR
experiences. Create experiences for multiple platforms with a single codebase and reach your audience no matter their device (from web to oculus)

Woah, “ridiculously easy” is pure marketing juice, I love it. 😀 😀

Anyway, let’s return serious. These guys were the founders of a studio (Knoxlabs) that was making VR experiences for lots of companies, even big ones. In the end, as always happens when you develop lots of similar applications, they started creating their own libraries, their own shortcuts… and in the end they had a little engine. So they envisioned the possibility to stop focusing on selling content and to begin investing in an engine that would let the developers to develop VR application faster and better. Continue reading “Make WebVR development easy with Rodin”

Vive 3 announced, includes full cat body tracking, preorders from April 31st

I was looking on my laptop for some chinese TV Channel to strengthen my Chinese language competencies, when I stumbled on a HTC press conference. They started talking about VR, so helping myself with Chinese subtitles and with Line dictionary, I tried to do my best to understand. And it has been the most important moment of my blogger life: on this Taiwanese channel, they revealed the Vive 3. I’m sorry if I’m not able to report all the news, but I’ve got the keypoints.

Vive 3 is the new model of HTC Vive. They skipped the 2 version because the new headset will be paired with the upcoming game Half Life 3, which will be a game full focused on VR. So 3 is the magic number for VR now. Continue reading “Vive 3 announced, includes full cat body tracking, preorders from April 31st”

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”

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