Facebook moved quickly to acquire Oculus VR—creator of the forthcoming Oculus Rift virtual reality headset—for approximately $2 billion. Discussions between the two companies opened less than two weeks ago, according to Oculus VR’s CEO Brendan Irebe. “We locked ourselves in the Facebook HQ and just got the deal done really fast,” Irebe told the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t want to disrupt the team and go through months of negotiations.”
Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly instigated the deal. “Strategically we want to start building the next major computing platform that will come after mobile,” he said on a conference call on Tuesday night. Zuckerberg sees the acquisition as part of Facebook’s mission to build the so-called knowledge economy. “There are not many things that are candidates to be the next major computing platform,” he said. “[This acquisition is a] long-term bet on the future of computing.”
Zuckerberg described his first time using the VR headset as revelatory: “When you put on the goggles, it’s different from anything I have ever experienced in my life,” he said.
The headset, designed by 21-year-old Palmer Luckey, has been available as a developer kit since March 2013. So far it’s primarily been used for video games (see “Can Oculus Rift Turn Virtual Wonder into Commercial Reality?”). John Carmack, co-creator of the seminal 3-D video game Doom, joined Oculus VR in August; many enthusiasts and independent game makers have already released games and demos for the hardware. This has happened even though the company hasn’t announced a launch date for a commercial version of the hardware. At this point the device isn’t expected to be released any earlier than the end of this year.
Facebook views the technology as more than a peripheral for video games. “Immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people’s everyday life,” Zuckerberg said. “History suggests there will be more platforms to come, and whoever builds and defines these,” he said, will shape the future and reap the benefits.
Asked on the investor call why the time is right for mass-market virtual reality, Zuckerberg cited the low cost of the necessary components. “One of the things driving this is that people can reuse components mass-produced for phones that can render a world quickly enough to not make a person feel motion sickness,” he said. “You need to render everything in a virtual world within 15 milliseconds, otherwise it’s too jarring and doesn’t feel real. For the first time, we are able to do that.”
OPP Connect Strong PolyBrick needs no mortar OPP Connect “The plastic nature of clay offers a potent material solution to contemporary generative design processes in architecture, which frequently feature organic and natural forms of increasingly...
An artificial leaf converts water and light to oxygen, and that's good news for road-tripping to places beyond Earth.
One of the persistent challenges of manned space exploration is that pesky lack of oxygen throughout much of the universe. Here on Earth, trees and other plant life do us a real solid by taking in our bad breath and changing it back to clean, sweet O2.
So what if we could take those biological oxygen factories into space with us, but without all the land, sun, water, soil, and gravity that forests tend to require? This is the point where NASA and Elon Musk should probably start paying attention.
Royal College of Art graduate Julian Melchiorri has created the first man-made, biologically functional leaf that takes in carbon dioxide, water, and light and releases oxygen. The leaf consists of chloroplasts -- the part of a plant cell where photosynthesis happens -- suspended in body made of silk protein.
"This material has an amazing property of stabilizing (the chloroplast) organelles," Melchiorri says in the video below. "As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does."
In addition to its potential value to space travel, Melchiorri also imagines the technology literally providing a breath of fresh air to indoor and outdoor spaces here on Earth. The facades of buildings and lampshades could be made to exhale fresh air with just a thin coating of the leaf material.
But perhaps best of all, a man-made breathing leaf could be the key to not just space travel but space colonization. No need to figure out how to till that dry, red Martian dirt to get some nice leafy trees to grow; we could just slap them on the inside of the colony's dome and puff away.
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When reviewing a building toy it's impossible not to make comparisons with Lego. Not only are its bricks able to build everything from dinosaurs to X-wings, Lego also offers robotics sets that have been used to make some truly impressive autonomous creations. And in that latter category, it finally has some competition.
The new Braille Phone, 3D printed by the English company OwnFone, further strengthens Davide Sher's conviction that 3D printing for people with disabilities will be key in understanding the possibilities of personalized manufacturing.
The third largest US aerospace company — Lockheed Martin — just published a very detailed “love letter” directed at 3D printing technologies and to all the engineers that are making them a reality, cutting costs and times while producing better products.