YAXRH – this time a Samsung Odyssey Windows MR headset

This Samsung Odyssey Windows MR headset just arrived and it is really quite good. The earlier developer’s HP headset didn’t have the motion controllers so a HoloLens clicker (or Xbox controller) had to be repurposed for meaningful interaction. The motion controllers are really kind of fun and it’s totally spooky to watch the virtual joysticks move all by themselves when you adjust the real joysticks. The built in sound is another great advantage. It makes the headset somewhat bulky but the benefit is great spatial sound. The images are pretty good too although you do have to get the headset positioned correctly for optimum quality. Once you do, there’s not too much chromatic aberration in a fairly reasonable central area. The distance between the lenses is also adjustable which is another assist in getting good visual quality. The display certainly has the usual screen door effect but it isn’t really very offensive and resolution seems very acceptable. On the negative side, the display does not flip up (well it does once if you push hard enough 🙂 ) which is a bit of a negative while developing software where it is sometimes handy to go back and forth to a desktop display.

It’s kind of fun to open up the desktop and look at the MR Portal there so you can get the classic video feedback effect. I tried watching some movie trailers – not too bad. I then tried a game called Rock and Rails. Yes, well, that didn’t last too long. Instant vertigo and motion sensitivity – these things are just too immersive!

Anyway, a worthy addition to to the growing pile of headsets here.

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Ektachrome back from the grave

Interesting story here about Kodak’s plans to bring back Ektachrome film. It seems that the pendulum is swinging once again. Movies are being shot on Super 16 film, vintage movie lenses are being hunted down just because they are so imperfect, anamorphic lenses are being used on film again to get the unique grain effects etc. I used to find film fun but nerve-wracking. The photo above was shot on a medium format film camera a few decades ago – no automatic white balance available there! This could have been Ektachrome or Fujifilm Velvia. I printed the original on Cibachrome and then scanned it many years later – the Cibachrome is still in pretty good shape. Can’t believe I actually had the patience to hand print color reversal stuff. No plans to switch from digital even though I have a bunch of quite decent film cameras kicking around. It’s too much like hard work.

I noticed the smell of unprocessed film when I was looking for old XR headsets the other day so I decided to find the source. Turns out I had some Ektachrome, Velvia and Gold (print film) in a camera bag used for an old Canon AE-1. The print film expired in 1992 so probably isn’t that usable by now – the others must date from the same era.

There’s always a bigger boat…or two

It came as a bit of a surprise at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show that the 147 foot yacht here is regarded as barely even mid-size! Apparently this is a bit small to hold all of the required toys so one of these might be needed as an addition:

This is a support yacht and it’s where you keep your helicopter (or two if you want to do heli-skiing properly apparently), submarine, jet skis, tender, guests that you don’t really like etc etc. The idea is that it races ahead so that, when the owner arrives, everything is set up and ready. It seems that this is actually a cost-effective solution to a problem that extremely few people have. Whatever, it is an impressive piece of engineering in its own right and that giant crane looks like it could lift anything.

Definitely worth visiting this boat show – it’s totally mind-boggling in its scale.

Speeding up ARKit development with Unity ARKit Remote

Anything that speeds up the development cycle is interesting and the Unity ARKit Remote manages to avoid having to go through Xcode every time around the loop. Provided the app can be run in the Editor, any changes to objects or scripts can be tested very quickly. The iPhone (in this case) runs a special remote app that passes ARKit data back to the app running in the Editor. You don’t see any of the Unity stuff in the phone itself, just the camera feed. The composite frames are shown in the Editor window as above.