back to article Facebook, you fools! Forget Oculus, you could have bought TRON-type headsets

It's quite exciting putting on the Durovis Dive virtual reality headset, but watching someone else do it is even better as they coo and gasp at the world in which they have become immersed. The HTC One M8 is speedy and there is no VR lag Durovis Dive set up with an HTC One M8 proved speedy with no VR lag The Durovis Dive from …

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Add a semi-transparent overlay from the rear-facing camera and you're good to go for wearing it all day a la Google Glass but with none of the problems of looking like some sort of sad hipster. Win-Win!

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I'm not sure whether looking like a dork from the early 90s would be any better.

Inturresting device though. It needs some kind of Splashtop-like software to stream video from your PC and feed gyro/accelerometer data back to it. Oculus but without the price tag or the Facebookiness? Nice.

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Go

Re: M Gale

".....It needs some kind of Splashtop-like software to stream video from your PC and feed gyro/accelerometer data back to it......" Now that would be an idea, and surely quite easy to implement with Android phones? Steam, I'm looking at you now that Zuckie has borged the Occulus option, alowing you to use the grunt of your PC's graphics, CPU and memory for the game and then just "translating" the output into two images presented side-by-side on the phone's screen.

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Point of order

I was around in the early 90s.

Noone went around wearing anything that looked remotely like this.

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Re: Point of order

Yes, so was I, back when the first wave of dorky vertigo-inducing headsets came about.

There is a reason nobody went around wearing anything like that.

Doesn't mean I wouldn't want to give this a try. I think it could be quite entertaining, and definitely worth 60 quid to have a virtual gazillion-inch 3D cinema display and gaming device adapter for your phone. I just know I'm going to look hella more of a prat with this outdoors than with, say, Glass.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: M Gale

"Steam, I'm looking at you now that Zuckie has borged the Occulus option..."

I love how people are completely ruling out any possibility of getting a Rift just because FB owns the stock instead of Andreesen and a few others. I mean, if the thing comes out and you have to log in to FB to use it and it records which direction you tend to look to try to sell you stuff, then fine, but throwing the whole thing out instantly without a second thought based only on a stock purchase? I can't help but suspect that there's a degree of, "appear smart to other people by avowing the most violent hatred for Facebook!" involved in some of the blowback on this...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: M Gale

I love how people are completely ruling out any possibility of getting a Rift just because FB owns the stock instead of Andreesen and a few others

That has a lot to do with the perception of what FB is likely to do with it vs. the previous owners. I have yet to find anyone who assumes any benign motives for the purchase..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: M Gale

" I have yet to find anyone who assumes any benign motives for the purchase.."

Trust me, buddy - there are no benign motives for *any* purchase. There weren't benign motives for Andreesen's investment in Oculus a few months ago (IIRC) either - do you really think that the most recent round of VC weren't considering their exit strategy when they pumped the last $75m in? Do you think it didn't occur to any of them that some large technology company might come along and dump a bunch of money on the company when the right doorbells were rung? These guys aren't doing this as a form of charity.

Now, that's not to say I'm blasting Andreesen as a harbinger of evil - though I don't necessarily think it's a coincidence that "VC" can mean both "Venture Capitalist" and "Viet Cong". But suggesting either that Oculus' previous set of investors (as opposed to Luckey and Carmack, say) were somehow vastly more interested than Facebook in the purity of Oculus' mission is misguided to say the least. And to slate Palmer Luckey for "selling out" - though I haven't seen anyone do this directly I wouldn't be surprised if people have - is equally unreasonable, given that once you're on the go-fast investment treadmill, you don't just tell the guys who bought 80% of your company to roll it up tight when they suggest an acquisition that octuples their money. Because they will fire you and have your badge demagnetized before you can say, "I started this company, and -". There's a reason that Zuckerberg manipulated his IPO to retain voting control and sway over the board - that's where the actual power is, and he didn't want to get shown the door the first time a bad quarter spooked nervous hedge fund managers. Hell, the fact that he had the foresight and skill to pull that off in the midst of what must have been a veritable sharkskin-suit feeding frenzy is one of the things about him that gives me hope for the future.

At any rate, no, of course you can't assume that Zuck has benign motives. But writing the product off instantly without any actual evidence that the thing is going to be anything but a display device is a bit like crowing that you'll refuse to buy, say, some masterful and inexpensive breakthrough in bighuge TVs by Sony (look, play along here, OK?) because they have a reputation for using proprietary data formats. Until you really know what's going to happen, why bother screaming your self-denial to the world until you know whether it's warranted? And why, even if you distrust Zuckerberg, would you assume that Palmer Luckey is powerless to shape the future of his company, when Zuck managed an equally improbable feat in retaining control of his?

Like I said - the reason to me seems to be one of a hipsterish arms-race to disavow association with Facebook at all costs. And more than a part of me suspects that Facebook could have exactly the same evil intent and privacy-gobbling goals but not be nearly as loathed among the techie set if it wasn't as popular among the non techie set, which, coming from a category of people who ought to know better than to judge things by their popularity, is particularly disappointing.

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Re: M Gale

@M Gale

The only power we have is with our wallets.

Facebook cannot bring anything good to the OR.

Yes they have a right to make money on the acquisition, but anything Input they have will be a detriment to the OR.

I think it has been AMAZING to see people standing up against this ridiculous purchase.

The consumer WILL win as now suddenly out of the woodworks everybody else and his dog is developing a VR headset. I think the other word for this is having standards and sticking to them.

If they wont do it Somebody will !!!!

e.g. if Sony wanted to cash in on this have an open API for their headset !

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Anonymous Coward

Re: M Gale

@David W - impressive argumentation, but based on an assumption that is invalid in my case: the fact that I dislike FB because it's also popular with non-techs.

I dislike FB because it's based on abuse. Abuse of innocence of users, who do not see what they give away using FB. Abuse of personal data, which is collected via a backdoor in our privacy laws which only compel you to state why you want the data of a user, but do not stop asking others about you and so gain access to your information without any control whatsoever. The whole WhatsApp purchase was a land grab of phone numbers, maybe the whole FB "give us your phone number for your security" ruse didn't work so well.

I dislike any business which is based on deceit and which misinforms users. Google is in this respect just as bad, especially their help files are replete with creative interpretations.

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Childcatcher

Re: Point of order

Oh, I plan on giving this and a few others things a try. I'm just thinking of the future-historians.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: M Gale

"I dislike FB because it's based on abuse. Abuse of innocence of users, who do not see what they give away using FB."

That's fine, and it's a reasonable point - but my statement wasn't aimed at you specifically (particularly as I have no idea who you are :P); it was an attempt to explain the sheer level of antipathy I see, which suggests that while a core of people *are* knowledgeable about the issues, a great number of others have jumped on the bandwagon not because they're informed but because it's trendy to... well... not be trendy.

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Mushroom

Re: Point of order

Hang on, back in the 90's I'm sure Silicon Graphics did some even bigger VR headsets for their fantastically expensive kit. In fact, I almost had the chance to try one for a student project at uni, only to find it was broken by the time I got my turn. ;-(

It was an experiment on how people navigated in VR environments and after too many hours of Doom in our computing lab, I was happily strafing round corners which was a shame as there were no weapons in the VR model...

We need a BFG icon!

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Re: Point of order

I was around in the early 90s. Noone [sic] went around wearing anything that looked remotely like this.

I was at SIGGRAPH '90, and there was a VR headset demo at one booth. So plenty of people wore one at SIGGRAPH '90, and went around wearing it - within the radius of the tether, anyway. It was only a few meters, so "around" was your main option.

(I wasn't impressed then, and I'm not impressed now. Immersion - so what? I'd rather read a book. Kids, lawn, &c.)

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Boffin

How does it cope with prescription glass wearers ? or is it adjusted in software ?

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One assumes that One, can focus the Optic Lenses in this thing, so you wouldn't need to wear Glasses.

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You can't adjust the focus by changing the screen contents. You'd need the appropriate changes to the buillt-in lenses to take account of your own prescription.

P.S. I just had a look at one of their You Tube videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwAD2mMpn_w

Much of it is out of focus. I'm not sure if that is significant.

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Unhappy

Probably like existing 3D films, expect you to wear your glasses be uncomfortable and hate whenever one of your friends decides they want to see a film in 3D rather than 2D.

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Anonymous Coward

You can get clip-on lenses

If you wear prescription glasses, you can get clip-ons that allow you to watch 3D movies at most Cinemas without the discomfort of trying to wear two pairs of glasses at once.

http://www.amazon.com/3D-Glasses-Circular-Polarized-Theaters/dp/B003ZU0WCI/

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Boffin

Re: You can get clip-on lenses

Don't forget that these only work if your theatre has gone for the circular polarized system. If your cinema/s use color-shift (Dolby 3D) then those are no good.

Dolby don't seem to have licensed their stuff and I haven't been able to find any sellers of clone glasses. Which is annoying because I find the ones in the cinema limit my field of view, so that I have to turn my head to see the edges of the screen if I'm not near the back of the theatre. I guess I'm wearing them wrong :-). And I don't even wear glasses.

Goggles icon seemed appropriate here....

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Boffin

Prior art

Presumably I can just drop a smartphone into my American Pattern (AKA Holmes) stereoscopic viewer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereoscope).

If only I used smartphones, I might even have thought of that!

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Re: Prior art

Ingenious! I'm off to tape a couple of featurephones to the back end of a View-Master.

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Mass market?

While it certainly looks like a cheap way to create a 3d system - I suspect it'll struggle to find mass market developer support as there isn't a standard hardware platform. One of the key benefits of consoles (and the iPhone for that matter) has been that developers can properly test (and they know that the platform will exist for a significant time span).

I'm a fan of Andriod, but for an application like this I can see the variety of devices being a huge issue with getting it adopted.

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Re: Mass market?

I can see the variety of devices being a huge issue with getting it adopted.

Not really. So long as they support devices from 4 inches to 6 inches (and maybe an adapter for 7 inchers), that'll probably cover the vast majority of all Android devices out there. Amazing what some sponge, a strap and a bit of Velcro can do.

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Re: Mass market?

OK - so how does the software cope with differing resolutions? colour temp? different CPU/GPU specs? differing accelerometer sensitivity? memory limits? differing OS builds with jitter effects from different interrupt handlers?

Moreover, the lack of a clear long lived reference design would be a major issue for any company thinking of using it as a target for a major release (which tend to be years in the making and film level budgets).

I'm not denying that software could provide a functional experience across a variety of form factors - but its certainly not going to be optimised. I'd argue that for most near term applications that is likely to be a pretty fundamental issue.

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Re: Mass market?

How is that a different problem from any other game ?

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Re: Mass market?

OK - so how does the software cope with differing resolutions?

By not using pixels as a measurement unit. Same as any other system with varying resolutions. Ideally, you want -1 to be one edge of the screen, +1 to be the other edge, and the origin (that's 0,0) in the centre. Or you can stick the origin in one corner and have (1,1) be the other corner. Use whatever relevant system call to detect the screen (or canvas, window, whatever) resolution when you start the application up, and create your OpenGL viewport based around that. Aspect ratio is detectable by just doing width/height. Adjust your UI accordingly.

If you're on a platform that allows window resizing, then attach a function to whatever on_resize event the system has, and have it reconfigure the viewport accordingly.

At no point do you ever want to be measuring distances in your 3D scene with pixels.

colour temp?

Same as everything else, again. There are plenty of test screens that will give you a reference while you twiddle with brightness, contrast, gamma, RGB/colour temp.

different CPU/GPU specs?

Same as every other platform. I already have apps on my phone and tablet that have a "Tegra" edition for extra shininess on Nvidia's chips.

differing accelerometer sensitivity?

One-time calibration. "Put your phone face-up on a flat surface. Now put it face down."

memory limits? differing OS builds with jitter effects from different interrupt handlers?

Oh now you're just trying to think of problems, aren't you? These were all solved some 30 years ago. Just use the 30 year old solutions, like various Android devs seem to have been doing already.

Really, I don't get why people are complaining so hard about the Android "ecosystem" being fragmented, when plenty of people have been developing for quite long enough in the far more fragmented Windows environment.

Don't forget that this is basically just a set of fancy goggles that you strap a phone to. So long as your app presents two images side by side, and has the virtual cameras spaced appropriately, it looks pretty much like it will work.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mass market?

There's a very basic 3D viewer from Hasbro that has exactly this problem - the software is only available for iPhone and iPod Touch devices:

http://www.amazon.com/Hasbro-Viewer-touch-iPhone-Black/dp/B004T7VI2Y/

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Re: Mass market?

I'm not denying that software could provide a functional experience across a variety of form factors - but its certainly not going to be optimised.

So what you're saying is that it will be exactly like all the other consumer software ever published? You're right - they're clearly doomed. No one has ever been able to make money selling functional but non-optimal software, particularly for entertainment purposes.

I'm not even interested in the damn thing, but I think this is about as much an impediment to its success as the price of tea in China. That's not to say it'll succeed; frankly, I suspect it's too simple, and many potential buyers won't purchase it because it doesn't convey sufficient social status.

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Anonymous Coward

How does it cope with 1080p 120fps images?

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Probably about as well as your phone does.

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"Probably about as well as your phone does."

You could even go as far as to say

EXACTLY as well as your phone does.

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Surely, 'half as well as your phone'?

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Surely, 'half as well as your phone'?

But it does it twice at the same time, so it averages out. That's how the "how well does it cope" metric works, right?

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UK kickstarter project, Altergaze: Mobile Virtual Reality for Your Smartphone

One here too.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/278203173/altergaze-mobile-virtual-reality-for-your-smartpho?ref=live

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Re: UK kickstarter project, Altergaze: Mobile Virtual Reality for Your Smartphone

Yup, here's another one:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2041280918/vrase-the-smartphone-virtual-reality-case?ref=live

World+dog comes to mind...

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Reminds me a big of the little cardboard thing that came with metal gear acid 2 for the psp so you could look at some 3d demo in it. Was a bit of a gimic then.

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There is smut available in 3D SBS format

Why wasn't this the subheading?

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Re: There is smut available in 3D SBS format

Unsafe sex !!

http://www.snopes.com/pregnant/3dfilm.asp

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Anonymous Coward

No root needed for wired PS3 controller

One only needs root for wireless connection to the PS3 controller. But for a wired connection just get an USB-OTG cable. No further configuration is needed.

...provided that your phone supports USB-OTG, naturally.

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Re: No root needed for wired PS3 controller

Additionally some Sony phones come with wireless support for PS3 pads (such as the Xperia Z1 work gave me).

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" It doesn’t currently have any UK distribution and this might be its downfall"

In the UK, certainly...

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Tron?!

Did the article author simply choose to put Tron in the title, yet not even reference it in the article, just so they would come across as sounding futuristic tech-like?

Can you please point me to where someone in the original film, or the Korean knock-off cartoon film Savior of the Earth, or Tron Legacy, or the short-lived Tron Uprising cartoon tv series wore something like this.

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Thumb Up

Interesting take on the 2 ways to solve a problem.

a) Adapt existing tech

b)Go for a complete "phase change" and hope you build critical mass to take the market with you.

This is obviously A and OR is B.

But A does not allow Facebook data slurping.

(cautious) thumbs up.

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Re: Interesting take on the 2 ways to solve a problem.

The price is also good I can see a lot of people just buying it to try, even if it does end up in the back of the cupboard after a week.

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Mushroom

Re: Interesting take on the 2 ways to solve a problem.

"This is obviously A and OR is B."

Thanks for that, it's nearly midnight after a long day and you throw that in the mix.

It took me at least 10 seconds to realise OR meant Oculus Rift and NOT OR.

Boolean Bastard :)

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Boffin

Re: Interesting take on the 2 ways to solve a problem.

"it took me at least 10 seconds to realise OR meant Oculus Rift and NOT OR."

OR is Oculus rift AND NOT OR? You're MAKING ME CRAZY!!!!!! IR && ! || }}!@?

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Re: Interesting take on the 2 ways to solve a problem.

The price is also good I can see a lot of people just buying it to try

Guilty! I tried to stop myself, told myself something better would come along, went and did a bit of googling, then ordered one. I am so weak... Tho' with the 3D films part of it I doubt it'll languish in the cupboard, I'm a total sucker for 3D films (and VR looks to be pretty interesting if you could somehow stream the game from your PC).

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@David W & Sir Runcible Spoon

I don't understand your logic.

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Windows

WAAAANT!!!

Can't imagine how clear my Nokia 5110 is gonna look...

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