Monthly Archives: September 2016

Best Virtual Reality Games

Virtual reality is definitely the hottest new thing on the block, though a lot of it is focused on gaming, there are many other instances which have nothing to do with gaming and everything to do with media that can be enjoyable with a lot of people. Although many say that VR is still taking off in terms of popularity, there are quite a few others who have proclaimed that 2016 will be the year that virtual reality flies off the shelves and under the Christmas Tree. So here we are, supporting the latter group and helping you with the best VR purchases to consider as gifts for whoever might be interested in the immersive experiences that VR can provide.

For someone who has not yet experienced what all VR has to offer, the best option is Google Cardboard. This tongue-in-cheek take on VR is the most popular and affordable option in the market. Not to complicate things, this is a VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) literally made out of cardboard! A piece of cardboard is all you need, to make someone’s weekend interesting. And just in case you want to add a little personal touch to the gift, the company’s official website has even put up the instructions to help you make your own VR gear; which can later be decorated as well to suit the holiday mood. But just in case you feel that giving a cardboard box might not be the apt choice, the online market is there at your service. Just look online for VR headsets and you will find Google Cardboard inspired innumerous gears in both cardboard and plastic priced as low as INR 100.

If you still want a little more immersive experience to gift, you can look for HMDs like Procus VR which is said to be tightly packed as they want no interference with the VR experience. Moreover, it offers a large field of view and modifiable screen to eye distance. The variable screen to eye distance makes the device usable by people who wear glasses. Another option in similar range could be the SDO VR, which sports a humongous 45mm lens and is touted as the most portable VR viewer in the market. The SDO VR device comes out of high-quality material and features fine lenses of 25mm diameter and 45mm focal length.

Going a bit higher on the cost factor, you have the option of gifting this emerging player in the Indian VR market by Karbonn Mobiles. The company has been in news for their two low-cost VR glasses-equipped smartphones. Karbonn Quattro L52 and Karbonn Mach Six, both these VR sets are fitted with Bi-Convex lenses that elevate a video to provide a theatre-like experience. Another interesting feature of these devices is that we can create our own VR videos using the pre-embedded VR app. Both the devices are available online, at discounted prices.

For that friend of yours who has been following the growth of VR technology and eyeing the Oculus Rift VR, which is currently priced in India at around 80,000 INR, the closest you can get to gifting is Samsung Gear VR. Powered by the technology from Oculus, the Samsung Gear VR was effectively the first VR headset on the market. For someone who already has a Samsung Note 5 or Galaxy S6 or a recent Samsung flagship, it’s a screaming deal. It has the Oculus touch and features some of the best virtual reality content available to consumers today.

Well, if you are not planning to buy an HMD and instead, looking for a VR gift option for that adventurous friend of yours who likes to stay in tune with the emerging technology, here we are with some VR help.

For people who have been eyeing high-end VR cameras like a Nokia OZO but don’t want to spend a bomb, there’s quite a lot of other cameras in a decent budget which you can lay your hands on.

The LG 360 CAM can easily be touted as one of the most affordable 360-degree cameras on the list that too, without falling short of specs. It comes equipped with two 13MP, 200-degree wide angle cameras. It can be connected with smartphone allowing users to easily create 360-degree virtual reality content. The LG 360 Cam provides 2K video recording and 5 Channel surround-sound recording on three microphones to help effortlessly create high-quality content. It is available online at a heavily discounted price of INR 17,000.

Another brand which has always been in the race of the best 360-degrees VR cameras. Though the quality is far from perfect, but if you’re looking to start shooting 360 degree VR videos on the cheap and easy, the new Ricoh Theta S is probably your huckleberry. And easing out the work, the user doesn’t need to stitch anything that has been shot. The device is available at online marketplaces for INR 33,000.

Adding a few bucks to the Ricoh Theta S budget, you get a pair of 180 degrees f2.0 Fisheye lenses, each with 15 megapixels. Yes, we are talking about the Samsung Gear 360, which helps you shoot two super wide videos or images at once which can later be stitched together and made into a high-quality 360-degree footage. The only drawback is that the Gear 360 app is currently compatible with selected Samsung phones. But frankly, it’s a worthy purchase.

There are plenty of choices for shoppers looking to dive into virtual reality this holiday season. Yes, it’s early days but the hardware is solid and the software is already abundant. So, wait no more, get online and look for some amazing VR deals and let’s make it a Happy (Virtual) Holiday season!

Note: All prices provided are estimates, subject to change.

This Difference Between Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality And Pokmon Go

Out of all that we have discussed till now, we very well know that Virtual Reality is all about escapism. All one needs is a nicely fitting HMD and a pair of earphones to teleport to a new world. VR deprives your senses, from keeping a track of the world you are in and it comes no less than a surprise that people are tagging this new rage Pokmon Go as a VR game. Well if you say that it makes you unaware of your surroundings and you keep banging into other people as you are busy looking for that rare Vaporeon on your phone, then I must tell you that it is not what I mean by losing a track of the real world.

By the way, just in case you are one of those living under a rock and haven’t come across the phenomenon called Pokmon Go, then it is supposedly an Augmented Reality (AR)’ game which will use your smartphone and insert Pokmon into your surroundings so that you can try to catch them. Not just that the game also encourages players to get out and explore, only after which one can catch hold of a Pokmon. Well, that sounds really cool and we are surely hoping to soon hear Pokmon Go weight loss stories. Jokes aside the game has actually become the biggest mobile game in the US history while breaking records of apps like Twitter and Tinder in terms of downloads and number of users.

So, Pokmon Go has been released as an AR game with an amazing concept video for AR. But for the beginners again, there is a lot of difference between AR and VR. The biggest difference between the two technologies is that with AR one can experience the world around them but with a digitally changed environment; while in the case of VR one experiences a separate digital world altogether, presented by an HMD like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. By now, we assume that we can easily strike out the option of Pokmon Go being anywhere close to VR. Now let’s talk about the game and is connect with AR.

Sadly, in reality, the game is nowhere close to its announcement video. So how do we categorize it as augmented reality’? Well, let’s start with the first feature of GPS tracking. This means that in order to find Pokmon and Pok spots, one has to physically move around. This doesn’t look as great as it sounds, for one is, in a way looking at the stylized version of the maps on your phone. So nothing fancy out here.

The next said to be AR’ feature is the camera view which upon discovering a Pokmon, shows the creature superimposed on whatever the phone’s camera happens to be looking at. But to our disappointment, it really doesn’t augment reality and that superimposition of Pokmon looks BAD. Like for a general example, how the famous image messaging app Snapchat knows the shape of your face and helps augment it in interesting ways. But Pokmon Go knows nothing more about your reality or surroundings. Pokmon superimposed in your surrounding can’t really be tagged as augmenting reality but merely conflicting with it.

Overall, Pokmon Go is a nice, interactive and without failing addictive game but calling it as a benchmark for an AR game would not be the best choice of words. There is a lot which still needs to be done in the game to make it a successful augmented reality; nevertheless, the efforts and thought process cannot be ignored. The game with its popularity is sure to make the technology more popular and much in demand but we would definitely expect better trials the next time.

Virtual Reality of Beyond Gaming

Well, all the gamers and the gadget hounds are very much familiar with the Virtual Reality tech and it has just become the hottest thing on the block for all of them. But for others who got to know about this emerging technology very recently, VR seems to be a one track way. And for all you people who have underestimated VR, limiting it only to games then let me tell you that you guys are in for a big surprise.

VR is the one stop solution for everything that you need to communicate and seems like it is the best one yet. There are so many uses of Virtual Reality that even its initiators didn’t realise of. But irrespective of the use, VR delivers a set of data which is further used to develop new models, training methods, communication and interaction. So you see, the possibilities are endless. Let’s read about the various ways, VR is being used beyond gaming.

Entertainment

I said no gaming, but not no entertainment and we must not mix the two. Entertainment is one of the primary uses of VR technology. After the inception of apps like Oculus Cinema, everyone gets their own personal theatre and get the feel of being inside the movie itself. But in entertainment also, the technology is not limited to movies only. People are creating destination videos allowing you to travel to an altogether different location or taking you through an amusement park and on all the thrilling roller coasters by just putting on an HMD. VR promises to satisfy your wanderlust without having to spend big bucks.

Healthcare

The industry has already adopted the technology seamlessly, making it an essential part of the industry’s operation. Some institutions around the world use the computer-generated images for diagnosis and treatment while others now use actual diagnostic images from CAT scans or ultrasounds to construct 3D models of a patient’s anatomy. These virtual models not only help new but experienced surgeons also to determine the safest and most efficient way to practice difficult procedures ahead of time.

Other than surgery, VR is turning out to be a cost-effective and engaging tool for rehabilitation also. Stroke and brain injury victims are now being treated with an immersive virtual-reality therapy to regain motor and cognitive function faster than with traditional physical therapy.

Space

Well, I am sure none of you would be surprised to read NASA’s name associated with the cutting-edge VR technology. Working with the best in the lot, researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory connected the Oculus Rift with motion-sensing equipment from the Kinect 2 sensor and Xbox One game console to control a robotic arm with the operator’s gestures. And the bigger news is that according to NASA, this setup could someday be used to control rovers or other instruments millions of miles away. Woah! Doesn’t that sound so cool?

Education

Undoubtedly it is a fact that the children today are familiar with all forms of tech and use it every possible where. Education has moved on from books and pen to interactive techniques which is why it makes perfect sense to implement virtual reality as one of the several forms of technology in order to educate tomorrow’s technological elite. By making field trips and simulations of complicated concepts accessible to people of all ages, virtual reality can make cognitive learning faster, more effective and efficient.

Architecture

Virtual Reality is all set to change the face of architecture. The benefits which computers and 3D imaging brought to the field are sure to pale in comparison to what VR is bringing to the industry. Computer-generated images are, in many ways, an updated version of the hand-drawn renderings of the past. VR takes viewing models to a whole new level. While a computer built 3D rendering can only create an accurate look of the building, VR however, takes this a large step forward by allowing the user to walk through and see each detail. Many companies have started using the technology to sell their properties as it saves the time of potential buyer’s site visit.

But as I said earlier, the potential of VR cannot be limited to some boundaries. So, these were just few of the areas where Virtual Reality is defining new heights but there are many more applications of this technology. Keep reading to know how the different companies are approaching this tech and revolutionising the ways.

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