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Thursday, 02 November 2017 00:00

Oculus Interface Brings Desktop to VR

Because what could be better than viewing a computer workstation desktop while donning a pair of virtual reality (VR) goggles?

The new software development that makes this possible, known as Oculus Rift Core 2.0, will be available sometime in December as a beta version. If all goes according to plan, Core 2.0 will have the capability of bringing together several different menus in a single hub that should be fairly easy to access.

According to a report from Tom's Guide, "Dash provides a 3D overlay that users will be able to access anywhere, even in the middle of a game. It's designed to work with the Oculus Rift's Touch controllers. When activated, Dash appears as a row of menus which can quickly launch apps or games. Dash can also be used to reach out to online friends. However, the most compelling uses for Dash by far are the multitasking and desktop functionality."

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Thursday, 17 November 2016 00:00

New Mars Exhibit Lets Visitors Walk on Mars

Imagine being able to walk on Mars without ever leaving the surface of the Earth. Visitors to National Geographic’s Experience Mars dome in New York City recently did just that. The National Geographic Channel set up a series of domes in a vacant parking lot in Manhattan, where members of the press and public were invited to experience Mars for themselves.

Participants are first strapped in and fitted with virtual reality goggles, at which point they experience a realistic landing on Mars. Once that experience is over, visitors are taken to a second room, where they hop on treadmills while wearing another pair of virtual reality goggles. The experience includes an airtight bubble, which inflates to give the person the sensation of walking on Mars while they step forward on the treadmill.

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The music is part of an exhibit called "Collide," commissioned by Dolby Studios in San Francisco. Billed as "an exploration of the senses," the installation uses recorded motion information to create sound and abstract images.

Restrictions on space and time are done away with by mixing, eliminating, and reversing them. As the exhibit's web site puts it, "The work is a multisensory experience exploring the subjects from an emotional perspective, examining the feeling of being immersed in the creative process and attentive to the present moment as the senses combine and become one."

According to PSFK, a group of cello players used virtual reality goggles as part of composing the score. This helped the musicians to dive into the exhibit's visual language. The players were all connected to different parts of "Collide" through the goggles, but the entire, collective sound was piped into the control room.

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