Headlines about virtual reality often focus on how it’s upending the world of gaming. But VR is also revolutionizing fields across everyday life — areas like medicine, architecture, education, product design and retailing.
A great example is Audi’s new virtual showroom, where you can explore each of their models in vivid detail through VR. The German automaker is using NVIDIA Quadro GPUs to craft a virtual showroom that lets you build custom configurations of any Audi model, and experience them in a number of environments.
Surgical Theater LLC is launching a new division focused on using their VR technology in surgery, such as for brain tumor procedures. They’re utilizing multiple NVIDIA GPUs and NVIDIA SLI technology to increase resolution and responsiveness. Surgeons, as a result, can “fly through” a patient’s anatomy prior to surgery.
And if the recent Hollywood hit “The Martian” got you pondering what it’s really like on the red planet, 20th Century Fox can help. They and partners are debuting The Martian VR Experience, an interactive, immersive VR adventure. It lets you fly onto the surface of Mars, steer at zero gravity through space, drive a rover and experience other key scenes from the film in a 360-degree VR environment. The CES demonstrations are powered by NVIDIA GPUs, delivering extremely high frame rates at high fidelity for the maximum visual experience.
These — and countless other initiatives — are coming onto the market now because of the confluence of new VR headsets and NVIDIA’s leading-edge graphics innovation.
GPUs are at the heart of VR, which demands refresh rates of up to 90 times a second for each eye. A truly immersive experience requires as much as 7x the processing power needed to display a game on a typical monitor. NVIDIA’s latest Maxwell architecture GPUs are optimized for VR performance with ultra-low latency, fast performance and new rendering capabilities specifically for VR.
Great software capabilities are also required for VR. And a number of companies are creating breakthrough new applications using NVIDIA CUDA, our parallel computing platform, and our DesignWorks VR software development kit. These innovators are merging the real world and the virtual world to create new experiences for consumers, educators, scientists and designers.
Jaunt partners with world-class creatives to produce and distribute premium cinematic VR content across a wide variety of experiences — ranging from narrative storytelling to music, travel/adventure, sports, documentary and more. Recently Jaunt has partnered with news organizations such as ABC News, SkyNews and Ryot to bring immersive 360-degree virtual reality journalism to consumers. Jaunt processes their content in the cloud using CUDA and NVIDIA GPUs, which is essential to their ability to scale and put VR content in the hands of people wherever they are.
Nurulize uses NVIDIA GPUs to process data from lidar scans to create highly detailed scene reconstructions used to bring real-world environments into the virtual world. Their Atom View technology allows vast point cloud data from the industry’s leading scanners to be imported and viewed without manual re-work or time consuming post-processing, allowing viewing within minutes rather than weeks or months.
And 8i is launching at CES their new 8i Portal VR player. They run CUDA-optimized implementations of their proprietary algorithms to maximize content throughput in creating stunning volumetric 3D videos of real people as well as using NVIDIA GPUs for high-performance VR playback.
In the areas of education and edutainment, Realities.io is providing virtual access to historical sites and inaccessible areas. Their larger-than-life journeys are created from photogrammetry, photos, videos, interactive elements and massive amounts of data. CUDA-based software from CapturingReality handles the processing and NVIDIA GPUs are used for visualization.
And in the area of product design, Ford is making VR central to their design process. With its Ford Immersive VR Environment (FiVE) capability — driven by two top-of-the-line NVIDIA Quadro M6000 cards — the automaker can evaluate vehicle prototypes in real time, in full scale and in context. It brings energy, emotion and accuracy to its immersive 3D visual environments.
Among classic buildings destroyed over the centuries by war, disasters and developers, few are as mourned as the Bank of England circa the 18th century.
The neo-classical masterpiece designed and built over the course of four decades under the direction of Sir John Soane stood in the heart of the City of London until the late 1920s, when a redesign altered it irrevocably. Soane’s work is still missed to this day for its remarkable use of natural lighting and impressive effects of scale.
To fill the void, NVIDIA and HP joined forces this summer in an effort dubbed Project Soane, which brought together some 400 architects from around the world to create a digital model of the original design using building information modeling technology.
We’re now announcing the second part of this initiative — a rendering contest that kicks off at Autodesk University in Las Vegas on Dec. 1.
The result of the competition will be visual recreations of several sections of the architectural masterpiece for the world to enjoy.
Soane, a professor at the Royal Academy, was appointed architect and surveyor to the Bank of England in 1788 and set about redesigning the bank in the neoclassical style.
But starting in 1925, the bank made renovations to expand and modernize the structure, demolishing nearly all of Soane’s contribution in the process. Some scholars consider it to be among the most significant architectural losses of modern times in England.
Rallying to our call, enthusiasts collaborated over the past months to digitally reconstruct key sections of this neoclassical treasure. With Autodesk A360 serving as a collaboration platform, the crowd-sourced team used Autodesk Revit software to create digital models based on original drawings provided by Sir John Soane’s Museum.
Now we’re inviting architects and visualization specialists to create renderings of the crowd-sourced Revit models from the first phase. It’s an opportunity for them to showcase their design visualization expertise. We’re especially excited to see high-quality photorealistic renderings created with GPU-accelerated rendering engines like NVIDIA Iray.
Participants can try out easy to use rendering tools like NVIDIA Iray for Revit and NVIDIA Iray for 3ds Max plug-ins. These apps simplify and speed up physically based rendering workflows. And Iray can be further accelerated when run on the NVIDIA Quadro VCA, a network-attached visual computing appliance that harnesses the speed of GPUs for massively scalable rendering power.
NVIDIA and HP will award the rendering contest winners some enticing prizes. So if you’re passionate about architectural design visualization, join the mission.
Hands off the steering wheel. Feet off the pedals. Sit back. Relax. We’ll take you on an eye-opening ride at next month’s GPU Technology Conference.
GTC 2016, set for April 4-7 in Silicon Valley, features an amazing collection of over 500 sessions and tutorials.
For the car-inclined, we’ll have an Automotive track with more than two dozen sessions on autonomous driving, driver assistance systems and next-generation human machine interfaces.
Our partners from around the globe — including Audi, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Eyeris and Elektrobit — will tell stories of how the automotive industry is being transformed, and how GPUs and deep learning are leading the way.
We’ll also have some of the coolest super cars powered by NVIDIA at the San Jose Convention Center. You’ll also see hands-on demonstrations of what happens inside DRIVE PX 2, the brain of the self-driving car. Try out the latest VR headsets and be transported to other worlds. And Gill Pratt, one of the world’s leading figures in AI and CEO of the Toyota Research Institute, will deliver a keynote address on April 7.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the sessions that should get your adrenaline pumping:
- Audi AG’s Marcus Kuehne and Thomas Zuchtriegel, in a talk called Audi VR Experience – A Look into the Future of Digital Retail, will share challenges and learnings from Audi’s work creating a VR-based showroom.
- Richard Membarth of DFKI and Christoph Lauer of Audi AG, in a talk on Safety-Critical Functions with High Reliability, will describe the new possibilities for crash prediction in embedded systems that are only possible by taking advantage of recent developments of embedded GPUs.
- The Foundry’s Vilya Harvey will share how Mercedes-Benz worked with his firm on next-gen digital user experiences for drivers, in his talk Hollywood Under the Hood: The Mercedes Concept IAA.
- Elektrobit’s Karsten Hoffmeister, speaking on Software Architectures for Autonomous Driving Vehicles, will discuss modern vehicle functions like advanced driver assistance systems and the rapidly growing demand for high performance computing power. He’ll also address the need for critical, highly reliable safety functions in the next generation of vehicle infrastructure platforms.
- Modar Alaoui, CEO of Eyeris, will introduce attendees to vision software that reads facial micro-expressions in real time for use in driver monitoring systems. He’ll also include a live demo in his session, Driver Face Analytics & Emotion Recognition Using Deep Learning.
Students and teachers, already adept at using tablets and games for lessons and research in the classroom, are beginning to explore how the latest in game technology – virtual reality – can transform education and game-based learning.
Nearpod Inc., a startup that makes education software for classrooms, recently launched virtual reality lessons for students. The lessons – which are currently used in over 10,000 schools across the U.S. – invite students to participate in interactive history, science, and math lessons all while in virtual reality.
According to Nearpod Chief Executive Guido Kovalskys, the most significant hurdle facing virtual reality in the classroom is the notion that it is expensive and complicated. The company is working to break this misconception by offering much of their content for free and relying on student-owned and school district-supplied devices like smartphones and tablets.
“I think once teachers have tried virtual reality with their classes, they will realize it opens up their students’ imaginations to the world beyond their textbooks, Chromebooks, and tablets,” said Rothenberg Ventures partner and Nearpod investor Brandon Farwell in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
Nearpod isn’t the only virtual reality platform making its way into classrooms. Last September, Google launched its Pioneer Expeditions program, offering thousands of schools kits containing everything students need to take a virtual class trip – from the Great Wall of China to Mars. The company provides smartphones, a tablet for the teacher to direct the tour, a router that allows Expeditions to run without an Internet connection, a library of 100+ virtual trips and Google Cardboard viewers or Mattel ViewMasters that turn smartphones into VR headsets.
“It’s a really practical application of VR and a way to use cutting edge tech for schools,” Jen Holland, Expeditions product manager told Smithsonian Magazine. “We’re not just taking old tech and throwing it over the fence. We thought a lot about how this would be helpful.”
Other international programs have hinted at virtual reality’s promise to change game-based learning. In the Czech Republic, a project called “The World of Comenius” employed a Leap Motion controller and specially-adapted Oculus Rift headset to demonstrate how educational applications allow users to interact with teaching materials.
“‘World of Comenius’ aims to utilize VR to show people things that weren’t possible before,” said project developer Tomáš “Frooxius” Mariančík. “Play around with atoms and get intuitive ‘feel’ of their behavior on the quantum level, swim in the cell or meet with people from history and explore the environment they lived in, while having feeling that they’re actually in there.”
Many teachers see the power virtual reality holds for the classroom when applied correctly. “I think it is so important that teachers are making sure that the learning activities they design with virtual reality are thoughtfully connected to learning objectives,” said Monica Burns, a fifth grade teacher and EdTech and curriculum consultant based in New York. “When it’s executed properly, and not just used for fun, VR can be incredibly powerful.”
Minecraft on HoloLens may be cool, but with Minecraft on Oculus Rift, you feel more like you stepped into the world.
Minecraft is a delightful and hugely successful game, but no one would say its success hinges upon realism. It’s blocky graphics, full of sharp right angles and huge “pixels” are far from realistic, but it gives the game a signature visual style and plenty of charm. However, it turns out that Minecraft‘s massive open-world nature makes it a great game for virtual reality. Microsoft already showed the game running in HoloLens, and now the company is announcing that it’ll work with Oculus Rift, as well. I got a chance to see how the game works with the Rift at Microsoft’s spring showcase last week — and despite the game’s blocky style, it could be one of the best overall VR experiences out there.
For starters, it’s worth noting that this isn’t a new version of Minecraft; it has just been updated to work with the Oculus Rift. You can play in survival mode as well as join one of the many multiplayer servers out there. Once you start playing, you’re presented with two different view modes. The first puts you in a virtual castle with the game running on what amounts to a TV screen in front of you. It’s pretty meta and rather funny to be playing a game inside of a virtual reality game, but it’s not a bad way to view things if you need a break from the full VR experience.
When you jump in to that full experience, the game shifts and you’re completely immersed by what your character sees. Because of the massive scope of Minecraft‘s vast 3D landscapes, it really does feel like you’ve been transported away from reality, despite the humongous pixels and lack of fine detail. It’s one of the best and more immersive VR experiences I’ve had thus far. In fact, that lack of fine detail actually helps Minecraft be so successful — the game doesn’t try to mimic reality. Instead, it felt more like I stepped into a cartoon.
The demo experience Microsoft was showing off goes through a few of the games signature moments — I did some mining, fought some creeps, lit up some caves with torches, pressed a bunch of buttons to interact with the environment and eventually rode a mine cart way up the side of a huge building. That was probably the best part of the demo, as there was a real sense of speed and height as I rocketed skyward. A later mine cart ride let me look around in 360 degrees at the vast landscape from way on high as it headed towards a new area, and there was all sorts of activity and eye candy to take in on the trip.
As with most things VR, it’s hard to do the experience justice in words, but I’ll just say that the experience really highlighted the vastness of the world and did a great job of immersing me in Minecraft. It’s a less radically different version of the game than the HoloLens experience, mostly because the Oculus version doesn’t have gesture and voice commands, but it still seems like a great place to go exploring. Unfortunately, there’s no word on exactly when Minecraft will be publicly available in VR, but hopefully it won’t come terribly long after the Rift’s release later this month — “killer app” is a played-out term, but Minecraft has the potential to be one for the nascent VR scene.
The OpenGL 4.5 and OpenGL Shading Language 4.50 Specifications were released on August 11, 2014.
New features of OpenGL 4.5 include:
- Direct State Access (DSA)
object accessors enable state to be queried and modified without binding objects to contexts, for increased application and middleware efficiency and flexibility;
- Flush Control
applications can control flushing of pending commands before context switching – enabling high-performance multithreaded applications;
providing a secure platform for applications such as WebGL browsers, including preventing a GPU reset affecting any other running applications;
- OpenGL ES 3.1 API and shader compatibility
to enable the easy development and execution of the latest OpenGL ES applications on desktop systems;
- DX11 emulation features
for easier porting of applications between OpenGL and Direct3D.
New extensions to OpenGL 4.5 include:
API & GLSL specifications
Virtual reality takes immense amounts of computing horsepower. Creating VR content takes even more graphics grunt. No surprise, then, that content creators have been asking us for VR-ready performance in a notebook.
Today they’re getting it. That’s thanks to a spate of new notebooks equipped with the power of our GeForce GTX 980 GPU.
That’s no typo. These notebooks use the same 2,048-core GM204 GPU found in our GeForce GTX 980 graphics cards. They’re equipped with GDDR5 memory, fast CPUs, multiple USB 3.0 ports and direct HDMI out, making them the world’s first notebooks to meet (and exceed) the recommended spec for Oculus Rift.
Run Unreal Engine 4? Not a problem. “The GTX 980 notebook includes a fully loaded GTX 980 GPU in a laptop form factor. It’s a great platform for utilizing Unreal Engine 4’s high-end features, such as physically based shading, DirectX 12 and virtual reality device support,” says Tim Sweeney, founder and CEO of Epic Games.
Power demanding VR games? Without breaking a sweat. “The GeForce GTX 980 notebook is a very impressive piece of hardware. EVE: Valkyrie runs super smooth on it with rock-solid performance,” says Owen O’Brien, executive producer, EVE: Valkyrie, CCP Games.
These machines are designed for heavy-duty gaming and game development. Both the CPU and GPU are overclockable. Many are equipped with G-SYNC display technology for stutter-free, tear-free frame delivery. And those are just the highlights.
Whether a developer is showcasing a new VR demo at an event or creating the next killer VR app, GeForce GTX 980 notebooks can deliver on the go. Borrowing a rig or safely packing one up to hit the road is now a thing of the past.
The first GeForce GTX 980-equipped notebooks will be available in October. The full list of OEMs include: MSI, Aorus, ASUS, Clevo, Origin PC, Maingear, Falcon NW, Digital Storm , Sager, XMG, PC Specialist, LDLC, Hyperbook, G-Tune, AfterShock, BossMonster, Metabox and Terransforce.
GameWorks VR SDK Update
To coincide with the release of this new hardware, our GameWorks VR SDK gets an update with the following features:
- GeForce GTX notebook support
- VR SLI enhancements when using Direct Mode
- Expanded head-mount display supported
- Bug fixes and stability improvements
Download our latest display driver to get the GameWorks VR updates. Stay tuned for more VR news at Oculus Connect later this week!
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