Field of View: PS VR and Vive Pro toy with mixed realities

The biggest happenings in the wonderful world of VR and AR this week

Here we are then, back for another Field of View, where we take a look at all the happenings in VR and AR from the last week.

On Wareable, things got a bit risque as we took a look at the current state of VR porn - who's watching it and where - and whether it's proving as popular as it was hyped to be. Did you know that people are even using the PS VR for porn? Us neither. We also took a look at the people doing pretty neat things with VR and AR for the visually impaired. Some incredible stuff on the way.

But there's been plenty more that's been going on - let's get stuck in.

Read this: News blips and tidbits

Sony looking at mixed reality ideas for PS VR

Field of View: PS VR and Vive Pro toy with mixed realities

Sony is playing with some interesting new uses for the PS VR, reports RoadtoVR, including a way to let users position a third-person livestreaming camera in the virtual world. It's also toyed with a "producer on the couch" mode that would let another person direct the stream, altering camera angles and suchlike. Even more interesting, Sony's developers have considered a more mixed reality approach that would render the player's physical body to appear "inside" the game, not just overlaid on the virtual world (as we've seen done before with MR) but placed between foreground and background objects.

Sadly however, Sony R&D senior team lead Richard Forster suggested that these features may be too demanding on the current PS4 hardware, even the Pro, which is why they're not officially on the SDK roadmap.

Vive Pro gets AR superpowers too

Field of View: PS VR and Vive Pro toy with mixed realities

For ages we've been wondering whether HTC would open up the front-facing cameras on the Vive or Vive Pro for AR purposes. For the original Vive it never happened, but the company has announced it will indeed let developers make use of the stereo cameras on the Vive Pro using a new set of tools.

HTC will let developers tap into the cameras to capture depth and spatial information along with hand input. They'll also be able to move between AR and VR, creating the potential to build experiences that combine both realities.

The SDK for Vive SRWorks is available from HTC's Vive developer portal. No word yet on whether this could include the forthcoming standalone headset, the Vive Focus.

Google Chrome adds Rift support

The newest version of Google's Chrome browser has added Oculus Rift support (via Variety), meaning you can now browse the web with the headset and Oculus Touch controllers. To enable it you'll need to switch on one of the Chrome flags, but once you have you'll be able to view WebVR content natively.

Last year Google added WebVR support for Daydream headsets before making it so Daydream users could explore the entire web in virtual reality. The new Oculus support only works with the Windows version of Chrome, but opens access for higher-end headsets.

Google preserving historical sites in VR

Google is teaming up with CyArk, a company that uses LiDAR scanning tech to create virtual models of historical sites. The scans, which have not been publicly until now, will be made available to explore with a PC, smartphone or using Google's Daydream headset.

Sites like Myanmar's Ananda Ok Kyaung temple, which was damaged in a 2016 earthquake, will be reachable through the Open Heritage Project along with 24 other locations.

Play this: Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin

Launched last year for PlayStation VR, Double Fine Productions' animated Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin has now graced the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The game from Tim Schafer and Chad Dawson follows events leading up to the forthcoming Psychonauts 2 and reimagines the point-and-click genre in VR.

From what we can tell, this version is exactly the same as the one launched on PS VR. We liked the game when we played it last year, even if it was a little more restrictive and shorter than we'd like, but it's injected with all the humor and quirky world-building you'd expect from a Schafer production. If you were a fan of the original, this semi-sequel is worth a look. The game's currently available for the discounted price of $15.99 until 26 April when bought on Steam of Oculus Home.

Watch this: Behind the scenes on Ready Player One

If you looked closely, you might have seen the HTC Vive make an appearance in the Ready Player One movie. But turns out it wasn't just there to make a cameo, as the filmmakers actually used the Vive to help make the movie.

A video released this week shows how Spielberg and the gang used VR headsets to render virtual version of scenes, adjust camera angles and get an idea of how actors can move through a space. Interesting stuff.


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