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The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff

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vr

Unity CEO John Riccitiello says that VR will become mainstream in 2019… and I agree

At VRLA Unity CEO John Riccitiello expressed his opinion about virtual reality market in the future… he has been very realistic and so I loved what he said.

The reason for so much love is that he showcased a cold analysis on the VR market, based on his expertise and the numbers owned by Unity, which is one of the most important solution for VR experiences development.

So, finally an analysis not driven by what we want, what we’d like to happen and by what we see in our biased surroundings. Because yes, let’s be honest: we see virtual reality everywhere just because we are a lot involved in the VR ecosystem: reading reddit posts or my twitter feed, it seems that VR is everywhere, while all my friends here own a smartphone but do not have a virtual reality headset. And a good number of them do not even want one. Continue reading “Unity CEO John Riccitiello says that VR will become mainstream in 2019… and I agree”

Is virtual reality (Oculus, Vive, etc…) safe for kids?

In the last times, I found myself arguing a bit on online communities with people sharing videos of their babies wearing Vive or Oculus headsets and having funny reactions. While the videos are surely amusing, I’m worried about little kids using VR and I often comment that… and usually people answer me that there’s no problem in children using virtual reality. In fact, out there there are virtual reality headsets especially crafted for children (like the Mattel View Master of the header image).

At the good old Oculus DK2 times, we all remember the first HEALTH & SAFETY warning stating that the device should not be used by kids under 7yo. That age was risen in 2014 to 13yo: this decision was interpreted by me as a move by Oculus to play ultra-safely. Even now, Oculus says that kids under 13 years old should not play VR. Vive and PSVR come with similar warnings (12-13yo age limit). But people seem not to care about these warnings and continue saying that there are no practical and proven reasons for this limit.

Oculus health and safety warning kids
The good ol’ health and safety warning (Image from Oculus Forums)

Well, actually, there are. And I’m going to briefly list them here. Continue reading “Is virtual reality (Oculus, Vive, etc…) safe for kids?”

Oculus, USB 3.1 and blue screen of death loop (thread exception not handled)

In these days I’ve completely formatted my VR PC. The reason? A damn blue screen of death loop.

My friend Max was playing with Robo Recall and having a lot of fun. Then suddenly he started having some audio issues, so after a while I decided to restart my PC. Well, blue screen of death. F*ck.

Oculus BSOD system thread exception not handled
Oh, f*ck (Image from Oculus forums)

Continue reading “Oculus, USB 3.1 and blue screen of death loop (thread exception not handled)”

Immotionar post mortem: what errors we made in our VR startup and how to avoid them for yours

In my last post I told you that my startup has just shut down. If you don’t know it, its name was Immotionar: our purpose was to offer full body virtual reality to every kind of headsets, mixing VR HMD with body tracking sensors like Microsoft Kinects. An innovative product, that has failed nonetheless.

With today’s post I want to highlight some errors we made, so that you can avoid them in your startup journey (if you plan in becoming an entrepreneur).

So, this is a list of the main keypoints I want to higlight. Continue reading “Immotionar post mortem: what errors we made in our VR startup and how to avoid them for yours”

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”

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”

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