Bigscreen VR Brings 50 Free Channels To Enjoy Inside The Metaverse!

Exciting news this week from our friends at Bigscreen who have announced an amazing 50+ channels to enjoy in their virtual reality app either by yourself or with friends.  For those who don’t know, Bigscreen was founded in 2014 and publicly launched in March 2016.  I first tried it out using my Oculus Gear headset but the platform has grown in every single way since then!

So, what exactly is Bigscreen VR?
It is a virtual reality experience that allows you to watch TV shows, films, play games or ability to share your desktop for streaming purposes to view on their massive IMAX style cinema screens.  Meaning that you are able to enjoy shows and movies with your friends and family from anywhere in the world.  You can also play games together, work together or just hang out together.  Making it a very cool social VR experience!

If you have never tried any social VR platforms then experiencing things like this can be a little daunting at first.  However, when you first log in to Bigscreen (after registering etc) you are brought into your very own private living room.  It’s big luxurious space that is welcoming with noticeable signs of bling such as your robotic hoover doing the rounds but the massive flatscreen TV on your wall is the main focal point.  Obviously!  In other words, as a first time user you will not be thrown in at the deep end with anybody else.  It’s relaxing and quite exciting to see your new space!  Once you are accustomed and ready to explore outside your living room you bring up your menu to search the options available to you.

From here you are able to browse through the various shows/movies, how many people are in each room already or you can jump through the different locations available to get even more accustomed by yourself if you wish.  The choice is yours.  For those who are a dab hand, perhaps scheduling your own VR screening event is something that interests you, well of course you can do that using this menu option too!

Sounds amazing but how do I do it?
Bigscreen VR can be accessed by all major virtual reality HMDs (Head Mounted Displays/Headsets) – eg Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Go, Samsung Gear, Valve Index, HP Reverb, all SteamVR & Windows Mixed Reality headsets are supported.

How much does it cost?
It’s all free!!!  There’s no subscription costs, no ticket prices, no upfront lump sum, nothing!  Plus you are guaranteed the best seat in the house every single time!  Don’t want to sit in a house?  Fine, then choose the movie theatre, the campfire or even the nebula if you so wish!  No, I am not kidding… you can head into outer space, in fact, multiple locations are available so chilling on Mars with a movie can be done in 2019.

Bigscreen_moon
Ta Da!  Mars in Bigscreen

What can I actually watch there though?
Great question!  Streaming apps like Netflix & Twitch from your desktop is popular within Bigscreen.  When I jumped in I could see the following channels available (subject to change due to user geographical location):

Featured – Lobby, 3D Trailers, Pluto Movies, Pluto Spotlight, Twitch, Overwatch League, CBS Sports, CNN, Rifftrax Commentry, Bloomberg, Shout TV and Anime.

Movies & TV – Pluto Spotlight, Pluto Movies, Pluto Movies 2, Pluto Action Movies, Classic Movies, Comet, Rifftrax Commentry, Shout TV, Pokemon, Anime All Day and Anime All Ages

Games & Sports – Bull TV, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, RIU 41, Trivia Flash, Nerdist, Twitch and Overwatch League.

News & Finance – CNN, Bloomberg, NBC, Sky News, Newsy, C/Net, Cheddar News, CBS News, Crypto TV, RT America and Weather Nation.

Random – NASA, Monstercat, Chillhop, Fail Army, Hungry, Cats, 3D Trailers, Comedy Central, Stand Up and Bigscreen 2019 Update.

Featured: 3D movies

For me the showstopper and something that was completely new to me was experiencing a Star Wars Movie Trailer in 3D whilst in virtual reality!  I was sceptical because, well, I wasn’t wearing any 3D glasses (lol!) but by golly that was fun!  I watched and initially thought ‘yeah, that’s ok, it’s pretty good given we are in VR’ then my eyes completely adjusted and I was like WOW, that’s the real deal!  It really was in 3D whilst I’m sitting in a virtual reality IMAX theatre with other virtual avatars sitting a few rows in front of me.  It was so bizarre but also so magical!!  I’m not sure if it takes a few moments for eyes to adjust like mine or because I am a glasses wearer who doesn’t use the glasses spacer for Oculus Quest or whether that is something unique to me.  It’s not a common thing for my eyes to take time to adjust like that, however, I watched a Star Wars movie on Netflix last year and my eyes did take time to adjust then too.  So perhaps it is unique to viewing real world motion footage inside VR that my eyes can’t instantly compute.  Actually, thinking about it, I can take a few moments when in a real IMAX theatre watching a 3D movie. I remember Tron taking my eyes a few minutes before they could properly focus on the large screen and the 3D effects before I became naturally immersed into that too.  So, if you are short-sighted like me, you may also experience a few moments of eye adjustment… or may not….

Anyway, I was blown away by how realistic this experience was in Bigscreen.  I was actually disappointed that the movie wasn’t about to start immediately afterwards!  I’ve yet to watch a full feature film in Bigscreen or a full episode for that matter.  Both of which are now on my ‘To Do’ list.

Social VR surprise
I was pleasantly surprised by seeing folks interacting with drawings during a show, demonstrating a level of social interaction that I didn’t expect to see at all.  It looked quite heartwarming from where I was sitting that folks would play around with art/pens whilst at the movies – not something you see in a regular IMAX movie theatre anyways!  I loved it.

Bigscreen_drawing

As a fan of Social VR experiences I will be personally re-visiting Bigscreen to join more viewings.  I want to observe more avatar interactions during different situations to learn more about the impact that Bigscreen VR is having on social VR too.

Hopefully I will see you there next time []-)

Popcorn and movies

Virtual Reality AWE conference – #AWECORE 2019

As a follower of this blog you will already know that I enjoy attending social VR events.  This time I was asked to participate in one!

AWE is an annual event held in San Francisco that is attended by industry pioneers with their latest hardware and software solutions.  It is THE event to attend for anybody who is interested in the immersive technology industry.  In fact Forbes describe the event as ‘The most essential AR/VR Conference and Expo’.  This year is was AWE’s 10th anniversary and thanks to a VR Community initiative it was the first year that it was brought all over the globe thanks to the power of virtual reality – summary below take from MATRIXCORE’s website:

The #AWECORE Mobile Matrix Experience + Global Immersive Events:

AWE is going virtual with a jam-packed calendar of social XR events conceived of and organized by MATRIXCORE. The experience is highly accessible, supporting mobile, desktop and VR platforms. Connect with the global VR/AR community. Learn more and view the schedule of panels, masterclasses, live AWE keynotes, exclusive Q&As and networking events at https://www.matrixcore.co/ 

AWECORE Social VR HQ
The amazing Andy Fidel running the show at AWE’s Social VR AWECORE HQ

Accessible with cross-platform collaborations

Not only could attendees join using virtual reality headsets, desktops or mobile devices but there was also a mixture of virtual reality platform hosts helping out too.  This is the first time that I have attended an event in VR that spread itself out across the industry.  In other words, you could attend x session in platform 1 then attend another session in platform 2.  The Social VR platforms that were included in this 3 day virtual reality #AWECORE conference were: AltSpaceVR, Rumii, Facebook Spaces, Mozilla Hubs, High Fidelity, Rec Room, VRChat, The Expanse VR and NeosVR.  Major kudos to each of them for coming together and making this epic inaugural conference possible.

What’s the point?

Having a virtual reality conference in parallel with your real world conference is such a beneficial use of time.  Not only does it open the doors to new attendees but it also allows for vast brand marketing.  A win win in my book.  As an attendee you are able to be in the same virtual room with extremely inspirational pioneers in the field.  You are able to learn.  You are able to put up your hand and ask a question using your own voice.  You can connect with the speakers.  You can network and meet other audience members as you would in a real world event.   You can come and go and not distract other attendees or speakers.  As a speaker, it allows you to share your story with people who have previously not heard of you before.  Again brand awareness and association is a pretty huge benefit too.  It has just the same benefits as a real world speaking opportunity – great for your reputation & ability to speak in front of an interested audience.

For both attendees and speakers – you can be there regardless of your geographical location.  You save money on travel (flight) costs, accommodation costs, tickets costs, childcare costs, insurance costs and save yourself the stress & time that is involved in all of those steps too.  You arrive on time, focused and ready to start.

AWECORE Topics and Talks 

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The Hosts and Speakers

Speakers1Speakers2Speakers3

The VR Health panel & Experience

I was honoured to participate in a panel discussion alongside Sarah Hill from Healium by StoryUp XR and Veena Somareddy from Neuro Rehab VR and hosted by Chuck Webster from Health Systems Chat in AltSpaceVR.  I attend a lot of social VR events, meetings and occasional conferences so to be able to be part of the panel in Virtual Reality was a personal milestone for me.  Chuck had created a VR space that was a replicate of the AWE location to help us feel like it was the real deal.  I of course took the obligatory selfie as a keepsake!

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AWECORE Buzz

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AWECORE and Social VR (meetings, events & conference) Benefits

The most obvious is that you are opening the global accessibility doors by hosting panels and events in virtual reality!  I, for example, could not have made it to Santa Clara at short notice.  Attendees can save time, money and stress of attending an event if it is hosted in VR.  Locations can be fully customised, branded and created entirely as you wish!  You are able to learn and rub avatar shoulders with the experts in the industry.  Some of which you may never have the opportunity to meet otherwise.  You can ask your questions directly because you are there, you are present.  It doesn’t matter what you are wearing in real life!  It doesn’t matter where you are in the real world!  You can be yourself and not need to worry about, well, anything*.  You can access events by fully immersive channels with a VR headset or in pancake mode via a desktop, tablet or even mobile phone.

Stats and impact – coming soon…

Thank You to the AWECORE organisers, contributers, participants and attendees!

SocialMedia3

The amazing Andy Fidel was the Social VR event lead on this with a small team – Donna McTaggart, Jay W, The Outsider from Neos VR helped organise alongside Andy and I played a tiny part in that too.

Thank you to all the Social VR Platforms for providing Metaverse Spaces for us all to connect and enjoy these events.

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Roundup

I believe this medium is the future of events and conferences.  I say it time and again but it truly is magical.  Being able to pull a headset on and be part of engaging educational sessions with other people from all over the world is best experience aside from being there in real life of course.  Next best is being in attendance using a pc, laptop, tablet or mobile device.  History has been made with this event.  We have seen VR events in varying duration (Merging Realities being the longest of my knowledge being a full day event & also last year’s VR Day celebrations which was also cross platform) but #AWECORE has been 3 days of interactive events that was mindful of accessibility, gender equality and meaningful content.  Well done again to all those involved or who participated or attended!

Hope to see you in the Metaverse again real soon []-)

 

* Should caveat that you should be aware of your real life surroundings whenever wearing a VR headset for health & safety reasons.

Where can I learn more about immersive technologies and content creation?

As a virtual and augmented reality enthusiast I appreciate the importance of learning about creating immersive content.  If I were new to the field, I imagine it would be difficult to know where to even start searching for courses or where to go to start learning from the community.  Your location can be a pivotal factor when it comes to choosing what and where you can learn the skills required for creating VR and AR content.

I’ve tried to break things down by geographical location to help signpost some recommended courses in those areas.

Scotland:

I’m from Scotland and we have a few choices:
Glasgow School of ArtGames and Virtual Reality degree and Serious Games and Virtual Reality degree.  Taught by Dr Paul Chapman and Dr Matthieu Poyade who are pioneers in the field and I have huge admiration for them both.

WebXR Workshops Scotland – I have to confess that I co-host these events with the amazingly talented teacher Danilo Pasquariello.  I’m a student here too and the information that we are taught is fantastic and also welcoming to beginners with no coding experience!

Check out the link for further information on these meetups and get booked in for the next event!

Or if the location is a barrier for you then you may wish to check out Danilo’s Online Udemy course.

Canada:

I was excited to recently find out that Canada is launching it’s first Virtual and Augmented Reality Certificate courtesy of Lethbridge College.  I am a huge fan of Lethbridge College and Mike McCready in particular.  I first met Mike via Twitter as organiser of the Merging Realities – World’s First Full Day Conference in VR.  I attended that last year and you can read my blog about it here.  Ever since then I have watched Mike’s growth in the immersive space from communicating with the community online, learning and sharing his progress through his own VR Degree learning journey, joining the ARVRA Association as the President of the Alberta Chapter, continuing the Merging Realities in 2019 (making it an annual event) and the most recent Lethbridge College Virtual Reality Global Forum event alongside Inventures Canada which is taking place on 6th June 2019 in VR.

Suffice to say that you are in safe hands learning from Mike and the Lethbridge College team!!!  The beauty and appeal of this course is that it is only a 1 year duration which will be spent focusing on 4 areas:  fundamentals, experiential, spatial and application.  Perfect!  I really wish I was closer to the location as this is a course I would seriously consider taking myself!

Here’s the link for those of you wishing to view more details of this incredible course

Online:

If you are unable to attend these then you are in luck as I have some online courses that I can recommend for you too.

Udemy

I completed VR and 360 Video Production which was great for providing you with rules to follow for shooting 360 videos.  It was common sense stuff thrown in with a few hidden gems of knowledge nuggets that I personally hadn’t considered so that was time well spent for me.

They also have another Google AR&VR course on there called Introduction to Augmented Reality and ARCore.  I haven’t studied that but perhaps it’s worth a look.

Getting Started with Augmented Reality from the Insitut Mines-Telecom was my first encounter with creating AR.  Although I found it hard to follow in the beginning as a complete newbie, my projects did come together towards the end.  There’s nothing more exciting than seeing something you learned about online becoming a physical application in front of your very own eyes!

Udacity

Introduction to Virtual Reality by Google VR.  I completed this course myself and found it quite informative, even if you already know the basics.  Udacity also offer Nanodegrees in VR too.  I haven’t enrolled in that yet but I have heard nothing but praise for them so be sure to check that out too.

Unity

Of course, there are tutorials on Unity directly that you can learn from.  These were useful but incredibly dry to follow, however, for introducing you to the basic UI, components and physics then this is a great starting point.  Considering you have decided to use Unity that is.

If Unity is your game engine of choice then I want to give a shout-out to Awesome Tuts as I have completed an online Udemy course that they taught as well as follow them on YouTube and Facebook for their lessons alongside extremely helpful developer community.

Not forgetting the VRToolkit by TheStoneFox which is full of useful tutorials!

Unreal

As well as learning with Unreal directly through their tutorials (I haven’t tried learning this game engine yet).

Lynda.com

There’s a few on Lynda.com that I completed too nothing that springs to mind other than anything that includes Craig Barr.  I would recommend his courses and weekly news.

Circuit Stream

Circuit Stream offer taster classes and I found their lecturers to be easy to follow and friendly.  They offer full programmes as well but I haven’t completed any of those yet.

That’s all the courses that I know something about or have completed myself.

Newsletters

I would also recommend signing up to the VRARA Association newsletter so you are given information on when their free webinars are held alongside any updates.

Tony Skarredghost is such a talent and enjoys experiential immersive work.  You should sign up for his newsletter to receive weekly news round-ups.

Podcasts

FReality – a weekly podcast that is also streamed to YouTube that talks about hardware and game experiences across the vr spectrum.  Hosted by popular VR YouTubers/Twitch Streamers: Nathie, Mike (Virtual Reality Oasis), Rowdy Guy and Zimtok5.

The Virtual Reality Podcast – Hosted by Steven Sato, Alex Chaucer, James McCrary and Amanda Fox.

Voices of VR – presented by host Kent Bye where he interviews a wide selection of immersive technology community members.

Finally I learn a lot of information via AltSpaceVR through their many Social VR events.

I hope this is a helpful guide to get you started.  It would be great to hear your thoughts or connect with you on Twitter to share our learning journeys together []-)

Until next time!
Suzanne AKA TheHappyLass

What’s it Like, Attending a Memorial in Virtual Reality?

A beautiful write-up of such an emotional virtual reality memorial event for our amazing friend Chris Long.

Film/Gaming bits and bobs

My good friend Christian Long passed away a week ago. I had sent Chris a message a few days before, because I realise that I haven’t been able to say goodbye to him. I wanted to send a personal thank you, and goodbye. I knew nobody would read it, and he was long gone. It seemed like saying goodbye digitally seemed fitting in our tech-heavy digital world. However what better way to say goodbye to somebody who was dedicated to virtual reality (VR) than holding a memorial in VR?

I’d like to add some personal experience to this story for context first. I used to be a pretty hardcore PC gamer. I would game long into the night, and would be part of clans and chat groups. It’s led me to attend ‘virtual’ Christmas parties on chat groups organised by members of the group. It was a strange opportunity to chat…

View original post 1,087 more words

Oculus Quest – Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

(Source: Oculus)

#QuestCountdown is a closely followed hashtag amongst the Virtual Reality community just now.  We are only hours away now from hearing potentially crucial information about the much anticipated Oculus Quest release date.  Many of us are hoping that we will be able to purchase them immediately especially as it has been such a long drawn out marketing campaign from the team at Oculus.  Mark Zuckerberg first announced the Oculus Quest (previously Project Santa Cruz) at OC5 on 26th September 2018 and since then we have been drip fed snippets of details along the way.  7 months later I write this blog post and I believe that we are less than 24 hours away from being able to pre-order this latest headset and I am HYPED!

(Source: Oculus)

Announced on 18th March:
BeatSaber
Shadow Point (*Designed specifically for Quest)
Journey of the Gods
Dead and Buried II
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series
Sports Scramble
Robo Recall
Dance Central

Announced on the 25th March:
SUPERHOT VR
Space Pirate Trainer
Vacation Simulator

(Source: Oculus)

Announced 3rd April (Oculus Blog controversially title copy includes ‘Welcome to week x minus 1′ resulting in some criticism):
OrbusVR Reborn (*imaging designed specifically for Quest)
Moss
Vacation Simulator

Announced 10th April:
Apex Construct
I Expect You To Die
Face Your Fears II
The Exorcist: Legion VR

Announced 17th April:
Google TiltBrush
Thumper
Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs
Bait
Fruit Ninja VR
Rush
Chris Jurney Head of Development Strategy at Oculus said in this week’s blog due to the continued frustration of this long drawn out piece of marketing  – ‘I thought I’d clear everything up on our plans for launch of the device, when you can finally get all these great games in your own hands. We’re still targeting Spring! We’re actively working with all these developers and more who are frantically squeezing beetles, birds, fish, fruit, and air into tight binary packages for you to enjoy on Day 1 of Oculus Quest. I’m looking forward to that specific, tantalizingly close day in the future when everyone can enjoy these great games’.

Announced 24th April: (Comments from the public on the Oculus blog are getting progressively more impatient this week. There is also concern brewing that there may be no news about when everyone can finally get their hands on one during the F8 announcement at this rate!)
Ballista
Rec Room
VR Chat
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
PokerStars VR
VR Karts: Sprint

26th April:
National Geographic Explorer VR

The night before Christmas…?
With only hours left until we hear more from Oculus and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg we can only hope to hear something much more satisfying than the weekly snippets we’ve been used to over these last few very loooong weeks.  Ultimately the only piece of the puzzle missing is when.  When can we buy it, when can we receive it, when can we try it out for ourselves, just when?!

F8 keynote will begin on (tomorrow!!!!!) April 30, 2019 at 10AM PDT/6PM GMT.  You can watch the livestream online or in VR via Oculus Venues (so long as you have an Oculus Go Headset).  Links to register below.  I’m powering up my Go as I type []-)

(Source: F8.com)

More info and how to register for Oculus Venues here

Register here to watch F8 online

Sometimes some of the VR community host livestream events themselves so you can interact/chat whilst cool and interesting things are announced.  If I see anything like that taking place then I will tweet them out for you via @TheHappyLass.

Sleep well (if you can…) and I’ll you in the Metaverse tomorrow my friends!  #QuestCountdown

 

 

 

 

 

How To Cast Mirage Solo Virtual Reality Content To A TV

Hi!  I promised to show you how to cast virtual reality to a TV from your Lenovo Mirage Solo standalone headset.  I’ve made a very short tutorial to show you the steps you need to take to do this.  I also cover the benefits of using this function.

To be able to cast you will require a Google Chromecast.  If this changes in the future then I will update this blog post and the tutorial video so that you are kept up to date.

I’m happy to answer any questions on this subject or any other Virtual Reality related questions you may have – just get in touch 🙂

I have some more interesting videos coming down the line where I review new pieces of VR Hardware as well as a handy Virtual Reality headset 2019 guide to hopefully help you understand all the choices that you have available to you in the market space.  If these sound like something you want to watch then subscribe to this blog or my YouTube channel to be notified of all new publications.

Thanks and speak again soon!

 

The Oculus Rift S

(source: picture from Oculus.com)

The Oculus Rift S was announced at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday 20th March 2019.  It was a surprising announcement for the virtual reality community to hear as most were expecting details of the anticipated new Oculus Quest standalone VR headset instead.  The hype had been building for wanting to know the details of this new Quest headset as well as the release date which wasn’t helped by Oculus creating the hashtag #QuestCountown.  So for many, this announcement was an instant disappointment.  In hindsight that marketing strategy was a poor decision because I don’t think that most of us gave the Oculus Rift S a fair chance to blow us away as a result of the Quest hype that surrounded us.

Whilst on the subject of a poor marketing strategy, Oculus decided not to host a livestream of the announcement for a more global audience.  The previous day at GDC gamers were blown away by Google’s Stadia announcement that was livestreamed for all to enjoy.  (For those unsure: Stadia is a platform for game streaming using Google’s infrastructure meaning you can stream from browsers or even join live games by clicking a link to join via YouTube streams).

Google Stadia livestream image
(source: screenshot taken during the live announcement on Google’s YouTube channel)

However, VR YouTuber Nathie came to the rescue and decided to host a gathering of hyped up fans who were fit to burst for more Quest news.  Nathie hosted a live chat, social media scavenge and revealed the latest news from the Oculus Blog via his YouTube channel.  It was actually amazing being together at a virtual gathering and having the ability to chat with one another pre, during and post announcement.  My insight of mixed reactions absolutely came from this experience.  Brands who care about product launches and seek genuine ‘in the moment’ feedback would be wise to consider this communication style for themselves in the future.  Anyway, Nathie deserves a pat on the back for picking up the mantle and for doing a pretty impressive job of it!

Introducing the Oculus Rift S
First of all, the immediate headline here is that the Oculus Rift S is brought to us through an Oculus and Lenovo partnership.  I for one am extremely impressed by this collaboration!  For those of you who don’t know, I am a Lenovo ‘Super Champion’ meaning that I am an ambassador for their products.  I have the upmost respect for Lenovo in the immersive product space as they are the only company in the world to have brought a mixture of hardware products to us across the spectrum of Augmented Reality (Jedi Challenges), Virtual Reality (Mirage Solo and now the Oculus Rift S) and Mixed Reality (Lenovo Explorer) not to mention their high end gaming Lenovo Legion products.  I am also a fan of Oculus and part of their Oculus Start programme for the work I am doing in the VR for dementia space with Pivotal Reality.  The Oculus and Lenovo partnership in itself is immensely respectable as I think it sends a strong message to others that we must all work together in order to help bring VR to the masses.

Let’s take a look at the Oculus Rift S video and then discuss 1st impressions:


(‘Introducing the Oculus Rift S’ video from Oculus YouTube Channel)

Will the Oculus Rift S help VR go mainstream?
Don’t get me wrong I completely understand some of the feelings around this headset not giving us more experienced VR users the mind blowing wow factor that we were expecting.  BUT, let’s not forget there’s more to come from Oculus on that front!  So in the meantime let’s look at the Oculus Rift S for what it is.  It’s an evolutionary version of the Oculus Rift CV1 that was released just under 3 years ago.  It is a single tethered headset (meaning you have to connect it to a compatible computer) that has improvements for a more enjoyable gaming experience.  The improved optics, lenses and pixel density sound more pleasing to the eyes and the field of view has been said to be marginally larger than the tradition Rift experience.  Initial reactions from the VR community is divided in those last areas but everyone who has tried it out haven’t complained about the realism of the graphics or said that it is a bad immersive experience so I am optimistic about them.  The built in sensors coupled with the Passthrough+ technology is exciting because this takes away the hassle of setting up external sensors or risk of bumping into something in the real world environment.  In other words, it removes a barrier for accessibility allowing first time users to have confidence with an easier plug and play approach to VR whilst still enabling a safe roomscale experience.  Which I think it awesome!  To think that many of us had our first VR experiences on the DK1, Google cardboard or a Samsung Gear then this headset absolutely betters those experiences for first timers.  Another good thing in my book.

The new ‘Ergonomic halo headband’ with adjustable fit wheel for greater comfort is a smart choice of design.  I suspect that with the popularity of games such as Beatsaber where gamers are likely to spend a longer duration wearing headsets than ever before has been taken into consideration here.  HMD (Head Mounted Displays) in general have to become versatile to suit a wide range of user needs.  We need headsets that we can trust, are not heavy, will not slip, will not cause discomfort and can handle sharp/sudden movements.  I have yet to see or hear any feedback on this subject so I am led to believe that the Oculus Rift S must feel natural and live up to expectations here.  The weight balance has also been focused on by the Lenovo design team so I am assuming this was another contributing factor for this product design partnership.  The adjustable fit wheel is something that we currently use on the Lenovo Mirage Solo for example, as well as the PSVR headset of course.  Light blocking improvements have been made to the Rift S too.

Another positive for accessibility is the cross platform compatibility for the Oculus Store.  Meaning that owners of the original Oculus Rift can still enjoy their purchased VR experiences using the new Oculus Rift S and vice versa.  As a side note and speaking of cross platforms, it is an interesting fact that Lenovo have now worked with Google and their Daydream platform and now Oculus and their Oculus Store platform too.

The Rift S has 5 cameras to provide the insight tracking and many are reporting that the new touch controllers work great with this feature.  Ultimately your hands are tracked throughout your experience even when positioned behind you meaning that even if simulating a bow and arrow gesture it would be picked up in-game.  Very cool!  The cameras on the front of the headset looks distinctly like a Lenovo design and resonates that of the Mirage Solo’s design too.

Let’s talk specs:
I haven’t saw anything official from Oculus that clarified this for certainty but there are details being reported elsewhere for this information.  I’m not confident or in the know so therefore I encourage you to look elsewhere for this information.  From my research I can see that the Rift S appears to have the following:

Resolution: 2560 x 1440 (compared to Rift 2160 x 1200)
Pixel Density: approx 600ppi (compared to Rift 456ppi)
Refresh rate: 80Hz (compared to Rift 90Hz)
(Source: Road to VR)

Not sure if your computer or laptop supports the new Rift S?  Here’s a handy table with the specifications required to operate the Rift and Rift S:

Specifications required for Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift S (Source: Oculus Support)
Component Recommended Spec Minimum Spec
Processor Intel i5-4590/AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater Intel i3-6100/AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
Graphics Card NVIDIA GTX 1060/AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti/AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
Alternative Graphics Card NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater NVIDIA GTX 960 4 GB/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
Memory 8 GB+ RAM 8 GB+ RAM
Operating System Windows 10 or newer Windows 10 or newer
USB Ports Rift 3x USB 3.0 ports, plus 1x USB 2.0 port 1x USB 3.0 port, plus 2x USB 2.0 ports
USB Ports Rift S 1x USB 3.0 port 1x USB 3.0 port
Video Output Rift Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
Video Output Rift S Compatible DisplayPort video output Compatible miniDisplayPort video output

If interested, the Oculus Rift S will be released in Spring 2019 and will cost $399 for the headset including the controllers.

The only thing left to do now is to excitedly wait for further details of the Oculus Quest and see how it compares to its tethered brother!