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google wired culture

Google Glass teardown puts rock-bottom price on hardware • The Register

Google Glass OOB Experience 27126
Google Glass OOB Experience 27126 (Photo credit: tedeytan)

A teardown report on Google Glass is raising eyebrows over suggestions that the augmented reality headset costs as little as $80 to produce.

via Google Glass teardown puts rock-bottom price on hardware • The Register.

One more reason to not be a Glasshole is you don’t want to be a sucker. Given what the Oculus Rift is being sold for versus Google Glass, one has to ask themselves why is Glass so much more expensive? It doesn’t do low latency stereoscopic 3D. It doesn’t have special eye adapters PROVIDED depending on your eyeglass correction. Glass requires you to provided prescription lenses if you really needed them. It doesn’t have large, full color, high rez AMOLED display. So why $1500 when Rift is $350? And even the recently announced Epson Moverio is priced at $700.

These days with the proliferation of teardown sites and the experts at iFixit and their partners at Chipworks, it’s just a matter of time before someone writes up your Bill of Materials (BOM). Once that’s hit the Interwebs and communicated widely all the business analysts and Wall Street Hedgefunders know how to predict the profit of the company based on sales. If Google retails Glass at the same price it is the development kits, it’s going to be real difficult to compete for very long given lower price and more capable alternatives. I appreciate what Google’s done making it lightweight and power efficient, but it’s still $80 in parts being sold at a mark-up of $1500. That’s the bottom line, that’s the Bill of Materials.

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art entertainment wired culture

Jaunt – Meet the Crazy Camera That Can Make Movies for the Oculus Rift (Jordan Kushins-Gizmodo)

Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift (Photo credit: Digitas Photos)

If Facebook buying Oculus for a cool $2 billion is a step towards democratizing the currently-niche platform, Jaunt seems like an equally monumental step towards making awesome virtual reality content that appeals to folks beyond the gaming community. The VR movies in addition to VR games.

via Meet the Crazy Camera That Can Make Movies for the Oculus Rift.

Amazing story about a stealthy little company with a 3D video recording rig. This isn’t James Cameron like motion capture for 3D rendering. This is just 2D video in real time stitched together. No modeling, or texture-mapping, or animating required. Just run the video camera, capture the footage, bring it back to the studio and stitch it all together. Watch the production on your Oculus Rift head set. If you can produce 3D movies with this without having to invest in the James Cameron high end, ultra-expensive virtual sets, you just lowered the barriers to entry.

I’m also kind of disappointed that in the article the author keeps insisting that you “had to be there”. Telling us words cannot express the experience is like telling me in writing the “dog ate my homework”. I guess I “had to be there” for that too. Anyway you put it, telling me more about the company and the premises and about the prototypes means you’re writing for a Venture Capital audience, not someone who might make work using the camera or those who might consume the work made by the artists working with the camera. I say just cave into the temptation and TRY expressing the experience in words. Don’t worry if you fail, as you’ve just increased the comment rate on your story, engaging people longer after the initial date the story was published. In spite off the lack of daring, to describe the experience, I picked up enough detail, extrapolated it enough and read between the lines in a way that indicates this camera rig might well be the killer app, or authoring app for the Oculus Rift platform. Let’s hope it sees the light of day and makes it market quicker than the Google Glass prototypes floating around these days.

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gpu science & technology

Virtual Reality | Oculus Rift – Consumer Reports

Oculus Intel
Oculus Intel (Photo credit: .michael.newman.)

Imagine being able to immerse yourself in another world, without the limitations of a TV or movie screen. Virtual reality has been a dream for years, but judging by current trends, it may not be just a dream for much longer.

via Virtual Reality | Oculus Rift – Consumer Reports.

I won’t claim that when a technology gets written up in Consumer Reports it has “jumped the shark”, no. Instead I would rather give Consumer Reports kudos for keeping tabs on others writing up and lauding the Oculus Rift VR headset. The specifications of this device continue to improve even before it is hitting the market. Hopes are still high for the prices to be reasonable (really it needs to cost no more than a bottom of the line iPad if there’s any hope of it taking off). Whether the price meets everyone’s expectations is very dependent on the sources for the materials going into the headset, and the single most expensive item are the displays.

OLED (Organic LED) has been used in mobile phones to great effect, the displays use less power and have somewhat brighter color than backlit LCD panels. But they cost more, and the bigger the display the higher the cost. The developers of Oculus Rift have now pressed the cost maybe a little higher by choosing to go with a very high refresh rate and low latency for the OLED screens in the headset. This came after first wave of user feedback indicating too much lag and subsequent headaches due to the screen not keeping up with head movements (this is a classical downfall of most VR headsets no matter the display technology). However Oculus Rift has continued to work on the lag in the current generation head set and by all accounts it’s nearly ready for public consumption. It’s true, they might have fixed the lag issue and most beta testers to date are complimenting the changes in the hardware. This might be the device that launches a thousand 3D headsets.

As 3D goes, the market and appeal may be very limited, that historically has been the case. Whether it was used in academia for data visualization or in the military for simulation, 3D Virtual Reality was an expensive niche catering to people with lots of money to spend. Because Oculus Rift was targeted at a lower price range, but with fantastic performance visually speaking who knows what market may follow it’s actual release. So as everyone is whipped up into a frenzy over the final release of the Oculus Rift VR Headset, keep an eye out for this. It’s going to be hot item in limited supply for a while I would bet. And yes, I do think I would love to try one out myself, not just for gaming purposes but for any of the as yet unseen applications it might have (like the next Windows OS or Mac OS?)

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art gpu mobile

AnandTech | The Pixel Density Race and its Technical Merits

Italiano: Descrizione di un pixel
Italiano: Descrizione di un pixel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If there is any single number that people point to for resolution, it is the 1 arcminute value that Apple uses to indicate a “Retina Display”.

via AnandTech | The Pixel Density Race and its Technical Merits.

Earlier in my job where I work, I had to try and recommend the resolution people needed to get a good picture using a scanner or a digital camera. As we know the resolution arms race knows no bounds. First in scanners then in digital cameras. The same is true now for displays. How fine is fine enough. Is it noticeable, is it beneficial? The technical limits that enforce lower resolution usually are tied to costs. For the consumer level product cost has to fit into a narrow range, and the perceived benefit of “higher quality” or sharpness are rarely enough to get someone to spend more. But as phones can be upgraded for free and printers and scanners are now commodity items, you just keep slowly migrating up to the next model for little to no entry threshold cost. And everything is just ‘better’, all higher rez, and therefore by association higher quality, sharper, etc.

I used to quote or try to pin down a rule of thumb I found once regarding the acuity of the human eye. Some of this was just gained  by noticing things when I started out using Photoshop and trying to print to Imagesetters and Laser Printers. At some point in the past someone decided 300 dpi is what a laser printer needed in order to reproduce text on letter size paper. As for displays, I bumped into a quote from an IBM study on visual acuity that indicated the human eye can discern display pixels in the 225 ppi range. I tried many times to find the actual publication where that appears so I could site it. But no luck, I only found it as a footnote on a webpage from another manufacturer. Now in this article we get more stats on human vision, much more extensive than that vague footnote all those years ago.

What can one conclude from all the data in this article? Just the same thing, that resolution arms races are still being waged by manufacturers. This time however it’s in mobile phones, not printers, not scanners, not digital cameras. Those battles were fought and now there’s damned little product differentiation. Mobile phones will fall into that pattern and people will be less and less Apple fanbois or Samsung fanbois. We’ll all just upgrade to a newer version of whatever phone is cheap and expect to always have the increased spec hardware, and higher resolution, better quality, all that jazz. It is one more case where everything old is new again. My suspicion is we’ll see this happen when a true VR goggle hits the market with real competitors attempting to gain advantage with technical superiority or more research and development. Bring on the the VR Wars I say.

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