Virtual Reality in the heart of Belfast

Virtual Reality in the heart of Belfast

01 May 2015

What a couple of weeks it's been.  Fun and frustration in equal measure as we come to terms with the Oculus Mobile SDK.

The world of Virtual Reality is changing fast. A quick recap: 3yrs ago, Oculus pretty much owned this space. They'd stolen such a march with their Rift headset, Facebook stumped-up $2bn for the company. They have released two hardware Development Kits, but a consumer version remains on the horizon.

In the meantime, the competition hasn't been sitting still. Sony's Morpheus headset looks close to market, as do HTC's Vive and Razer's OSVR. At the same time, Samsung and Google are harnessing the power of mobile devices with Gear VR and Cardboard solutions respectively. Suddenly this virtual room looks pretty crowded.

So, a potted history of VR in two paragraphs. Concurrently, Augmented Reality has developed to the point where Microsoft is giving live Hololens demonstrations.  And you can be sure Google didn't pay $500m just to sit on Magic Leap. Here at Silverink, we developed an AR app that, when viewed through your mobile phone, places a 3D model of Titanic in your living room. This technology is with us now.

We've also been developing for Oculus DK2 since 2014, and more recently Gear VR. And the Gear is where we spent the past three weeks. Getting Android's Java platform to talk fluently with native C++ libraries has taken its toll (as you might glean from this rather fetching photo). But we have been guided throughout by the singular hand of a personal hero, Mr John Carmack. The great man's 3D programming skills have long been an inspiration; it's been both a struggle and an honour to hack through his code. That guy really seems to know his stuff :)

We are soon to start our first commercial Samsung Gear VR app - this one a series of interactive 360° videos. Stayed tuned for updates.

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