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From Facebook to Google to Sony and Samsung, the world's tech giants seem to be embroiled in a virtue of consumer-class VR (Reality, virtual reality) overnight. The arms race was founded last March when Facebook spent $2 billion to buy Oculus. The Giants ' death has become a bellwether for capital, and investment firms and more giants are looking for VR start-ups and companies to inject capital into the future.
Tiger Sniff recently interviewed the Storm audio and video CEO Fengxin, Ant Science and Technology CEO Dr. Shang, Idealsee and the virtual world CEO Song Hai Tao DR, lighting animation technology leader Yuan and Samsung China Research Institute of Technical Innovation Senior manager Zhang Jianjan, with them to discuss the virtual reality in the technical bottlenecks, The content ecology and the application foreground three aspects topic.
From military to civilian: consumer-level VR technology problems have been basically solved, the bottleneck is manufacturing
Song Hai Tao in the field of wearable computing/computer vision for more than 15 years, has applied for more than 50 invention patents and also concurrently ISMAR/ISWC, such as acm/ieee academic conference routine reviewers. Song Hai Tao introduced, in the global scope, the head wears the VR domain to divide into 3 technical directions roughly:
(1) The computer-connected head wearing VR equipment represented by Oculus. They are actually HMD (head mounted display, headband monitor), which can be called "VR head-worn display". The development of HMD has been about 50 years since the beginning of the U.S. military. Ant Vision Helmet is very similar to the Oculus, connected with the computer, computer operation and rendering and then transfer the image to the screen inside the helmet.
(2) with Samsung GEARVR, Google Cardbox as the representative of the intervention machine-type "VR mobile phone box." In fact, a set of optical systems embedded in a plastic or paper box, inserted into a smartphone to watch. Zeiss VR, Storm Mirror and Ant machine gourmands are all such mobile phone boxes.
(3) "VR Smart glasses" (soon to be released), represented by virtual worlds and Idealsee VR products. Such devices are built with complete computing, storage, communication, and interaction modules that can be used independently, without having to connect to a computer or cell phone.
From the military field to the civilian sector, sensing/tracking and rendering are technically virtually out of the question, especially rendering-the large host game manufacturer's rendering engine is enough to handle the excellent rendering on the "HMD" VR device, while the rendering engine of the hand-tour manufacturer can certainly give the "VR phone box" High quality rendering effect.
The real challenge is to show that the bottleneck in manufacturing is mainly the "sacrifice" of cost control and the ultimate experience that must be faced because of cost control.
1. Screen resolution: 2.5K is the limit of the current mobile phone screen
For example, screen resolution, it is obvious that the indicator of the level directly determines the user can see the clarity of the picture. Since no matter what kind of head-mounted VR device takes into account that the screen area required to close the eyes is actually comparable to that of the mobile phone screen, consumer-class VR equipment vendors are buying mobile screens--in supply chain management, the mobile screen can effectively control costs and ensure good yield.
However, the mobile phone screen can be produced at the highest resolution is 2.5K (2560x1440 or 2560x1536), can be configured to 2.5K screen mobile phones now have Samsung S6edge, Samsung NOTE4 (GEARVR currently only suitable for this model), Millet Note High edition, OPPO Find 7 and so on. "2.5K screen is now the limit, the sharpness of the bottleneck in the screen." "Shang told Tiger Sniff June, resolution and climb up, it needs the production process of the jump or even innovation." Fengxin a similar judgment.
Yu, the helm of Huawei's mobile phone, has criticized domestic handset makers for being too obsessed with screen resolution, "for less than 6 inches, the human eye can hardly differentiate between 1080P and 2K," it said, noting that a rise in screen resolution could lead to a decline in mobile phone endurance, making the phone "very poorly experienced".
But once connected to the VR screen-whether it's "HMD" or "VR phone box"-1080P's "Low resolution" experience offers a big discount to the VR experience. Tiger sniffing June in pursuit of light animation "Menshen" of the Conference experience Oculus DK2 resolution is 1920x1080, the particle sense make watch very play. Yuan Explain the reason for this granular sense is that the screen is divided into the eyes, the visual resolution is to be felt down to the 960x1080.
"Originally said 2K to 4K is not necessary, but in VR we (two eyes) cut everything on half, and then cut the Panorama One-fourth, the equivalent of directly to you six times times, eight times times down, so 4K of course need, and even 8K need." "Fengxin believes the mobile screen will continue to challenge higher resolution due to VR requirements."
Song Hai Tao told Tiger sniffs that their VR helmet resolution is technically capable of 5K (1920x1080x3.5).
2. Static horizontal field of view: the key to immersion
Another technical challenge is the Great view field (FOV, field of view), which determines whether you can experience real VR immersion and feel like you're really in a virtual scene. The field of view is divided into the static field and the dynamic field of view, and the dynamic field of view refers to the field size which can be observed when the VR helmet is rotated in the head, and the general dynamic field of view can be achieved 360° global surface based on sensors such as gyroscope. The static field of view refers to the size of the field of view which can be observed by the human eye only when the head is not rotating, which is the key to "deceive" the human eye to obtain the immersive VR experience. Static field of view can be divided into horizontal, vertical and diagonal three kinds, because of the different shapes of optical lenses, VR field generally refers to static horizontal field of view.
The official data of the new generation of Project Morpheus, which is said to be released in 2016 by Sony, is also 100°, and Shang's 100°,ouclus helmet is "slightly smaller" than Oculus. According to the evaluation data provided by Song Hai Tao, the actual field of view of Oculus DK2 is only 81.46 °.
Human-caused learning (Tiger Sniff: A study of human factors and science) the visual field of human eye overlap is 120 °. Shang that after the expansion of the View field, one is to continue to approximate 120°, the second is that in the process of each increase of 1 ° will bring the cost of a substantial increase-the field of view increased marginal cost increase, while marginal utility is diminishing, and the focus of human attention is mainly in the range of one-fifth.
In human-computer interaction, Song Hai Tao that, in addition to Bluetooth arm/pistol in the technologically mature peripherals, based on structural light or force feedback of the gesture recognition is mature enough, the latest speech recognition can be used in such systems. According to Yuan, the pursuit of light in the production of "Menshen" VR trailer, the attempt to "implant" human-computer interaction, through the Kinect, by the audience to play the film characters to achieve the audience in the way of action and content interaction.
Business Wrestling: Content Ecology decides protracted war who laughs last
Consumer-level VR hardware design and production has poured into global competitors, the focus of competition is to see who can break through the bottleneck of the hardware supply chain to jump to a new level of hardware experience, on the other hand is to see who can better build an inexhaustible content ecology-no content support hardware, Will soon be out of the historical arena, even if it has a better experience--for example, when it ended up losing to Sony in the format of high-definition DVDs--The former was in the game of six of Hollywood's biggest sources, and eventually lost the full game.
1. Oculus Platform (Content Store): Apple mode
Oculus is similar to Apple in the content ecology operation, has its own Oculus content store Oculus Platform. Oculus's rift and Samsung's Gearvr are buying content at Oculus's own stores. Zhang Jianjan told Tiger to sniff, the advantages of Apple model is not difficult to understand, to maximize the suitability of their own hardware, to provide content and hardware matching the ultimate user experience, the optimal rendering of hardware performance. When the tiger sniffs the gearvr, he clearly feels that the content provided by Oculus for Samsung is far superior to what the storm mirror and Ant view provide or support. In the form of content is also more diverse, such as watching video/film, with 360 degrees of panoramic video content, but also a general film but can be placed in the theater virtual scene, of course, and games.
Oculus's "Apple model" also builds a healthy business model in which a good user experience can persuade a user to pay for content, while continuing user fees will convince the copyright party to make/deliver quality content in accordance with Oculus's development standards. At the same time, the closed ecology can control the content infringement to a large extent, Oculus platform in its market not in place (for example, China) is unable to provide the content to the local gearvr user, the content and the equipment's close connection also extends to the business model.
2. Storm Mirror: Millet mode
In the Internet technology industry for many years fengxin, know that in this era and selling hardware than in the future to sell content more highly growth. Because of the maturity of the storm's audio and video, the provision of a content library for storm mirrors may be more natural for fengxin in terms of the expansion of resources and the construction of business models than for other vendors. In the current VR market (content Store) of the Storm Mirror, most of the content is free. In order to allow users to have an "inexhaustible" content, the source of the Storm video as "online video" (Magic mirror app function) can be translated into the Storm Mirror, through a similar 3D split screen system can actually translate the entire storm audio and video-owned pieces of the library. Storm Mirror also set up the first panoramic video shooting team in China, at present, the VR market already has the first domestic VR story short film "Adult Ritual" (film length about 3 minutes), there is the first home of the first person network homemade drama "Kara See the World", as well as a large number of panoramic pictures, panoramic video clips and panoramic games.
Fengxin for the Storm mirror to create the pattern and millet is very similar, with the lowest possible price quickly accumulate users. The current mirror Ⅱ generation Price is only 99 yuan, Fengxin told Tiger Sniff, considering the cost, this price "close to free." As of February 28, the Storm Mirror has 210,000 users-mirror ⅰ generation of 100,000 units, Ⅱ orders more than 110,000 units, has shipped 50,000 units. The huge number of users, the challenge to the content ecology is enormous, for a "VR cell phone box" like the mirror, the difficulty with product manufacturing and content operations is how best to fit a variety of screen resolutions, screen sizes, chips (computing power), compared to GEARVR, which only fit the Samsung NOTE4. , RAM, and so on. Fengxin currently gives the appropriate standard is "more than 1999 mobile phones on the market", most of the mobile phones at this price can be smoothly through the storm mirror to experience the content of the store's movies, panoramic video, panoramic pictures and games.
The low price of the mirror and the rapid iteration of the product plus the Magic mirror of the VR market continued, fast content update is a typical internet thinking style, with free training and education of users, while allowing a large number of users to test and participate in product iterations, so as to establish their own product ecology and fan community, but also to establish their own core advantages- There is no doubt that there are obvious traces of millet patterns in the storm mirror.
3. Ant Vision Technology: an awkward ambition
Ant depending on the content of the current support on the relative gearvr of the "tree" and the Storm Mirror of the "massive" resources do appear thin-no own content store, only rely on 3D screen software to support other 3D movie local video files. Shang to the tiger Sniff revealed, Ant team is developing a panoramic shooting game, support ant Vision Helmet, tiger sniff June experience the current version, have a certain panorama experience, but the effect is still passable, Bluetooth spear position positioning and triggering the audio-visual touch of the third experience jerky. According to Shang, the final improvement will take a year. In addition, Shang also said it is working with some video sites and gaming companies to expand content. Shang's goal is to reach hundreds of thousands of sales this year. But whether it's a gourmands (VR phone box) or a helmet (HMD), if the content ecology is still poor, Shang's ambition is difficult to achieve-consumers will not pay for the device.
According to Song Hai Tao, their "VR smart glasses" has not yet been released, there have been game manufacturers and video content to sign a long-term content cooperation agreement, once listed, there will be corresponding content to support the content of the product ecology.
The sustainable support of the content is like the supply of soldiers ' grain in the long war of VR. The so-called soldiers did not move, fodder first, and then a strong force, once moved to the front, the supply of fodder shortages will lose the battle, the fate can only be out of the battlefield.
VR Movie: Movie "Rules" rewrite, cinema or will disappear
VR has a lot of applications, remote tourism, telemedicine, distance education, simulation training, game entertainment and so on, "watching movies" of course is one of the application scene, and it seems that the VR movies in the business strategy of the manufacturers are invariably ranked in the forefront.
Earlier this year, at the St. Sundance Film Festival in the United States, Oculus screened its first film, "Lost" (Lost), produced by its in-house team Oculus Story studio. It is reported that the film is indefinite, can be three minutes and a half can also be 10 minutes-depending on the choice of the audience.
In the March 12 of this year, after the "Menshen" trailer of the Light animation press conference, the pursuit of light for participants to provide a special VR version of the trailer experience. Through the OculusDK2 to watch the pursuit of light specifically for this special version trailer. Trailer 90 seconds long, yuan to the Tiger sniff introduction, its production cycle of more than 2 months. If you follow the same working hours, you can almost complete the "Menshen" more than 10 minutes.
In Yuan's view, the biggest difficulty in making VR movies is not technical, but artistic. Take "Menshen" as an example, because the panorama itself wide field of vision, in order not to let the audience produce vertigo, Yuan's team in the story set a "clue"-through the action of the characters and voice position to "traction" "I" linear "development" plot. In the ointment, the part of the lens "dragged" into the stove, when the flames were blowing, the human vestibular sense illusion that the VR was "immersed" caused a certain vertigo-some of the viewers did not feel well in this section.
Traditional films are drawn by the action of the characters, whether parallel narrative or circular narration, are linear viewing-there is only the beginning of the plot and the only end of the plot. But in the panorama of VR, if still, "Panorama" is wasted. But if the starting point is too many and the end point is too much, traditional film creation and traditional movie viewing are not suitable for thinking and method. In the process of transition to new technology, film creators and viewers also need a process to innovate VR movies and explore VR movies.
The Storm Mirror's "adult ritual" was taken using the security of 360° "Panorama" camera filming production, through the "plane" of the camera stitching into the panorama, but the narrative is still linear, lack of interaction. Fengxin revealed that they will purchase at least 500 such devices this year, some of these devices storm their own team will go to shoot, the other part will be given to the external team to shoot, fengxin not only to allow a large number of users to constantly test equipment, but also to "mass" producers to continuously test and explore VR creative new ideas and new methods.
The innovation of 3D and IMAX films is still around the flat screen, and VR movies will be a revolutionary re-creation. It's not just a new journey to film and create, but also a huge shift in the way and the scene--people can put on VR glasses and place themselves in virtual theater scenes, whether it's an acquaintance or a stranger socializing, it can be done in the same virtual studio, including VR glasses and voice devices, and body sense devices. If the social function of a cinema is replaced by a VR device, and the audio-visual experience of the VR device becomes more immersed in the cinema, the cinema will disappear and no longer be alarmist.
The rapid development of VR technology is exciting, but its latent danger will gradually spread in the future. Indulging in the virtual world may bring the illusion of mental hypnosis, "Inception" there is a plot described in a basement, many people through the drug to immerse themselves in the dream escape; and facilitate the terrorists in the virtual space to complete military combat training (the game of VR has reached a considerable degree of simulation).
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