Shawn is an architect, and he has invested in some 3D technology that allows him to do walkthroughs and 360-degree video. The background format he uses is called a Skybox. He wants to be able to go out to a client's land and put together his own background so he can give the clients an idea of what it will be like as a finished product. Leo says that the Skybox file format is particular to Enscape, but he says it's also easy to convert to another format. He should look for a way to convert Skybox to a YouTube video or Facebook.
There's talk that Apple has bought a MicroLED display company called MicroView. Some think that indicates they're going to make a TV, but MicroView tends to mean that they are going to bring those screens to mobile phones or even the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch displays 320 dpi, but Scott has heard of breakthroughs to 1600 dpi. If you get to the point that you can't see the dot, then it becomes pointless to get any sharper. Leo says that the reason to get DPI that high is for Virtual Reality, and that really may be what Apple is up to.
Magic Leap has been a company that's been all hype and no action for years, despite all of the great demos they have on their website. Now the company says it's making a prototype that looks like welder's glasses for augmented reality. This means it would put virtual things on top of the real world, so you're not completely isolated like you would be with virtual reality. Magic Leap says it will release its system to developers sometime this year. It features glasses, a small Discman sized computer that can attach to your belt, and a controller.
With Ready Player One set to come out later this year, Leo says there are a ton of virtual reality exhibitions at the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival this week in Austin. Leo also saw a mockup WestWorld outside of Austin. Tickets sold out in minutes.
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Photo: 2017 SXSW Conference & Festivals | Photo by Samantha Burkardt
Sean isn't sure about Virtual Reality. He used the Oculus Rift and thought it was really cool. But as an Apple User, he can't use it. Leo says that not only that — he can't use any virtual reality with Apple. It comes down to the high end video cards that are required, and Apple hasn't been serious about putting them in their computers.
In a clear sign that they are going after Snapchat, Facebook announced that they are opening up their API to allow app developers access to the camera in the Facebook app. They will also add support for filters, overlays, and other features that are similar to Snapchat, luring users away.
Leo says that Facebook is going after augmented reality in an effort to stay on top of the virtual genre. Leo says that competition is good. It'll be interesting to see how Snapchat and other companies respond.
Facebook and Oculus had their big confab this week and they're focusing on Augmented Reality, which will bring virtual elements into the real world through a headset that shows you the real world, with virtual elements overlaid on it. Leo says that Facebook is looking to that because they are aware that everyone is getting into VR and they are worried about losing their edge in the genre. So look for Facebook to add AR to Oculus VR. Facebook is also going to add vanishing messages to Instagram in an effort to bury Snapchat since they couldn't buy them.
In the hopes of avoiding a repeat of the mistakes made with rushing a product out to market, Microsoft has announced that development of their mixed reality HoloLens device will be deferred to at least 2019. The hope is that they can avoid any similar mistakes that made the launch of the Kinect camera so problematic. Meanwhile, people can still get the current developer edition for $3500.
While touring Europe this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview that Augmented Reality will be as big as the iPhone. Calling it a "core technology," Cook envisioned augmented reality, and not Virtual reality, to be everywhere.
Facebook/Oculus will have to pay ZeniMax a half billion dollars for copyright and patent infringement in the development of the Oculus Rift device. Leo says that is a clear indicator that virtual reality may be succeeding, since companies are suing each other now.