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Samsung reveals new development projects

Posted: 17 Nov 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wearables? IoT? VR? cloud?

Oculus Opens VR Headset

Samsung's prototype virtual reality headset generated much of the buzz at the event, where users queued up for two days to watch some of the 60 titles in development for the stereo 3D headsets.

The Korean company released an SDK for Gear VR that it co-developed along with Oculus. It pledged to ship a developer version of Gear VR, which requires a separate Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, in December.

The headsets provide a 96-degree field of vision capable of rendering 4K video at 30fps on the Note 4, though developers using the SDK were advised to target 1,024px x 1,024px eye buffers. Seventeen partners already have early versions of the SDK, including studios such as DreamWorks, Paramount and 20th Century Fox, exploring VR movie and game titles.

Oculus engineers previewed the SDK for an audience of about 125 developers. It includes VR libraries that fall short of a full 3D rendering engine but enable development of apps in a native or Unity environment, the latter geared to helping small teams crank out high-quality titles quickly.

Gear VR

The SDK and Samsung APIs provide a handful of key ingredients for a VR experience meant to refresh displays within 20ms of a user's head movements. The tools keep CPU and GPU clocks in synch, offer fine-grained GPU task switching, and support real-time CPU threads by locking out competing processes.

The tools use a so-called time warp final rending stage (below) that aims to help keep display refresh times in synch with head movements. It also helps compensate for occasional dropped packets, which Oculus engineers said are "not disastrous."

Developers were cautioned to watch out for latencies caused by some graphics tiles taking too long to render. They were advised not to defer rendering a tile or use multi-pass rendering in an effort to get better lighting effects. The best quality VR comes from "a pre-lit world," Oculus engineers said.

Max Cohen, head of mobile for Oculus, said the smartphone-based product will have less graphic fidelity and more thermal management issues than designs Oculus plans that won't be based on a smartphone. Neither Oculus nor Samsung would say when they expect to have consumer versions of the products or at what price.

"VR is still new, and we have a lot more work to do," Cohen said. Nevertheless, "VR is the next wave of software transformation. It's happening now, and it's really, really awesome."

Gear VR

Gear VR

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