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Image Matrix Tech on Sky News: PASSKEYS the end of passwords

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In Sunday’s segment on Sky News Australia (Weekend Edition with Tim Gilbert) we took a look at the beginning of the end for passwords. It’s called PASSKEY. The aim is to log in the same way you unlock your phone, using biometrics or a PIN on a device, like your phone. Google, Apple and Microsoft are all committed to PASSKEY and are part of the FIDO ALLIANCE (Fast Identity Online Alliance).  

HOW TO LEAVE LASTPASS

I’ve been a LastPass user since 2018 but sadly I’m making the move to another password manager. I say sadly because although I believe my vault is secure, the handling of this hack has not been satisfactory. A bad actor was able to gain access to customer vaults – which contain passwords – but are encrypted. Depending on how long you’ve been with LastPass and how complicated your master password will determine your risk.

Changing your password now is wise but it makes no difference to the hacker. They are trying to crack your vault using your original password on the version of the vault they’ve stolen. By all means do it but also change your vital passwords, like those used for banking and critical services. The risk is low but other data – not encrypted – like email addresses, websites etc that cyber criminals can use to build a phishing profile on you. So it’s not good. This week on Image Matrix Tech I’ll be showing you how to move to another password manager.  

APPLE CLOSER TO MIXED REALITY HEADSETS

At CES – VR/AR headsets were everywhere. But if they were really good – we’d all have them.  There’s solid speculation that the headset will cost anywhere between US $2,000 and US $3,000 due to the M2 chip it. Possibly later this year. Apple’s will have a the high number of cameras, and high-resolution displays.

This places Apple’s headset at a higher price point than market competitors. Meta’s Quest Pro headset retails at A$2,449.99. The word on the Apple device is that it will look like Ski googles, have a pass-through viewing and possibly external battery.

ECOTANK STANDS THE TEST OF TIME

In this segment Tim uses the example of a late night printer dash for a child’s school assignment. Often that leads to a parent buying a new cheap printer rather than an ink cartridge. I’ve been there several times! But for the last 3.5 years I’ve not had to worry about ink. Why? Ecotank.

Today I show in the fourth year of owning the Epson ET-4750 printer, I ran out of black ink for the first time. Using a spare bottle I topped it up and I’m up and running again. Hopefully for another 3 years. This a great example of tech that lasts and is good for the environment and for your wallet. 

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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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Augmented Reality

Professional Virtual Studio with LED Walls is Affordable: HTC VIVE Mars CamTrack – MWC23 Report

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Join me on the set as I test HTC VIVE Mars CamTrack with LED Walls.

This ‘affordable’ setup can be used with a green screen but it’s far more impressive with an LED Wall.

Small production houses can use this rig for a newsroom set, corporate presentation or live action shoot. So green screen or LED Wall? What would you choose?

Genlock, Timecode sync, and robust connections — all essential to reduce latency

Green screen is obviously cheaper but the ‘real’ interaction with light, reflection and the ‘feeling’ LED Walls provide is superior.

If you’re a presenter, you’ll really enjoy the support LED Walls give you by adding realism to the scene you’re in.

The setup in the video was located in the HTC booth at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

“The Vive Mars Cam Track takes the best elements of the HTC Vive tracking system and delivers virtual production to the next level,” Thomas Dexmier, HTC Vive ANZ – Country Manager, told Image Matrix Tech.

Thomas Dexmier, HTC Vive ANZ – Country Manager

“Compact, affordable, easy to deploy, it’s the perfect solution for indie content creators and studios to get to the next level in terms of content creation for the metaverse, for a TV set, for a newsroom, you name it.”

I think this is a great solution for TV news. If you permanent set isn’t viable, it’s far better to have a presenter standing on, and in front of, an LED Wall than a green screen.

Setup does take some work. It also takes a bit of understanding about how tracking works.

Here’s a great video demo below.

When it comes to pricing, A$8,499 will get you started with the Mars CamTrack system. You’ll need to spend more for the rest.

Thanks to BELKIN for supporting our trip to Mobile World Congress.

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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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