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Category: Awesome Gadgets

We love doo-dads and widgets. Sometimes during the course of our, ahem, studies, we come across a gadget we just have to share.

Light Field Capture for Awesome VR Experiences

Light Field Capture for Awesome VR Experiences

Different Way of Capturing Images

The light field capture photographic system is something different. When you take a picture with one of these cameras, the camera gets the direction of the light rays as well as the intensity and color of the light. The light sensor records all this information so the exact image can be reproduced when the image is viewed. The camera has an array of many small lenses placed one focal length in front of the camera sensor so that what is eventually captured is an array of stereoscopic images. The first such cameras demonstrated at the Stanford University Graphics Laboratory in 2004 employed 90,000 micro lenses. Using this array means there are no truly unfocussed parts of the image–the focus can be restored for any part of the image when it is viewed.

Five Revolutionary Advances

  1. Light field capture has the same 3D virtual reality capability for real life images as synthetically produced images have had up until now.
  2. The images are recreations of what was really there at the point the images were photographed. Within the space, a viewer can turn and move around while lighting and textures remain consistent.
  3. The light field capture system does not record a large number of complete image graphics. The recording system is based on ideas developed in holographic technology. Instead of images, it stores detailed light-flow information which is later reconstructed and played back. This kind of recording amounts to a compression technique which increases potential storage capability.
  4. The 3D capability of the light field capture is enhanced by the fact that the light information incorporates multiple binocular pairs of potential images.
  5. The light field capture system is sold as a unit including all that is needed to produce a full-hour of 360-degree 3D virtual reality content.

Lytro

“Light field photography is different from traditional photography because the cameras can measure the geometry of the light that strikes the image sensor…with enough computer power, Lytro’s software can then reconstruct the scene that was captured in three dimensions.”

Lytro, a company founded by Ren Ng, a graduate of the Stanford University Graphics Laboratory, developed and marketed

  • The first consumer light field camera is a neo-box camera with 8GB (350 images) or 16 GB (750 images) of built-in memory.
  • The ILLUM, which came out in 2012 has a 30 to 250 mm (35 MM equiv.) f/2 lens. The image stored on the memory card could be refocused on viewing so that any detail can be brought into focus. The Lytro still field cameras never made a substantial impact on the marketplace. The viewing system was too cumbersome for professional photographers. The adjustable focus option was not enough to attract them.
  • The Lytro Immerge was announced in November 2015. This light field capture system was designed as the Future of VR, creating virtual reality (VR) content.

VR Image Cameras

The Lytro Immerge camera entered the market in 2016. It comes as a complete system, providing all the necessary hardware, software and services to capture, process, edit and play back 360 video content. It features a flexible, configurable dense light field camera array as well its own server for storage and processing, an editor system, and a playback engine for VR and other viewing platforms. The Immerge server can store up to one hour of light field capture. The server can process the light field data.

Because all the data about a given “light field” is captured, Immerge allows for virtual 3D views from any point, facing any direction, and with any field of view. Immerse places viewers in the action by replicating natural light flow. It corrects stereo alignment to keep the scenes consistent as viewers move their heads. This potential creates a highly realistic immersive VR experience.

The Lytro Immerge system is described as “a five-ringed globe that captures what Lytro is calling a ‘light-field volume.'” The system consists of layers, each of which fully captures a cubic meter of light rays. The final output yields five cubic meters of space that are fully actualized. The camera captures all the light rays in the volume of light surrounding the camera. The software plays back all the rays at very high frame rates and high-resolution. The viewer can move around the light ray array.

The output of the Immerge system is designed to be compatible with the next generation of VR viewers, such as the Oculus Rift, HTC VIVE, and Sony Play Station VR. It also works with smartphone systems mounted in VR viewers.

The Lytro Cinema promises to take the Immerge model light field cinema camera one step further, correcting some of the artifacts that can be distracting in the Immerge images.

Mighty and True helps companies that make technical products create awesome experiences for customers. If you want to find out how we can help you, feel free to contact us .

Some of Our Favorite VR Apps

Some of Our Favorite VR Apps

We’re mildly obsessed with VR, so we decided to share some of our favorite apps we’ve found. Jump in!

Google Cardboard

Although they definitely deserve a mention, this quick list isn’t counting the YouTube app, the Google Street View app or the Cardboard app itself.

Expeditions

Designed for the classroom, Expeditions allows you to guide your class to any of more than 200 destinations, including famous landmarks, the ocean’s depths and yes, the final frontier.

Apollo 15 Moon Landing VR


Built by NASA to celebrate Apollo 15’s 45th anniversary, this app lets you drive around in your rover through a realistic lunar landscape, reconstructed with NASA’s original imagery. You can even feel the vibrations and bumps in the “road.”

NYT VR

The New York Times commissioned this one, so it’s no surprise that the app shows you the world from a journalist’s POV. It’s gotten great press, and not just from the New York Times.

Chair in a Room


This creepy, but popular app places you at a table with newspaper clippings of a kidnapping as the lights go out…

Proton Pulse


Use your head to play space Pong in VR, roughly speaking. Also available on Rift, Vive and Gear.

Note, that the newer Google Daydream can play most of the Google Cardboard games and apps, with a few exceptions and limitations.

Oculus Rift

Robo Recall


This high-action, first-person shooter is getting wild praise from all sides. In a nutshell, you are tasked with stopping robots from taking over the world.

Chronos


Battle your way through a labyrinth, a maze, a dungeon. Chronos is a puzzle, a mystery, a high adventure. There’s as much beauty as there is danger in this one.

EVE: Valkyrie


An extremely popular multiplayer spaceship cockpit simulator game. The freedom to swivel your head in every which way gives space-dogfighting in VR a thrilling realism that sets it apart from its regular screen counterparts. You can now find Valkyrie on Vive and Playstation VR as well.

Windlands


This first person exploration game lets you fly as if in a slow-motion wingsuit through a surreal, shattered, ancient civilization. There’s no one out to get you. Just enjoy the flight.

Samsung Gear VR

EVE: Gunjack


Fight off incoming space pirates from the comfort of your gun-turret in this exceptionally well-designed space shooter.

NextVR

It’s broadcast-quality VR, and it’s been battle-tested after live streaming the US Open, NASCAR races and the US Presidential debate.

Land’s End


Land’s End is a picturesque VR puzzle and adventure game from the Monument Valley creators.

Netflix VR

You can now watch Netflix in your head (set). However, there are some concerns over the potentially harmful effects of prolonged sessions on the eyes. Samsung, for example, recommends taking the headset off and giving your eyes a break every half hour. Requires a Netflix account.

Samsung Internet

After numerous complaints that you couldn’t access the Web in Gear VR, Samsung delivered.

HTC Vive

Raw Data


In Raw Data, you must rely on your ability to physically dodge the incoming punches and bullets of your robot enemies!

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes


This is a unique group game. Your headset has you trapped in a room with a ticking time bomb that’s going to go off soon. Your friends, who aren’t wearing headsets, have to hurry to a website to get the instructions to help you defuse the bomb before it’s too late. You can also get this one on Gear.

Tilt Brush (by Google)


You can now draw in 3D space. That’s right, and you can paint in neon light. That’s the promise of Tilt Brush, which gives you an area the size of a room to work your magic.

The Assembly


A mysterious, stylistic, first-person game with a rich storyline that begins with a puzzle you must complete in an underground, scientific institute.

It’s worth taking a good look at the newish Playstation VR as well. We’ll have to circle back soon and see how the Playstation-powered headset and its app library compares to its rivals above. Stay tuned.

If you want to talk about how to incorporate VR to create amazing user experience, or you just want to geek out, drop us a line.

Four Things WebVR Means for Technology Brands

Four Things WebVR Means for Technology Brands

Virtual reality is the new kid on the block that’s catching everyone’s attention. Everything from VR games to photo-realistic simulations are making digital waves on every technology platform. But where does that leave regular old browsing? Is it meant to be left behind in the digital dust while everyone averts their gaze in their trendy new headsets? Not if Google’s new WebVR API has anything to say about it. Google wasted no time launching their own version of Mozilla’s ground-breaking code within a month of their browser competitor.

Now, Chrome supports virtual reality on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard. Does this mean that millions will now be able to surf the web like never before? Well, yeah, but this also has a huge impact for every technology brand and business. Here are just four things WebVR means for tech brands.

Taking brand loyalty to the next level

When customers think of your brand, their mind either flashes to the last thing they bought or your logo. It seems like a waste of all a technology to not do something a little more creative to instill a stronger sense of brand recognition. Imagine you’re just browsing along using WebVR, and suddenly, you’re transported into an immersive virtual world full of interesting eye candy extolling the virtues of Bose or Sony or another widget-maker. Your average Internet user probably isn’t a huge fan of ads, but they might feel a wee bit differently when they encounter a cool joyride brought to you by WebVR.

Endless PR potential

Speaking of brand recognition, WebVR has given brands endless possibilities for public relations. Some of these could include things like:

  • A brand new educational experience utilizing VR. Think WebVR seminars with thousands of people in the virtual conference room
  • Live events and giveaways during real life events in public places
  • Virtual tours and a closer look at the people who actually run the company
  • A plethora of showcase possibilities

Sit back and imagine, opening up your email and receiving a newsletter reminding you about the release date of a product you’ve had your eye on. It could be anything really–the latest Apple product, a new watch or anything from a designer catalog. Now imagine you’re putting on your VR headset and actually interacting with a life-size digital replica of that very product. It’s the 21st centuries’ take on window shopping–all from the comfort of your home.

Virtual tours

Virtual tours are becoming increasingly more popular thanks, in part, to VR. With WebVR, it’s safe to say that it won’t be much longer until every vacation, rental, real estate and apartment listing will have a virtual tour option. Of course, this won’t just extend to property. You could shrink down and (virtually) go inside a router or other piece of tech to see what makes it tick.

The dawning of a new era

Firefox and Chrome already have millions of users, so time is the only thing holding up WebVR’s progress. There are still plenty of skeptics. It’ll take time to refine the API, and for regular users and businesses need to warm up a little more to virtual reality. That being said, the stage is already set, we’re just waiting on the players.

Interested in keeping up with the latest awesome VR developments? Drop us a line.