If you want to know why magazine brands are investing in virtual reality, just look at the numbers. NYTVR, the virtual reality app launched by The New York Times Magazine last November, has an average of 6.5 minutes of audience engagement per session.
“That’s 6.5 minutes of people putting cardboard up to their heads,” Andy Wright, SVP, advertising and publisher of The New York Times Magazine, tells Folio:. “In digital media terms, that’s mind-blowing.”
On Nov. 7 and 8, in conjunction with Google Cardboard, 1 million home subscribers received VR headsets with their daily newspaper. With an invitation to download the app, and The New York Times Magazine cover story to match, readers were engulfed in a multimedia journalistic experience called “The Displaced,” which follows three child refugees from around the world.
“I really believe that weekend was a moment. Socially it trended all weekend long… There was a ton of press. So it really was a watershed moment that made it a much broader focal point for a lot of publishers,” Wright tells Folio:. “The Displaced” launched on the app along with films for two sponsors, GE and Mini. GE worked with the in-house branded content workshop T Brand Studio to create a custom 360 animated film. Mini joined the project with two existing films that were looking for distribution.
The New York Times now develops VR content across the magazine, newspaper, and T Brand Studio. An additional 300,000 Google Cardboard headsets were sent to select digital subscribers in spring. The app now has over 850,000 downloads and over 10 million views. New content is uploaded a few times a month, but Wright says that will increase exponentially into next year.
Source: Magazine Publishers Begin to Embrace Virtual Reality – Folio:
Researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON, Canada) have reportedly developed the world’s first holographic flexible smartphone. The device, dubbed HoloFlex, is capable of rendering 3D images with motion parallax and stereoscopy to multiple simultaneous users without head tracking or glasses.
“HoloFlex offers a completely new way of interacting with your smartphone. It allows for glasses-free interactions with 3D video and images in a way that does not encumber the user.” says Dr. Vertegaal.
HoloFlex features a 1920×1080 full high-definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) touchscreen display. Images are rendered into 12-pixel wide circular blocks rendering the full view of the 3D object from a particular viewpoint. These pixel blocks project through a 3D printed flexible microlens array consisting of over 16,000 fisheye lenses. The resulting 160×104 resolution image allows users to inspect a 3D object from any angle simply by rotating the phone.
Source: Canadian researchers create first holographic, flexible smartphone – Converting Quarterly | Fort Mill, SC
DJ Roller has filmed on all seven continents, gone into the deep with James Cameron and directed thrilling movies in IMAX and in 3D. But now the award-winning cinematographer and technologist sees the future of content in virtual reality.
Roller, the co-founder of NextVR, and his team will unveil the first broadcast production truck built exclusively for live and recorded events in VR.
“You park it. Get power to it. And turn it on,” Roller told Adweek ahead of this week’s annual broadcasting conference in Las Vegas. “It is designed completely differently because VR is a different medium.”
And now that headset viewing has gone beyond cardboard with the deployment of Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear and the HTC Vive, NextVR is increasing its output of content to one to two projects per week. And they are talking with every major network, event producer and brand.
“We’re speaking with every tent poll brand on the planet, even brands that you wouldn’t associate with VR, because they’re savvy enough to realize how powerful the medium is,” Roller said.
As part of a 5-year deal with Fox Sports, NextVR partnered with Toyota for VR content around the Daytona 500. “It woke up the entire auto industry and we had nonstop calls from other automakers,” Roller said.
Roller expects more live VR projects in “the coming weeks.” Don’t be surprised to see the NextVR truck pull up to San Diego’s Petco Park for July’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Fox.
Source: This Director of Stunning IMAX Films Is Betting Big on Virtual Reality | Adweek
The new device is available on the web site brando.com, and U.S. buyers can purchase it there.
The glasses-free display is a lenticular type that appears to be vertically oriented as a two-view device and also supports 5-point capacitive touch. That means the native 1280×768 resolution is divided into 460×768 per eye in 3D mode.
Powering the device is an AML8726-M3 Cortex ARM A9 processor operating at 1.0GHz and a Mali400 GPU running at 250MHz. Android 2.3 is the OS. It comes with 256MB of RAM and 8GB internal memory, with an SDHC card slot that can support up to 32GB. There is also a 0.3 Megapixel front-facing camera, gravity acceleration sensor, USB 2.0, HDMI output and Wi-Fi.