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Image Matrix Tech on Sky News: MIT Computing Fabrics

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In Sunday’s segment on Sky News Australia (Weekend Edition with Tim Gilbert) we looked at recent breakthroughs in computing fabrics. MIT researchers in the US are weaving computer components into the basic material that makes clothes.

Digital fibres could help reveal undetected patterns in the human body that could aid in early disease detection.

A digital fibre can store data too and the tech looks like real clothes. Ultimately it must work like normal textiles to have a future in smart clothing.

MARK ZUCKERBERG DETAILS HEADSET ADVANCEMENTS FOR REALISTIC METAVERSE

Mark Zuckerberg showed off Meta VR headsets called: Butterscotch, Starburst, Halfdome 3, Holocake 2, and Mirror Lake. These are works in progress but it’s clear the meta boss isn’t slowing down when it comes to the metaverse.

Setting up meetings is easier with the latest Quest headset and ‘Zuk” did a demo with a champion rock climber that even freaked the rock climber out while himself in VR.

The key to making metaverse work is making the metaverse as realistic as the physical world. The big challenges to solve are retinal resolution, multiple focal depths, high dynamic range. They also need to make the headsets, smaller, lighter and more responsive. Not easy.

Zuckerberg wants a billion people in the metaverse doing commerce like they do now in the real world.

END OF FINANCIAL YEAR SALES

I had look around for my Tim and our viewers to see what sort of deals are out there ahead of the EOFY. So here are some deals I found that start from a a couple of hundred dollars to more than ten thousand dollars Australian.

  1. LG C2 OLED 4K TV 65 inch – I’ve been testing it. It’s a 2022 model – $3795 ($700 off)

  2. Samsung’s 98 Inch 4K Neo QLED TV – $12995 ($4000 off)

  3. Google Nest Mesh WIFI – Home Base + Extender – $299 ($100 off)

  4. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro – $179 ($120 off)

  5. iPhone 12 128GB – $977 ($302)

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Apple

WWDC 2024: Canon and Blackmagic Design to Help Push Apple Vision Pro Sales

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Content is king and that’s why Apple needs Canon and Blackmagic Design cameras to capture high quality spatial and immersive video to wow potential buyers of Vision Pro headsets. We’ve been able to shoot Vision Pro spatial video for some time on the iPhone but soon professionals and expert amateurs will be able to capture better quality images, specifically for Apple’s premium device.

At WWDC Apple announced that Vision Pro will soon be selling in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Canada, France, Germany, and the U.K. More markets means more content.

At a RRP of A$5,999, the Vision Pro needs to blow you away. Fortunately there will be more ways to gather stunning content thanks to Canon and Blackmagic Design. One for the enthusiasts and the other for pros only.

CANON RF-S7.8mm F4 STM DUAL lens for EOS R7

The lens shown by Apple in its keynote is the Canon RF-S7.8mm F4 STM DUAL lens for its popular APS-C R7 camera. It’s under development specifically for Apple Vision Pro spatial content. The new DUAL lens will be available between September and December this year.

The RF-S7.8mm F4 STM DUAL lens features a field angle that is similar to a person’s field of view and it’s equipped with a high-speed autofocus mechanism.

If you can’t wait for the Apple specific lens then try the one below.

CANON RF-S 3.9mm F3.5 STM DUAL FISHEYE

The lens above is the (soon-to-be-released) RF-S 3.9mm F3.5 STM DUAL FISHEYE. It’s an APS-C (VR) lens and joins the RF 5.2mm F2.8L DUAL FISHEYE in the EOS mirrorless lineup.  

The lens will only be compatible with the EOS R7 camera at launch. The recording angle is 144-degrees but it results in a natural, forward-facing view of the world. It’s also the first 3D lens with Autofocus (AF) from Canon, with a One Shot Autofocus (AF). This helps a lot. You’ll also find a rear mounted filter holder for both screw-on and gelatin filters.  

The RF-S 3.9mm F3.5 STM DUAL FISHEYE is priced at A$1,999 RRP and should be available late June.

I’ve shot immersive 180 degree videos with Canon’s super-fast dual fisheye lens and although impressive, I really didn’t have anywhere to show them off. Although I tried my best in the Sky News segment below.

The Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye lens was the world’s first lens for digital interchangeable lens cameras enabling 180° VR shooting to a single sensor. Using a Canon R5 you could record 8K 30p. Resolution is extremely important when it comes to video on VR/AR headsets. The higher the better.

Apple Vision Pro’s ultra-high-resolution display system uses micro-OLED technology to squeeze 23 million pixels into two displays. Each one is the size of a postage stamp, delivering more pixels than a 4K TV to each eye.

That’s where Blackmagic Design’s URSA Cine Immersive camera system is set to reach new standards in immersive video quality on the Apple Vision Pro.

BLACKMAGIC URSA CINE IMMERSIVE

“We are thrilled to announce the first-ever commercial camera system and post-production software that supports Apple Immersive Video, giving professional filmmakers the tools to create remarkable stories with this powerful new format pioneered by Apple,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO.

“Built on the new URSA Cine platform, URSA Cine Immersive features a fixed, custom, stereoscopic 3D lens system with dual 8K image sensors that can capture 16 stops of dynamic range.”

Blackmagic URSA Cine Immersive uses a fixed, custom lens system pre-installed on the body, which is designed specifically for Apple Immersive Video. The sensor delivers a jaw-dropping 8160 x 7200 resolution per eye with pixel level synchronisation.

The custom lens system is designed specifically for URSA Cine’s large format image sensor with extremely accurate positional data that’s read and stored at time of manufacturing. This immersive lens data — which is mapped, calibrated and stored per eye — then travels through post production in the Blackmagic RAW file itself.

Cinematographers can shoot 90fps stereoscopic 3D immersive cinema content to a single file.

The camera comes with 8TB of high performance network storage built in. It records directly to the included Blackmagic Media Module, and can be synced to Blackmagic Cloud and DaVinci Resolve media bins in real time. This gives over 2 hours of Blackmagic RAW in 8K stereoscopic 3D immersive.

DaVinci Resolve with Apple Immersive video support for Apple Vision Pro will be released later this year. Blackmagic customers will be able to edit Apple Immersive Video shot on the URSA Cine Immersive camera. A new immersive video viewer will let editors pan, tilt and roll clips for viewing on 2D monitors or on Apple Vision Pro for an even more immersive editing experience.

Transitions rendered by Apple Vision Pro will also be able to be bypassed using FCP XML metadata, giving editors clean master files. Export presets will enable quick output into a package which can be viewed directly on Apple Vision Pro.

Blackmagic URSA Cine Immersive Features

  • Dual custom lens system for shooting Apple Immersive Video for Apple Vision Pro.
  • 8K stereoscopic 3D immersive image capture.
  • 8160 x 7200 resolution per eye with pixel level synchronisation.
  • Massive 16 stops of dynamic range.
  • Lightweight, robust camera body with industry standard connections.
  • Generation 5 Colour Science with new film curve.
  • Dual 90 fps capture to a single Blackmagic RAW file.
  • Includes high performance Blackmagic Media Module 8TB for recording.
  • High speed Wi-Fi, 10G Ethernet or mobile data for network connections.
  • Optional Blackmagic URSA Cine EVF.
  • Includes DaVinci Resolve Studio for post production.

DaVinci Resolve Immersive Features

  • Support for monitoring on Apple Vision Pro from the DaVinci Resolve timeline.
  • Ability to edit Blackmagic RAW Immersive video shot on Blackmagic URSA Cine Immersive.
  • Immersive video viewer for pan, tilt and roll.
  • Automatic recognition of Apple Immersive Video (left and right eye) for dual file stereo immersive content.
  • Option to bypass transitions rendered by Apple Vision Pro.
  • Export and deliver native files for viewing on Apple Vision Pro.

Availability and Price

Blackmagic URSA Cine Immersive and the update to DaVinci Resolve will be available later this year.

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Apple

Zuckerberg v Cook: Was Zuck Right to Address Apple Vision Pro?

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Please excuse me for using a few cricket analogies in this article about Mixed Realty headsets.

When Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg responded on Instagram to the launch of Apple’s Vision Pro, was it a front foot cover drive or back foot late cut to the boundary? Both are skilful shots in the game of cricket but the front foot drive is about power, grace and confidence – taking the sting out of the attack.

Zuckerberg’s video was recorded on the Meta Quest 3

The late cut is a wait-and-see approach without the aggressive power and flair. So did Zuckerberg play off the back foot or front foot against Apple’s impressive delivery? I think Zuck got onto the front foot after letting the first Tim Cook delivery go through to the keeper. And that Instagram video above, is a nicely executed response through the covers for four.

Cricket terms aside, I believe Zuckerberg was right to publicly back his Meta Quest 3 headset by addressing the massive price difference.

Apple’s Vision Pro

“I expected that Quest would be the better value for most people since it’s really good and it’s like seven times less expensive,” Zuckerberg said.

“But after using it, I don’t just think that Quest is the better value. I think that Quest is the better product, period. “

Zuckerberg pointed out the advantages Quest headsets have over Vision Pro

He didn’t mess around. If you want to dip your toes into the VR world then the Quest 3 is the best place to start. It has a rich ecosystem of apps and games but the main drawcard is its price.

“So when I look around, it seems like there are a lot of people who just assumed that Vision Pro would be higher quality because it’s Apple and it costs $3,000 more,” added Zuckerberg.

“But honestly, I’m pretty surprised that Quest is so much better for the vast majority of things that people use these headsets for with that price differential.”

Meta has invested billions in VR

And here’s the kicker.

“Now, look, I know that some fanboys get upset whenever anyone dares to question if Apple’s going to be the leader in a new category,” Zuckerberg also said.

“But the reality is, that every generation of computing has an open and a closed model. And yeah, in mobile, Apple’s closed model won. But it’s not always that way. “

I’ve used many VR/XR headsets and the Quest 3 is excellent. I’m going to get a Vision Pro for review purposes but at around 7,000 Australian dollars, is it really that much better than the competition?

Time will tell.

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Apple

Apple Vision Pro: The AR headset to rule them all

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It’s here at last! Well .. not until next year and in the US first .. but it’s fair to say that Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset is set to energise the AR/VR category.

Apple’s long awaited mixed reality headset was the last announcement at today’s WWDC keynote – also known as ‘one more thing’. Apple Vision Pro starts at US$3,499. This is where the Pro comes into the name. It’s well beyond the price of HTC and Meta models but it’s also more capable judging from the presentation we saw this morning, Australian time. Apple Vision Pro will be available early next year on apple.com and at Apple Store locations in the U.S – with more countries coming later next year. Customers will be able to try it out and personalise their fit for Vision Pro at Apple Store locations.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era for computing,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

Apple Vision Pro

“Just as the Mac introduced us to personal computing, and iPhone introduced us to mobile computing, Apple Vision Pro introduces us to spatial computing.

“Built upon decades of Apple innovation, Vision Pro is years ahead and unlike anything created before — with a revolutionary new input system and thousands of groundbreaking innovations. It unlocks incredible experiences for our users and exciting new opportunities for our developers.”

Apple calls the Vision Pro ‘a revolutionary spatial computer’ and from Apple’s point of view and non VR users .. it truly is. Apple’s new category looks remarkably polished. I’ve been a big critic of VR/AR in recent years. I’ve been frustrated with the lack of progress in the field which I’ve been covering for many years now.

PROCESSING POWER

Apple Vision Pro has 23 million pixels across two displays

The Vision Pro headset may look like expensive ski goggles but they are packed with new Apple technology. Featuring visionOS, the world’s first spatial operating system, Vision Pro lets users interact with digital content without removing the person from reality. Vision Pro features an ultra-high-resolution display system that packs 23 million pixels across two displays – that’s enough for the equivalent of two 4K TV screens per eye. This is critical for viewer comfort but not as important as processing power.

There’s a bunch of sensors, M2 processor and brand new R1 chip, made to handle the input sensory data the headset collects. The powerful M2 chip simultaneously runs visionOS, executes advanced computer vision algorithms, and delivers stunning graphics, all with incredible efficiency.

M2 and new R1 chips give the Vision Pro the power to render in real time

And the brand-new R1 chip is specifically dedicated to process input from the cameras, sensors, and microphones, streaming images to the displays within 12 milliseconds — for a virtually lag-free, real-time view of the world. A pair of high-resolution cameras transmit over one billion pixels per second to the displays so you can see the world around you clearly. There’s a digital crown so Apple Watch users will be familiar with its use.

NO HAND CONTROLLERS

The system also helps deliver precise head and hand tracking and real‑time 3D mapping, all while understanding your hand gestures from a wide range of positions. It’s untethered from a computational point of view but it does have an external battery. It’s good for two hours of use and doesn’t look like it’s a problem to use.

A pair of cameras and other sensors feed data to the processing chips

A high-performance eye tracking system of LEDs and infrared cameras projects invisible light patterns onto each eye. This system provides ultraprecise input without your needing to hold any controllers, so you can accurately select elements just by looking at them.

High performance LED and infrared cameras tracks eyes

To enable user navigation and interaction with spatial content, Apple Vision Pro introduces a new input system controlled by a person’s eyes, hands, and voice. Users can browse through apps by simply looking at them, tapping their fingers to select, flicking their wrist to scroll, or using voice to dictate.

ENHANCED SPATIAL AUDIO

Vision Pro analyses your room’s acoustic properties

Dual-driver audio pods positioned next to each ear deliver personalized sound while letting you hear what’s around you. Ambient Spatial Audio makes sounds feel like they’re coming from your surroundings. And with audio raytracing, Vision Pro analyses your room’s acoustic properties — including the physical materials — to adapt and match sound to your space.

AUGMENTED REALITY

Apple Vision Pro also features EyeSight. This helps users stay connected with those around them. When a person approaches someone wearing Vision Pro, the device feels transparent — letting the user see them while also displaying the user’s eyes. When a user is immersed in an environment or using an app, EyeSight gives visual cues to others about what the user is focused on.

RECORD IMMERSIVE VIDEOS

Featuring Apple’s first three-dimensional camera, Apple Vision Pro lets users capture, relive, and immerse themselves in favourite memories with Spatial Audio. Every spatial photo and video transports users back to a moment in time, like a celebration with friends or a special family gathering. Users can access their entire photo library on iCloud, and view their photos and videos at a life-size scale with brilliant colour and spectacular detail. Every Panorama shot on iPhone expands and wraps around the user, creating the sensation they are standing right where it was taken.

Apple Vision Pro also has lens adapters

BIG SCREEN ENTERTAINMENT AND WORK

With two ultra-high-resolution displays, Apple Vision Pro can transform any space into a personal movie theatre with a screen that feels 30 metres wide and an advanced Spatial Audio system. Users can watch movies and TV shows, or enjoy stunning three-dimensional movies. Apple Immersive Video offers 180-degree high-resolution recordings with Spatial Audio, and users can access an exciting lineup of immersive videos that transport them to entirely new places.

Spatial computing makes new types of games possible with titles that can span a spectrum of immersion and bring gamers into all-new worlds. Users can also play over 100 Apple Arcade games on a screen as large as they want, with incredible immersive audio and support for popular game controllers.

Environments allow a user’s world can grow beyond the dimensions of a physical room with dynamic, beautiful landscapes that can help them focus or reduce clutter in busy spaces. A twist of the Digital Crown lets a user control how present or immersed they are in an environment. 

USE FACETIME WITH APPLE GENERATED AVATAR

FaceTime calls take advantage of the room around the user, with everyone on the call reflected in life-size tiles, as well as Spatial Audio, so it sounds as if participants are speaking right from where they are positioned. Users wearing Vision Pro during a FaceTime call are reflected as a Persona — a digital representation of themselves created using Apple’s most advanced machine learning techniques — which reflects face and hand movements in real time. Users can do things together like watch a movie, browse photos, or collaborate on a presentation.

DESIGN

Apple Vision Pro looks like a mix between Quest and HTC Vive headsets. A singular piece of three-dimensionally formed and laminated glass is polished to create an optical surface that acts as a lens for the wide array of cameras and sensors needed to blend the physical world with digital content. The glass flows into the custom aluminium alloy frame that gently curves around the user’s face, while the modular system allows for a tailored fit to accommodate a wide range of people. The Light Seal is made of a soft textile, and comes in a range of shapes and sizes, flexing to conform to a user’s face for a precise fit. Flexible straps ensure audio remains close to the user’s ears, while a Head Band — available in multiple sizes — is three-dimensionally knitted as a single piece to provide cushioning, breathability, and stretch.1 The band is secured with a simple mechanism, making it easy to change to another size or style of band.

WHAT IF I WEAR GLASSES?

Users with vision correction needs will use ZEISS Optical Inserts to ensure visual fidelity and eye tracking accuracy.2

PRIVACY

Optic ID is a new secure authentication system that analyses a user’s iris under various invisible LED light exposures, and then compares it to the enrolled Optic ID data that is protected by the Secure Enclave to instantly unlock Apple Vision Pro. A user’s Optic ID data is fully encrypted, is not accessible to apps, and never leaves their device, meaning it is not stored on Apple servers. 

Where a user looks stays private while navigating Apple Vision Pro, and eye tracking information is not shared with Apple, third-party apps, or websites. Additionally, data from the camera and other sensors is processed at the system level, so individual apps do not need to see a user’s surroundings to enable spatial experiences. EyeSight also includes a visual indicator that makes it clear to others when a user is capturing a spatial photo or video.

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