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Report: Samsung Building VR Headset For Its Phones & Tablets

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the fast-approaching-buzzword-status dept.

Displays 49

An anonymous reader writes "Engadget reports that Samsung is working on virtual reality technology to compete with the Oculus Rift. Their work is fairly far along, and it's expected to be announced this year. It's being built to function in tandem with Samsung's flagship mobile devices, most likely their upcoming Galaxy phones and tablets. From the article: 'We're told it has an OLED screen, as good or better than in the second Rift dev kit; it's not clear how the headset connects to your phone/tablet, but we're guessing it's a wired connection rather than wireless. ...This is a device meant for use with games. What type of games? Android games! Sure, but which ones? That's certainly the question. Great games make the platform, and VR games are especially tough to crack given the newness of the medium. One thing's for sure: most major games won't work on VR as direct ports.' The report also suggests Samsung is targeting a lower price point than its competitors. True or not, it will hopefully help drive down prices for all upcoming VR tech." Meanwhile, DARPA is experimenting with the Oculus Rift for cyberwar visualization.

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It.. can't be true! (0)

jasno (124830) | about 5 months ago | (#47074355)

No! Oculus is the Christ-child! They are the saviour of humanity! They invented VR tech and are the only force for good in the universe.... or at least that's what all the major tech publications keep trying to ram down my throat.

VR is old hat. The interesting stuff was patented decades ago. Oculus is just one of dozens of companies that will be leveraging lower cost displays and sensors to deliver an acceptible VR experience.

Re:It.. can't be true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074497)

No! Oculus is the Christ-child! They are the saviour of humanity! They invented VR tech and are the only force for good in the universe.... or at least that's what all the major tech publications keep trying to ram down my throat.

Dude, you sound as far gone as an ignorant conservative talking about modern people.

VR is old hat. The interesting stuff was patented decades ago.

No, VR has been around in many forms for many years, but OR has made huge improvements. Acting like this isn't true shows your malfunction.

Oculus is just one of dozens of companies that will be leveraging lower cost displays and sensors to deliver an acceptible VR experience.

Close, but very misleading. OR did serious work in solving major issues with VR.

Re:It.. can't be true! (2)

jasno (124830) | about 5 months ago | (#47074565)

No, VR has been around in many forms for many years, but OR has made huge improvements. Acting like this isn't true shows your malfunction.

Sure, OR made improvements, just like Sony, Samsung, and other companies not fawned upon by the tech media and ignorant techno-fanbois.

Close, but very misleading. OR did serious work in solving major issues with VR.

Oh sweet, just point me to all those patents they're sitting on then...

The article invalidates what you're saying. OR isn't special. They just showed their hand early in an attempt to get free marketing. What they're doing isn't technologically difficult given the advances in things like 3d rendering, compact displays, low-cost motion sensors, and lower-latency inputs.

What If (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#47074899)

Oh sweet, just point me to all those patents they're sitting on then...

What if you simply wanted to advance the general state of VR. Would you:

(A) Do a bunch of work and patent it all, or
(B) Do a bunch of work and patent none of it, knowing any company could use the information to make better VR products?

Re:What If (2)

jasno (124830) | about 5 months ago | (#47077583)

Or (C) patent it all and license it for free, which would ensure that patent trolls don't move in and cripple the industry.

The amount of 'religion' surrounding OR is starting to reach the level of Apple products. You're all trying so hard to make the company the next big thing but they're just a hardware integrator. They're not your best friend. They aren't on your side. VR was and is coming when the tech allows it. When we all strap VR goggles on it won't be thanks to OR or any one individual behind it.

If you want to raise someone on a pedestal, start with the nameless engineers who dedicated their careers to making displays and sensors smaller, faster and cheaper.

Re:What If (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 5 months ago | (#47077747)

I have no illusion what OR is and is not. But neither am I bling to how they have helped.

I think good OR is inevitable. But to try and pretend OR has done nothing to significantly advance not only the state of the art but also interest in VR is laughable.

Do you really honestly think Samsung would be announcing a VR product right now if it were not for OR?

Do you have a dev kit BTW? Have you used them or are you just speaking from experience with past VR products?

Re:What If (1)

jasno (124830) | about 5 months ago | (#47078509)

What have they done? Show me their inventions which have advanced the state of VR. What do they have? The cheap plastic lens to increase FOV? (Despite being obvious to anyone looking to cost-reduce during consumerization.)

Certainly they have done something? No?

Samsung may not have announced it, but they'd be working on it.

I don't have a dev kit. So what? I bet it's awesome. That isn't the point. Or maybe it is... the point being that OR created zealots by showing you prototypes built out of commonly available components. It isn't that OR created that magic, it's that the magic is enabled by cheap, high-res displays and low-latency sensors that *everyone* has access to.

LIke I said in a previous post, it is because of OR that we're talking about VR in 2014, but even without OR we'd be wearing it in 2016.

Re:It.. can't be true! (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 months ago | (#47075265)

The article invalidates what you're saying. OR isn't special. They just showed their hand early in an attempt to get free marketing. What they're doing isn't technologically difficult given the advances in things like 3d rendering, compact displays, low-cost motion sensors, and lower-latency inputs.

Well, OR has one thing going for it - it's consumer-level pricing is cheap.

Eye-displays from Sony, etc (just regular "theatre" goggles and such) are ridiculously expensive - I think Sony sold one (720p per eye) for something like $2000 or so. Most proper VR headsets except super cheap junk sold to consumers cost around that much. OR provides a decent setup for a price that's actually within reach.

That is OR's legacy. Similar to how Microsoft's Kinect (and soon Kinect 2/Xbone) made it possible to get super-cheap depth imaging. Once it's within reach, the possibilities are endless.

Re:It.. can't be true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47075787)

its probably more like we are in or about to hit a tipping point where all the things that come together to make VR mobile have advanced far enough where they can effectively and cheaply integrate with each other

Re: It.. can't be true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074629)

Nobody should be surprised that Samsung is making an OR clone. You might as well start writing an article about Samsung making a Nest clone if they haven't announced one yet. They'll copy whatever idea comes along.

On the OR front... I did my grad work in VR and I've presented VR related stuff at Siggraph for years. In the real world I've worked on several VR systems (CAVE, Boom, Immersadesk, etc etc) as a contractor for the DoD. I'd love for VR to catch on but.... This really is old news tech wise and a dead end like 3D TVs (especially for Facebook). I really don't think the future of social is everyone strapping a black box on their face.

Re: It.. can't be true! (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#47076179)

> I really don't think the future of social is everyone strapping a black box on their face.

Obviously not - it won't catch on until Apple adopts the idea, and then the box will be white with rounded corners.

In all seriousness though I have to say I think VR has far more potential than 3D TV ever did, for a number of reasons:

3D TV = shutter glasses (except at the very high end), which is the most nausea and eye-strain inducing method of delivering a stereoscopic display
3D TV can only play back 3D movies - the vast bulk of which are rife with artifacts caused by poor and/or inconsistent 3D applications.
Best case scenario: you pay a significant premium for the ability to watch a couple well done 3D movies, and a few handfuls of others. And you have to deal with clunky shutterglasses and the fact that any time something "pops" out of the screen you likely get that disconcerting effect where only one eye is seeing what it should because the screen isn't behind the virtual object from the other eye's perspective.

Rift VR - sounds like the new OLED screens are far, far better than shutter glasses.
Way more immersive experience, even without stereoscopy. Roughly equivalent to watching a 40" screen from 17" away
Ever watched an Omnimax (full-dome screen) movie? Extremely intense, and eminently suitable to watching with a VR headset where you can turn your head to watch something go past you.
Primary content will likely be 3D games at first, free from artifacts from poor 2D conversions
And finally, you'll mostly only be wearing that clunky helmet when you're already engaged in antisocial behavior (watching TV or gaming), and hopefully alone, so you don't lose much.

Re: It.. can't be true! (1)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 5 months ago | (#47076715)

3D TV can only play back 3D movies

Well... that's factually incorrect, 3D gaming is already a reality today, via stuff like nVidia 3D Vision [nvidia.ca] (3D Skyrim with a few select mods is very drool worthy).

Still a niche to be sure, but not a limitation of current tech that VR is going to solve. It will probably make it easier and more mainstream though... so you're quite right about VR's potential I think.

Re: It.. can't be true! (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 5 months ago | (#47076951)

Granted - but I've been using a pre-3D TV as a computer screen for years, and have yet to meet anyone else doing the same. Do any of the consoles offer stereoscopic rendering?

Re: It.. can't be true! (1)

Wraithlyn (133796) | about 5 months ago | (#47087733)

Not that I'm aware of... you need a PC, and nVidia is pretty much the only game in town too (apparently it's possible with AMD but painful and inferior [tomshardware.com] ). Myself, I have it hooked up to a home theatre with 720p projector (sadly, 1080p 3d gaming is not possible yet... we need HDMI 1.4b/2 devices for the necessary bandwidth).

The interesting thing about 3D gaming is that not all games work equally well. The 3D stuff generally works fairly decently, what it mainly comes down to is the 2D elements. For instance you'll get a menu in front of the 3D scene, but it's depth isn't set correctly so your brain will be convinced it should be behind the scene... really messes with your eyes in an unpleasant way. :)

So with most games it's somewhat "accidental" how well they work with 3D (or don't). A relative handful actually take the effort to address such issues during development and get fully "3D Vision Ready" certified. nVidia keeps a big list of games (and their 3D playability) here [nvidia.ca] . Fortunately with some games, mods can fix the 3D deficiencies [nexusmods.com] .

Re: It.. can't be true! (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 5 months ago | (#47076219)

Right now all of these HMD products are all in prototype phase, with nothing actually available for sale yet. I do not dispute that Facebook/OR probably has the pole position right now, but they really need to release something this calendar year to keep that position. They also better have something impressive to show at E3.

Re:It.. can't be true! (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 5 months ago | (#47074537)

There is a video with Palmer, John and some other guy (it was at a Quake event or somesuch), where they were talking about the Rift, and one comment really stood out to me. Palmer said (and I paraphrase) "I don't want to make the ultimate headset, many companies tried to focus on delivering one key component, either resolution, latency or FoV etc. What I'm interested in is creating a single package that's 'good enough' in all areas to get the market going. Once people see that VR is finally possible, and is a viable technology, everyone will start doing it, and my goal will be achieved."

Palmer is obsessed with VR, not with being a millionaire or running a massive business. He's allegedly got the largest private collection of VR gear in the world, because he wants immersion in games and so on. If everyone and their mothers jump into the market and come up with competing technologies in the same way as Nokia, Sony Erickson and Motorola lead ultimately to Samsung, HTC and Apple phones, then he's happy if he was just someone who helped stimulate the market for VR.

Re:It.. can't be true! (1)

jasno (124830) | about 5 months ago | (#47077653)

Palmer sounds like a narcissist. He's crazy if he thinks he or his company is solely responsible for driving VR.

He jumped the gun and showed off his companies demo products - a fancy marketing trick if you will. Big deal. VR was coming regardless. Now that the displays and sensors finally allow a product that a consumer can afford there will be many VR devices. The technology is old and proven.

If OR had never existed, we might not be *talking* about VR in 2014, but we'd still be wearing it in 2016.

Re:It.. can't be true! (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 5 months ago | (#47082193)

I agree, he may be many things, but credit where credit is due. I'm looking for a different term to "single-handedly" because I know it took many people to get Rift working, including the people at valve to sort out latency issues. He is possibly a person who brought it all together, similar to how Jobs took all these technologies at the right time and combined them into the iPhone. Right or wrong, Jobs is credited often with the dawn of the smartphone era. Someone else might have done it a year or 2 later, but that's history now.

Re:It.. can't be true! (1)

GrahamJ (241784) | about 5 months ago | (#47082543)

I think that's the problem we're seeing in this thread - there are people who see the value in creating a new market by integrating and iterating on existing technologies, and those who don't. Some see the iPod, iPhone, iPad, OR etc. as game changers and others merely as inevitable integrations.

Rather than labels I prefer to focus on the outcome. The iPhone DID drastically change the industry, for example, and even though bits of VR tech have been around for decades, I'm pretty sure OR will do the same.

Re:It.. can't be true! (1)

MindStalker (22827) | about 5 months ago | (#47074555)

A lot of Oculus tech is actually in its software. It uses predictive head tracking to make the output much more seamless to the user.

Watch this example of timewarping
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com] //I believe this is one of the things Zenimax feels they own.

Re:It.. can't be true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47075671)

Oculus isn't that special. The CastAR is way cooler, and the dev team wouldn't sell to Facebook.

Re: It.. can't be true! (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 5 months ago | (#47076393)

At least OR headset looks like it will be mostly platform agnostic. (Imagine if they make a compelling demo at E3 show using OR + upcoming Destiny game from Bungee on both PS4 and XBone. That's "shut up and take my money" territory right there.) So... Android games? Are there any good ones that rely on 3D acceleration? I'm assuming that would require doing native development for Android, which still looks like the wild, Wild West of game development.

Augmenting outdoor games (1)

the_scoots (1595597) | about 5 months ago | (#47074361)

If this has forward facing cameras I could see outdoor game designers doing some really cool stuff. http://www.comeoutandplay.org/ [comeoutandplay.org]

Re:Augmenting outdoor games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074439)

If it doesn't have forward facing cameras then Distracted Walking just became an even larger problem.

On the bright side, I get to become Daft Punk.

Just for games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074431)

There has to be a ton of non-game uses for this. I'd love to be able to use it as an augmented reality turn-by-turn GPS for trips.

Re:Just for games? (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about 5 months ago | (#47074447)

why not just use garmin hud or something like that instead?

Re:Just for games? (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 5 months ago | (#47074631)

Mounting a windshield to my bike, or carrying it while running would, I think, seriously impact the experience.

DARPA Video (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about 5 months ago | (#47074467)

That DARPA video looks like they took the meme "a GUI interface in Visual Basic" and then watched all the episodes of Ghost in a Shell back to back. I don't think that will be terrible useful, because geographic location doesn't matter enough for what they are doing.
Give me a terminal any day.

Still, if you could make something like that for my superiors to watch how many things my scripts do in a day, then we are golden.

Copiers (0)

GrahamJ (241784) | about 5 months ago | (#47074509)

South Korea, start your photocopiers!

Re:Copiers (1)

GrahamJ (241784) | about 5 months ago | (#47082507)

It's just a joke, lighten up :)

Connect to your phone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074521)

I don't think it's going to "connect to your phone." I think it's going to BE your phone.

Picture an Oculus Rift with no display built in, but instead a slot. You slide your phone in, clamp it in place.

Now you get a high res display, accelerometer, gyroscope, an audio port to plug in earphones, a camera for doing head tracking with optical flow or looking for fiducials (possibly QR codes), or you could do augmented reality...

All they really have to build is the ski-goggles that hold the phone in place, and the optics to split the screen in half and give you a wide field of view.

It'd actually be a pretty smart move to make a $100 piece of plastic that turns your phone into a VR headset.

Re:Connect to your phone? (1)

CreatureComfort (741652) | about 5 months ago | (#47074649)

You mean like this [durovis.com] ?

Re: Connect to your phone? (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 5 months ago | (#47076247)

Doesn't HMD work better with dual display, one for each eye? Or is that only if you want stereoscopic features?

Re: Connect to your phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47099879)

Even the Oculus Rift is just one physical display... held right in front of your nose, with optics to split the screen in half, and give you wide Field of View images.

So, yes, you can make a dual display out of the one display in a smartphone.

Oh boy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074545)

Why dont they make it compatible with their assholes? Cause this is a pretty shitty idea

Timeline (1)

American AC in Paris (230456) | about 5 months ago | (#47074571)

Year 1: "You guys, this is even better than [current industry leader]'s tech! Amazing!"
Year 2: "Hardly anybody who has updated to version 5.4 still bleeds from their eyeballs. [current industry leader] hasn't updated their tech for months!"
Year 3: "Samsung is the undisputed leader in virtual reality headsets! They've shipped five times as many units as [current industry leader], and there's no stopping this tidal wave!"
Year 6: "Hey, you should really check out the high-end Samsung VR units. They're every bit as good as [current industry leader] nowadays."

Still waiting (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | about 5 months ago | (#47074611)

for my Samsung Galaxy ankle bracelet.

Re:Still waiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074789)

The one the County Court gave you isn't good enough?

ah (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47074713)

This will likely be paired with Googles Project Tango for the next version of the nexus: http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/20... [cnn.com]

But I can't see a real practical use for it in the near future other than some newer, more spectacular teen texting while driving accidents.

The real money will be combining this with an overlay and transparent background in a device like google glass. The initial product will likely suck, but the patents they'd soak up will be extremely valuable in the future.

1st (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47074903)

Has Samsung ever made anything original?

Re:1st (1)

watcher-rv4 (2712547) | about 5 months ago | (#47074979)

lol no. They are still trying to do the "next thing" ahead of Apple or anyone else. First was the watch, now this, expect much more.

Re: 1st (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47076145)

I think credit for OLED goes mostly to Samsung.

of course (1)

samuraisiege (3664773) | about 5 months ago | (#47075965)

hmm yes of course

"Fairly far along" (1)

guyniraxn (1579409) | about 5 months ago | (#47076023)

That's because they stole brain juice from Zenimax!

Facebook already destroyed it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47076081)

Why compete with something that is dead? They're not setting the bar very high. It's like the Republicans this week that bragged nonstop for days because they beat the Tea Racists in primaries. They had no competition, but that doesn't stop those dishonest people from claiming a victory over nothing. Of course, if you can't beat a racist, women-hating group in 2014, then you don't deserve to win. Of course, that is the way of their kind. Oculus, like the Tea Idiots, is already dead. It is disingenuous to brag about beating them. Their statement was true, but false.

Re: Facebook already destroyed it (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 5 months ago | (#47076653)

What did Facebook do so far? Has the acquisition even been completed?? As far as I've heard, FB has merely given OR more cash resources to use, and have made no business decisions regarding future R&D and marketing of the device.

Re: Facebook already destroyed it (1)

GrahamJ (241784) | about 5 months ago | (#47082553)

If that's true then they're actually doing it right.
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