SteamVR Drops Support for Mac Customers

· Andrew Orr · Link

Steam logo

Steam announced today that SteamVR is dropping support for macOS so the team can focus on Windows and Linux.

We recommend that macOS users continue to opt into the SteamVR [macos]branches for access to legacy builds.

Users can opt into a branch by right-clicking on SteamVR in Steam, and selecting Properties… -> Betas.

SteamVR first came to the Mac in 2017 when Apple added support for external GPUs. They’re most likely reacting to a lack of interest on the part of users and a lack of commitment on Apple’s part.

Russian Dairy Cows Wear VR Headsets to Reduce Anxiety

· Andrew Orr · Link

The RusMoloko farm is experimenting with giving cows VR headsets. They claim it can reduce anxiety and thereby increase milk production.

“Examples of dairy farms from different countries show that in a calm atmosphere, the quantity, and sometimes the quality, of milk increases markedly,” it read.

Researchers will examine the effects of the programme in a long-term study. The developers reportedly hope to expand the project if positive results continue.

Apple Patents a Mixed Reality Sensory System

· Andrew Orr · News

Apple has filed four patents regarding a mixed reality sensory system to be used with a headset, and today a fifth patent was published.

A VR Version of Milgram’s Shocking Experiment

· Andrew Orr · Link

Stanley Milgram’s most famous experiment involved taking random people and telling them to electrocute someone who they thought got wrong answers on a quiz. Now there’s a virtual reality version, and the results prove insightful.

During the experiment, participants quizzed a virtual character. A correct answer meant they could move on, while an incorrect answer meant the human participant had to administer a virtual electrical jolt. The scientists noticed that participants sometimes tried to feed the virtual avatar the correct answer by pronouncing it louder — in hopes that they wouldn’t be told to shock them.

HTC Shows Eye-Tracking Tech in Vive VR Headsets

· Bryan Chaffin · Link

HTC Vive VR Headset Promo Shot

HTC showed off a new eye-tracking tech in its Vive VR headset line. Vive is aimed at the VR world, rather than the AR world being targeted by Apple, but AR and VR are kissing cousins, and this is interesting. The idea is simply that the headset can track your eye movements, which can then be used to activate menu and navigation controls. I think Apple is right to focus on AR, but there is obviously a big future in VR, too, and if HTC can bring this to market, it will make them a real player in that space. TheNextWeb has a good writeup from CES on this:

The biggest splashes came in the form of the new Cosmos hardware (an Oculus Go/Quest competitor) and a new eye-tracking system to be debuted in an update to the Vive Pro called “Vive Pro Eye.” Eye-tracking is a big deal for VR. The Vive Pro Eye, according to HTC, will accurately monitor users’ eye movements inside the headset.

Turning Van Gogh's Starry Night into a 3D Scene

· Bryan Chaffin · Cool Stuff Found

Check out this amazing video from Motion Magic, a Chinese digital arts firm. They turned Vincent Van Gohg’s Starry Night into a VR scene, and made this video walk-through of that scene. It essentially turns the painting into a 3D work of art, and I think it’s beautiful.

Apple Joins WebVR Community Group

· Jeff Gamet · News

Apple engineers participating in WebVR Community Group

Apple may be showing its stronger commitment to supporting virtual reality by joining the WebVR Community Group.

Apple is Converting Mac Pro From a Fad to a Monster Graphics Platform

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Capt. Picard and Lt. Cmdr Data.

In 2008, the venerable cheese grater Mac Pro was designed for Apple customers who needed high end performance and expandability. In 2013, Apple shifted gears and saw the Mac Pro as an iconic desktop system with great performance if one shared the company’s vision for both industrial design and OpenCL. Now, it appears that Apple sees the Mac Pro as a platform that will support its future initiatives. Can Apple hold to that pattern? That abiding faith in high end computation and visualization? A new trademark filing suggests Apple now sees the light.

Apple Snags Another AR/VR Expert, this Time from NASA

· Bryan Chaffin · News

Apple augmented reality

Apple has hired another expert in the fields of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Bloomberg reported that Apple has hired Jeff Norris, an 18-year veteran of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

6 Cool Tech Things Going On in Germany

· Bob LeVitus · Dr. Mac's Rants & Raves

Hamburg Elbphilharmonie (concert hall) as seen from the harbor.

Dr. Mac was in Germany last week, where he found six cool tech things, including his first encounters with Microsoft’s HoloLens Augmented Reality (AR) headset and HTC’s Vive Virtual Reality (VR) headset, plus robots galore, a very cool drone, and more.