Not all of the big announcements coming out of the annual E3 video game conference in Los Angeles this week deal with flashy new virtual reality or augmented reality. In fact, one of Sony's bigger reveals centered around good old fashioned TV. Sony announced that its streaming TV service Playstation Vue will soon be available to all Playstation 3 and PS4 game console owners across America, allowing them to purchase up to 85 channels separately or in various different bundles (priced at different tiers). The move could entice more Playstation owners to ditch cable TV entirely, ironically by imitating some parts of cable's business model.
The whole point of virtual reality is to offer up the feeling of being transported into another world. But currently, avatar facial expressions fail to live up to VR's promise. Interacting with another human in a VR realm has more closely resembled a conversation with Zoltar, the infamous robotic fortune teller.
While a bevy of companies are all trying to popularize virtual reality, some think that current VR technology doesn't go far enough. Oculus Rift and Samsung's Gear VR might let you see a virtual world, but a company called Feelreal is running a Kickstarter campaign for their VR mask, which aims to let your other senses--including smell and touch--in on the fun.
As anyone who has ever missed a freeway exit while relying on navigation software can tell you, even at its best GPS is something of a guess. With a margin of error of around a few feet, GPS is can be decent enough for guiding cars on roads, but the wide range limits GPS to environments where a few feet of difference isn't a huge deal. A new, hyper-accurate system, developed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, can upgrade GPS accuracy from a few feet to a few inches.
Virtual reality is about to meet actual reality. Oculus VR, the company behind the long-in-development Oculus Rift, has announced that it will finally begin to ship the virtual reality headset beginning in early 2016.
Virtual reality has typically focused on matters of sight and sound, but increasingly people are investigating a way to make those experiences tactile as well. A team of student engineers at Rice University has developed a clever pair of VR gloves that make it feel like you're actually interacting with virtual objects.