Another hectic day full of cool VR technology and great people; here’s a breakdown of what we did and saw on day 2 of the International CES 2014.

CastAR Hands-On with their brand new HD Prototype

ces 2014 castar hands on hd prototype augmented reality virtual realityWe were invited by Technical Illusions to come and have a look at the latest prototype of their recently Kickstarter-funded CastAR Augmented reality glasses. According to Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, founders of Technical Illusions, Road to VR was first to have a look at the new iteration of the system – finished just days before CES was due to start.

You can read more about our experiences with CastAR here.

Next3D and Full-Court: Live 4k VR Enabled Broadcasting on the Oculus Rift HD

ces2014-next3dToday we got a chance to sit down with and try for ourselves an upcoming development from Next3D, a company specialising in the production and delivery of stereoscopic 3D content. Their new project named Full Court takes stereoscopic, high FOV captures of live sporting events and delivers a 3D image to your Oculus Rift, leveraging the HMD’s head tracking to allow you glance around the view as if you were sat at the event.

We met up with the Co-Founders of Next3D, David Cole and D.J. Roller, to get a hands-on demonstration of their new technology. Not a sports fan myself, I was perhaps not as excited about the prospect of being immersed in a sporting event as others, but once I’d sampled some of the test footage on an Rift 1080p HD Prototype I was impressed. The demos included a goal line view of an American Football match, a one-on-one basketball game and a first-person view facing a kick boxer.

Tactical Haptics: Catchup

tactical-haptics-ces2014-cropWe managed to track down William Provancher and Markus Montandon of Tactical Haptics who were kind enough to set up a makeshift demonstration of their Kickstarter prototype for a refresher on the technology. We also managed to get a video interview with William including updates on their views on their recent Kickstarter experiences, thoughts on a new Kickstarter and what their plans are for taking the Reactive Grip project forward beyond the prototype stage.

It was my first time with Reactive Grip and the sensations provided by their demos ranged from intriguing to downright uncanny. In particular, a new demonstration which required the player to virtually grip both ends of an elastic material, which could be stretched and snapped with corresponding feedback passed through the hands, was actually quite compelling and oddly addictive.

Again, we’ll have a more detailed write up on our experiences and a full video interview with William up on the site soon.

Nthusim HMD: New VR Driver from the people behind Immersaview

Brad Hawthorne, Technical Marketing Manager at Nthusim, dropped by for a chat so that we could catch up on the latest progress on their new VR Driver Nthusim HMD.

Brad told me progress was steady and the driver supports stereoscopic pre-warped rendering for games based on Direct X 9 thru 11. Right now, head-tracking is currently missing as they’re focusing on bottoming out issues with their rendering engine, and their desktop viewer mode – which does just what you’d imagine it to do. Nthusim HMD is currently available as an early access purchase which gives you immediate access to the latest version.

We’ll have a more detailed look at Nthusim HMD and our interview with Brad up soon.

The CES Virtual Reality Meetup

vr-minimeet-ces2014As there as so many leading lights of the VR community and industry present in one place this week, it seemed like a waste not to get them all in one place to meet, exchange ideas and generally hug it out. The mini-event was a great success with the likes of Cymatic Bruce (SVVR), Karl Karl Krantz (SVVR), Jan Goetgeluk (Virtuix), Aaron Lemke (Unello Designs), Simon Solotko (Sixense, Virtuix, Notch), Nathan Burba and James Iliff (Project Holodeck, Survios), and Laurent Scallie (Virtual Edge), as well as other luminaries from the VR world turning up to discuss all things VR. We came, we saw, we drank and we talked a lot about all aspects of virtual reality. There was a feeling of genuine excitement in anticipation for what most seemed to agree is the year of VR. Our thanks for everyone that came at the end of a very long day and making a truly memorable night.

Well, that’s it for another day. We’ve got loads of content to share with you all over the coming days—stay tuned and bear with us while we get it all online.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded RiftVR.com to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • monographix

    Nice update on interesting news. It really seems like a year of VR and it’s good to see you guys have some well deserved fun.

    On another note, do you know whether Meta and their Spaceglasses are present on CES? They redesigned their webpage and apart from the catchy infogram there is not that much info now. It looks like they (unfortunately) took down the ridiculously cool and geeky previous space glasses design and instead hired some Italian (?) fashion designer make it from scratch. It also seems that they changed their target group completely to yuppies and business clients. The price of preorder for the final version seems kind of… ridiculous for average customer (3650$). Cheers.

  • Brad Hawthorne

    Two corrections on Nthusim information – we support DirectX 7 thru 11.1, OpenGL and Aero Desktop. Right now, head-tracking and stereoscopic 3D portions of the driver are missing and under development. Palmer gave us a few suggestions on how to address S3D and head tracking when we met at the Oculus VR meeting room on Thursday. Just wanted to ensure current accuracy of the latest early access build specs on our 3.4 dev build.