AltspaceVR Holding Open Beta This Weekend For Virtual Superbowl Party

AltspaceVR is hosting another open beta weekend, and they want you to bring the chips and dip this time for a shared viewing of Super Bowl XLIX. Whether you're rooting for the Patriots or the Seahawks, you're sure to have a great time hobnobbing while watching on the largest screen playing the big game in virtual reality. … Read the full article …

‘Design Your Own Cardboard’ Tool from DODOcase Lets You Create Custom Cardboard

Wearing a brown cardboard box on your face is so 2014. So for the new year, DODOcase's popular VR smartphone adapter (inspired by Google Cardboard) is getting a splash of color with the help of their new customization tool, letting you drag and drop your own designs and images to make something truly unique—if you only want just one copy, that is. … Read the full article …

Rothenberg Ventures ‘River’ VR Accelerator Ups Ante to $1.3 Million, Announces Seed Investments in 13 Startups

Last month, Rothenberg Ventures launched 'River', an accelerator through which they committed to investing $100,000 in 10 seed-stage virtual reality startups. Today the company has announced that its decided to bump the inaugural class count up to 13, totalling $1.3 million of investment in the VR ecosystem. Companies joining River hail from countries across the globe, including FOVE, from Japan, a company working on a VR headset capable of eye tracking. … Read the full article …

Preview: Virtuix Omni VR Treadmill Production Model (video)

I've been fortunate to try the Virtuix Omni VR treadmill several times over the course of its development. At every point though, I was testing some variation of the original prototype seen in the company's highly successful Kickstarter campaign. That is until now—at CES 2015, Virtuix revealed the production version of the Omni, and I got to take it for a stroll (and sprint). … Read the full article …

Sign of the Times: Oculus Rift Makes a Cameo on NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation’

Before consumer virtual reality reaches any sort of widespread adoption, it must first begin to work its way into the public consciousness. To that end, we've spotted the Oculus Rift, one of the leading VR headsets destined for the consumer market, on NBC's popular comedy series Parks and Recreation. Its portrayal is brief, but raises interesting questions about how the public will at first perceive virtual reality. … Read the full article …

VR Makes Headway at Sundance Film Festival, Highlights New Cinematic Experiences

Every year the movie industry descends upon the small town of Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, a nearly two-week long independent film showcase of everything from documentaries to art-house. This year however, some of the bigger hits didn't take place in any one of the little town's 15 theaters, but rather in the side rooms where critics and other industry types hooked into an Oculus Rift to experience VR at its finest. … Read the full article …

2 New Samsung Gear VR Ads Introduce VR to the Masses (video)

Though consumer virtual reality R&D has been healthily reignited, the challenge of marketing these new devices begins to take rise. Samsung is first to take a stab at selling VR to everyday consumers, and that means somehow explaining what VR is to the masses, without going door to door to get people to try on a headset. Two new ads from Samsung are taking that first marketing step for Gear VR—how'd they do? … Read the full article …

Oculus Story Studio Promo Video Reveals 5 VR Short Films in the Works

Yesterday Oculus revealed that it had formed 'Story Studio', an internal team dedicated to experimenting with real-time CG VR cinema. Today the company has put out a promo video which reveals that the studio has five VR short films in the works for 2015. … Read the full article …

NextVR Demonstrates Its First Live Broadcast, Brings California Sun to Icy Michigan

NextVR has completed yesterday what they're calling "the first ever live, broadcast quality transmission of a virtual reality experience," a live-streaming, 180 degree video designed especially for VR headsets. The transmission virtually transported Engadget's Senior HD Editor, Richard Lawler, from his icy Ann Arbor, Michigan abode to the sunny beaches of Laguna, California. See Also: NextVR’s Stereoscopic 360-degree VR Cam Uses $180,000 Worth of RED 6K Cameras NextVR is best known for … Read the full article …

Oculus Internal ‘Story Studio’ Draws Pixar Talent, Experiments with CG Cinematic VR

In the early days, it appeared that Oculus was taking a hardware and platform approach—'if you build it, [content creators] will come.' But now with some 250 employees and the backing of Facebook, Oculus has begun working on first-party games, and is now experimenting with cinematic VR experiences in a newly revealed internal 'Story Studio' group. The first glimpse of the studio's work, Lost, a CG VR short film, will be shown at this week's Sundance Film Festival. … Read the full article …

Microsoft’s ‘Mixed Reality’ HoloLens Garners Mixed Reviews, Incredible Potential Diminished by Small Field of View

Unfortunately no cameras or phones were allowed inside the press' special hands-on meeting with Microsoft HoloLens after the device's announcement on Wednesday, so we can't show you a single picture of the only verifiably working model of the new augmented reality headset. We do however have some first-hand accounts from the lucky few allowed into Microsoft's Redmond, Washington headquarters for the meeting, who then got a little one-on-one time with a HoloLens prototype. The device has garnered … Read the full article …

UK Based ‘SouthWest VR’ Conference Announced, Guests Include Oculus, Aardman and Unity

As virtual reality rises, so does the need for its enthusiasts and industry members to meet. The UK has a thriving VR community and a growing industry presence, so the recently announced SouthWest VR Conference on the 24th Feb, is a welcome addition to the VR calendar. … Read the full article …

Two Companies Working on Products that are Eerily Similar to Microsoft’s HoloLens

HoloLens, a newly announced augmented reality device from Microsoft, is definitely turning some heads to the possibility of interacting with floating apps and games. We can't help but notice though that there seems to be an eerie convergence of technology, leaving us with a serious case of déjà vu. Here we take a closer look at two crowdfunded devices that are working on the same problems as HoloLens: Atheer Labs's AiR Smart Glasses and the Meta 1 developer kit. See Also: ‘Microsoft HoloLens’ … Read the full article …

News Bits: Students Create Real World AdBlock, Keeps Your Augmented Reality Ad-Free

The University of Pennsylvania's winter hackathon, PennApps, is now over, and we're not surprised to see a few VR experiences in the winners circle. Brand Killer, an application running on a custom-built VR headset, was unfortunately not among them, but there's no denying that the idea behind the Adblock-inspired app is equally brilliant as it is subversive. … Read the full article …