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3 VR Myths That Are Unreal

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Virtual reality (VR) has generated a lot of interest over the years — some good and some not so good. It uses computer technology to create simulated environments that allow users to feel as though they’re fully immersed — physically and mentally — in these compelling 3D spaces.

Not surprisingly, tech workers and other professionals who understand the ins and outs of technology have been among the first to dabble with VR software and hardware solutions. (For more on the hype surrounding VR, check out Tech’s Obsession With Virtual Reality.)

“I’m actually an early adopter,” says John Bruno, vice president of productmanagement at Elastic Path, an e-commerce company. “I’ve had a VR headset at home – PlayStation VR – for two years. I’ve also used other hardware setups to do everything from explore new destinations, consume educational content, build configurable products, and interact with a physical workspace.”

Bruno, who previously served as senior analyst at market research firm Forrester, says that the VR solutions available today are only a glimpse of what’ll be possible in the future.

But it’s precisely this future that Bruno alludes to that have many critics questioning whether the benefits of VR outweigh what they say are the possible negatives. No technology is perfect, and any technology can be misused or abused — and VR is no exception. This does not mean, however, that criticisms leveled against the technology hold any water — literally or virtually.

What follows is a look at three VR myths or misconceptions that don’t hold up to proper scrutiny.

Myth 1: VR Is a Passing Fad

According to Zion Market Research in a report early this year, the global VR market was worth $2.02 billion in 2016 and will be worth $26.89 billion by the end of the 2017-2022 forecast period. Looking at VR hardware and software for consumer and business applications, the research firm says that Oculus VR, Sony, HTC and Samsung Electronics are some of the key vendors of virtual reality worldwide. These players across the VR market are, it adds, focusing on innovation and on including advanced technologies in their existing products.

Dr. Hala ElAarag, who earned a Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Central Florida and who works as a professor of computer science at Stetson University, says that the convergence of artificial intelligence and VR will change both in important ways. (One area where VR and AI intersect is wearables. Learn more in How AI Is Enhancing Wearables.)

“The merging of artificial intelligence and VR will revolutionize both fields and will be very important for [the] entertainment industry,” says ElAarag, also a senior member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

It will also help the hearing impaired by detecting sounds and the visually impaired by detecting objects. The wide spread of 5G will empower VR. The high speed and the low latency of 5G technology will enable computationally intensive applicationsto be executed in the cloud. This will also have a significant impact on the esportindustry.

Perhaps it should not come as much of a surprise that VR has been on the receiving end of some pushback from different groups in society. After all, says Dr. Mehran Salehi, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyst with Southland Engineering, this isn’t the first time that a new technology has encountered opposition before eventually being widely accepted.

Salehi, who earned his doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Toledo, adds that negative sentiments surrounding VR will likely let up over time. In 10 years, for instance, VR could very well be the norm in the day-to-day lives of many people.

“My first experience in VR comes with the gaming industry,” he says.

I loved it. I was in a tech exhibition and they were showing a virtual reality setup … I loved it. I was like, “Wow this is amazing.” You go and by the time that you put on those, basically, glasses and the controller you really feel like you’re inside that environment and the way that you interact with the game changes a lot. After that, when I heard that VR is basically finding its way towards industry, I became more interested. I was like, “Oh, yeah, there are people developing code in that area.”

Myth 2: VR Is Just for Gamers & Tech Geeks

One research report shows that the size of the worldwide VR gaming segment is expected to climb to $45.09 billion by 2025. So growth is on the horizon, but it’s not just about gaming.

Bruno, for instance, highlights how VR could revolutionize the car buying experience in the future. While there are some people who love heading down to the dealership lot, looking at vehicles, and haggling to get a great deal, many don’t enjoy the process at all. But VR stands to make the entire process less overwhelming and more consumer friendly.

“VR doesn’t just flood the user with the sensation of being transported,” he says.

It floods the user with data. If you take the car purchasing process today, you identify a make and model you like and you then walk around a car lot to sit in different vehicles with different specs and trims. Imagine a VR experience of the future. Now if you want to see the difference between a black interior and a tan interior, instead of finding a different car with a potentially different exterior color, all of those options and others can change in front of you in real time.

And the benefits extend beyond dealership lots. VR technology will enable consumers to virtually pick up products, to spin the products around in their hands, and to examine every minute detail before making a purchasing decision.

Myth 3: VR Will Create Mindless Zombies Incapable of Living in the Real World

Will VR create a generation of people who are so removed from the real world that they can’t relate to, much less empathize with, other people? Quite the contrary, according to recent research. A study shows that research participants who took part in a VR experience focusing on losing a job and becoming homeless demonstrated stronger and more sustained empathy towards people who are homeless compared to people who simply read an article focused on homelessness. Other benefits of VR include, but are not limited to, boosting retention and recall, simplifying complicated issues and situations, and helping people with different learning styles.

VR — The Road from Here

While there is plenty of upside on the VR front, that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect. A lot of the factors limiting the mass market appeal of VR are hardware related, notes Bruno. But he’s hopeful that time will sort everything out.

“If Moore’s law holds true, we’re not too far off from closing these gaps and building truly immersive experiences,” he says. “Today, VR is ideal for scenarios where the user can be stationary and where the cost of the real-world experience is exorbitant or simply not possible.”

Source: https://www.techopedia.com/3-vr-myths-that-are-unreal/2/33864

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Trump accuses Apple of refusing to unlock criminals’ iPhones, setting the stage for a fight

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Trump just tweeted a tweet that might escalate a sticky situation into an outright showdown between Apple and the US Department of Justice — by effectively claiming that Apple is refusing to do its patriotic duty to unlock two iPhones connected to last month’s shooting at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida.

Here’s the tweet:

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

We are helping Apple all of the time on TRADE and so many other issues, and yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers and other violent criminal elements. They will have to step up to the plate and help our great Country, NOW! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN.122K12:36 AM – Jan 15, 2020Twitter Ads info and privacy43.3K people are talking about this

Yesterday, Attorney General William Barr accused Apple of much the same thing, saying that the tech company had provided no “substantive assistance” to the FBI in unlocking the shooter’s phones. But it’s a much more nuanced matter than that.APPLE HAS ARGUED THAT UNLOCKING AN IPHONE MEANS WEAKENING ALL IPHONES

For starts, Apple claims that it has been continually assisting the FBI with the Pensacola phones, by providing data backed up from the phones to iCloud servers and account information, as we reported yesterday. Apple says it’s handed over gigabytes of data to investigators, and has been responding to each request within hours. Apple also suggested that the FBI seemed to be satisfied until just eight days ago, saying that “The FBI only notified us on January 6th that they needed additional assistance — a month after the attack occurred.”

But it’s also not an easy matter to simply “unlock” an iPhone for the feds — even if Apple has refused to do so in this case, which isn’t yet clear. We learned this in 2016 when Apple actually did publicly refuse to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernadino shooters, leading to a protracted legal fight that ended embarrassingly for the federal government when it turned out the feds didn’t need Apple’s help after all — partly because it paid a third-party for a tool to break into that iPhone, and partly because investigators were able to find the password on their own.

I digress: what Apple claimed in 2016 was that it didn’t actually have the existing ability to unlock a customers’ iPhone for the feds, even if they were an alleged killer, and that Apple wasn’t willing to build a backdoor into every iPhone just to make that happen — because it could potentially create a dangerous loophole that hackers could take advantage of as well.

That said, a poll at the time suggested that most Americans believed Apple should comply with the FBI’s demands, even though a majority understood it might make their personal data less secure. Those are the sympathies that Trump is attempting to draw on now.

According to The New York Times, Apple is quietly preparing for a brand-new legal fight over the iPhone’s encryption standards and the government’s desire for a backdoor, but is also internally frustrated that the Justice Department hasn’t spent more time trying to unlock the shooter’s iPhone 5 and an iPhone 7 Plus — devices lacking Apple’s most sophisticated encryption — with third-party tools. According to security experts who spoke to both the NYT and Bloomberg, third-party cell phone unlocking tools should be able to break into the Pensacola phones as well. Both phones were damaged in apparent attempts to destroy them, but the FBI managed to get both devices to turn on.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has issued a statement in support of Apple and the need for strong encryption on personal devices in the US and abroad.THE GOVERNMENT’S DEMAND IS DANGEROUS AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL

”The government’s demand is dangerous and unconstitutional, and would weaken the security of millions of iPhones,” said the ACLU’s Surveillance and Cybersecurity Counsel Jennifer Granick. “Strong encryption enables religious minorities facing genocide, like the Uyghurs in China, and journalists investigating powerful drug cartels in Mexico, to communicate safely with each other, knowledgeable sources, and the outside world. There is simply no way for Apple, or any other company, to provide the FBI access to encrypted communications without also providing it to authoritarian foreign governments and weakening our defenses against criminals and hackers.”

Apple may have even more at stake now than it did in 2016: increasingly, Apple has repositioned itself as a “privacy” company, as if it’s the only tech company you can trust. You may have seen the ads. And while Apple has stumbled a few times already on privacy, that’s the image it wants to send.

It is true that Apple has benefited from a relationship with Trump, by the way, but not necessarily around trade — unless Trump’s saying that Apple is why his proposed tariffs on phones and laptops keep getting delayed.

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s tweet.

Source:
https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/14/21066270/trump-accuses-apple-refuse-unlock-iphone-barr-pensacola-base-attack-tweet

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Samsung claims 5G lead after 6.7 million shipments

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Samsung has claimed to be leading the way for 5G device shipments at the close of 2019 after selling two million devices at IFA in September last year. Samsung seemingly romped through the final three months with a total of 6.7 million 5G device shipments for 2019. The figure eclipses the four million target the firm set itself, though as its main Android competitor (Huawei) is being stifled by political friction, it is hardly surprising Samsung has stormed into the lead.

According to estimates from Counterpoint Research, Samsung’s sales up to the end of November give it a global market share for 5G devices of 53.9 per cent.

6.7 million devices is simply a drop in the ocean of potential and could be dwarfed by an aggressive campaign by Apple in the US or Huawei in China. As Counterpoint’s Neil Shah notes, Apple could gain instant scale with a launch to turn these figures around. That said, you cannot argue with the figures; in the absence of main competitors, Samsung is maintaining its leadership position in the 5G segment as well as 4G.

“Consumers can’t wait to experience 5G and we are proud to offer a diverse portfolio of devices that deliver the best 5G experience possible,” said TM Roh, President of the IT & Mobile Communications Division.

“For Samsung, 2020 will be the year of Galaxy 5G and we are excited to bring 5G to even more device categories and introduce people to mobile experiences they never thought possible.”

While many analysts do not share Samsung’s belief that the consumer is clawing at the walls for 5G connectivity, there are likely to be more sales across the year. Firstly, geographical coverage will improve to whet the appetite, and secondly, 5G will come as standard on device; device shipments will most likely organically increase.

What will be worth keeping an eye on is the choices made by device manufacturers over the coming months as flagship models are pumped and hyped at industry conferences. Perhaps the most interesting element will be the ways and means by which the OEMs work with Qualcomm.

It has become widely accepted that the latest Qualcomm chipset features in the majority of flagship smartphone devices throughout the year. However, this year some OEMs will have a choice to make; to integrate or not to integrate?

Over the next few months Qualcomm will begin shipping both the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 765 chipsets. The Snapdragon 865 is more powerful, though 5G is on a separate modem, potentially decreasing the power efficiency of devices. The Snapdragon 765 has 5G connectivity integrated, though is notably less powerful. Whichever chipset OEMs elect for, there will be a trade-off to stomach.

Looking at the rumours spreading through the press, it does appear many of the smartphone manufacturers are electing for the Snapdragon 865 and a paired 5G modem in the device. Samsung’s Galaxy S11, Sony Xperia 2 and the Google Pixel 5 are only some of the launches suggested to feature the Snapdragon 865 as opposed to its 5G integrated sister chipset.

5G might not have gotten off to the blistering start some in the industry would have been hoping for, but there is still plenty to come. With Mobile World Congress kicking-off in just over two months, there is amble opportunity for new devices to be launched prior, during and just after the event, while the iLifers will have all eyes cast towards September for Apple’s launch.

Source:
https://www.sunnewsonline.com/samsung-claims-5g-lead-after-6-7-million-shipments/

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Sony apparently can’t keep up with demand for its image sensors

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If there’s one common denominator among most devices this year is that they all have multiple cameras. And we’re not just talking about just dual cameras: OEMs ranging from OnePlus, Nokia, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and even Apple have come out with phones that have triple, quad, or even penta camera setups. More cameras don’t necessarily correlate to a better camera experience, but it does unlock more features and versatility that is normally impossible for one single camera to pull off correctly. This versatility is what has prompted OEMs to pack in multiple cameras, increasing the demand for different image sensors. Because of this, Sony’s semiconductor division is quite literally hot on their heels — so much that they can’t seem to keep up with the ever-rising demand.

Mr. Terushi Shimizu, head of Sony’s semiconductor division, says that “judging by the way things are going, even after all that investment in expanding capacity, it might still not be enough” when it comes to manufacturing capacity for their camera sensors, and that “we are having to apologize to customers because we just can’t make enough”, as reported by Bloomberg. The reason? The demand for their cameras as well as the number of smartphones being manufactured in mass with multiple sensor arrays. Sony is the main camera sensor provider for most smartphone manufacturers, and most devices we use nowadays have at least one Sony-made sensor. So even though the demand for smartphones has plateaued on a global scale, the demand for image sensors has steadily increased. Sony is even working around the clock to manufacture its in-demand image sensors, running its chip factories constantly through the holidays to keep up with the demand. But even 24-hour operations are said to be insufficient. The demand has grown so much that semiconductors are now Sony’s second most profitable business, only surpassed by PlayStation.

Sony is the manufacturer behind the 48MP IMX586 sensor which was, very easily, the most popular flagship camera sensor this year, featuring on several devices including several Xiaomi phones (Redmi Note 7/7 Pro, Redmi Note 8, Xiaomi Mi 9 line, Redmi K20 Pro/Mi 9T Pro, Xiaomi Mi A3), the OnePlus 7/7T lineup, as well as on devices from Huawei, Oppo, Realme, Asus, Vivo, Motorola, et al. Its successor, the IMX686, will compete with Samsung’s 108MP behemoth head-on featuring a 64MP resolution and will be featured on 2020 phones such as the Redmi K30. Sony claims to have a 51% market share as of May 2019, and its share is expected to have increased by a few percentage points in the intervening months.

Source:
https://www.xda-developers.com/sony-demand-smartphone-camera-image-sensors/

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