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Lucid VR raises $2M and partners with Wistron to bring LucidCam to Mass Production

We are very excited to announce today that we have closed our Seed round with $2.1M and signed a partnership with Wistron, one of the top 5 ODMs worldwide. We received investments from Wistron, S2 Capital, Lab360, TEEC Angel Fund, 17 Miles Technology as well as other angel investors. The funding coupled with the Wistron manufacturing agreement provides the means to bring our one-of-a-kind, affordable VR camera, LucidCam, to mass production.

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Lucid VR Co-founders CEO, Han Jin, and CTO, Adam Rowell

“LucidCam brings people together across the world by capturing incredible immersive experiences in VR, the same way as your eyes see them. Now you can easily share your moments with friends and family within seconds in VR,” said our CEO, Han Jin. “With our relationship with Wistron we will be developing a beautifully designed and engineered camera that is going to surpass our original plans. We are very excited to announce that we will be upgrading our backers with a first production version of the LucidCam with double the resolution and frame rate, in addition to extended battery capacity. The viewing experience in VR headsets will be so much smoother with 2K and 60 frames per second.”

We successfully crowdfunded our first round of production cameras in December 2015, with the cameras now to be produced by Wistron Corporation and delivered in the later half of 2016.

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Easily relive moments that matter

LucidCam eliminates what has until now taken hours and thousands of dollars in big-size equipment and software to do. For the first time, anyone can easily capture amazing 3D spherical videos and images with the simple touch of a button. Semi-pros and photo video enthusiasts can capture amazing cinematic 3D experiences. Game developers can easily create lifelike environments and innovators can disrupt industries by building businesses around VR content.

LucidCam is available for pre-order here.

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LucidCam is the easiest-to-use VR camera out there and can enable mass content creation

The camera’s unique technology was created by our founders, Jin and his co-founder and Dr. Rowell, a Stanford Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering who is specialized in computer vision and image processing. LucidCam breaks down expensive Hollywood 3D production camera systems to a small form factor, making it more affordable for the masses and eliminating the long-winded postproduction processes. It leverages binocular lenses to create true depth as well as peripheral vision and utilizes two microphones — essentially mimicking human eyes and ears. It fits into your pocket like a mobile phone so users can capture immersive images and videos anywhere, anytime. With a 180-degree field of view, LucidCam allows users to stick to the traditional point-and-shoot approach, simply pressing the shutter and holding the camera steady to capture everything – no panoramic sweeps required.

We will be bringing a remarkable VR camera to capture great immersive videos. There are so many applications for 3D VR content, but the potential is limited when only a few people have access to the tools. With LucidCam we want to put the power of content creation into your hands, because only then the potential of VR will unfold.

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Meet AR… The Sister of VR

Blog by: Micah Blumberg

Micah is a freelance writer with Virtual Reality Media Associates

I’ve talked a lot about Virtual Reality. Now, we’re going to change directions a bit and meet the related Augmented Reality company, Meta.

Right now Meta is about 80 people and they are hiring. They previously secured 23 million dollars, sold 1000 Meta 1 headsets, and now they have just released the Meta 2 headset for 949 dollars, it is a real step forward in the evolution of human tools, one that will lead to the replacement of flat screens like those used for TV, computers, tablets, laptops, and phones. With the Meta 2 development kit you can do holographic telepresence, and you can do work in a remote way that is also very immersive. Meta is a see through device unlike Virtual Reality. You can create new programs for it with a game engine called Unity which runs on Windows. Later this year Meta will support Unity on Mac as well. It’s a stereo 3D display so you can see objects in real 3D. The headset’s sensors measure depth, and recognize gestures. With Meta people can work together from different places, and hand each other data as if they were in the same room.

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Meta 2

 

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Will Social Engagement Save VR?

Blog By: Janessa White

The rise of the internet didn’t originate from search engines, news sites or web browsing. In a time where dialup connection and computers were expensive, mass adoption of the World Wide Web was predominantly motivated by forms of social engagement: chat rooms and email.  People were rushing to get online to interact with one another.

Virtual reality right now faces a similar predicament the internet did in its early days: how do you get people to adopt to a new medium? As history has proven, it won’t be through games, films or other forms of entertainment. Until we can incorporate social media and social engagement into the VR space, this industry may remain a bit obsolete on a mass scale.

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Photo Credit: Aaron Rodriguez

Geek.com recently published an article ,‘The Dream of Virtual Reality is Dead for Now,’ throwing quite the gut punch to the VR industry. The article’s author, Will Greenwald, states that until higher quality headsets are more affordable, the industry won’t prevail. What he’s missing in his argument is that companies like Oculus predict it will take five or more years for mainstream adoption of VR. Sony, Samsung, Google and other players in the VR industry are all taking similar approaches: they’re in it for the long haul.

How do you turn a singular experience as stark as putting a VR headset on into a communal or socially engaging activity? Harvard professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski has spent years studying user behavior on social media platforms. What has he concluded? It’s all about pictures, voyeurism and cloaked engagement. Users spend hours online looking at funny photos, gawking at the lives of their friends or acquaintances, getting furious over the latest political debate recap and messaging with friends and family.

How can VR take from Piskorski’s learnings? Perhaps the future of VR is chatrooms like AltspaceVR , where your avatar engages other avatars? Maybe Skype will transform into a virtual arena? Or maybe we’re looking in the wrong place and AR will trump VR by a long haul and we’ll someday wine and dine with holographs of our favorite mythical creatures as teased out by Magic Leap?

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An Environment in Altspace VR

If virtual reality is to make the splash we all hope it will, it has to find ways to connect us as humans. Through stories, social media platforms or other forms of human engagement we may find the key to unlocking mainstream VR.

About the Author:

Janessa Nichole White is the founder of the virtual reality blog VR Dribble. She is a Creative Partner in the Boise-based endeavor Boise Virtual Reality Project.  She is currently developing several VR stories and is working to establish herself as a 360° film creator.

Shoot her a line: jw@vrdribble.com or @janessanwhite

Erin Brockovich meets Joy Mangano – Interviewing Ela Darling

Blog by: Micah Blumberg

Micah is a freelance writer with Virtual Reality Media Associates

Ela Darling has been called the modern Erin Brockovich  for her legal activism, but she seems to be just as brilliant as an entrepreneur as Joy Mangano who was recently played by Jennifer Lawrence in the 2015 film called “Joy.”

Women in VR
Darling is a proud member of the “Women in VR” foundation (a video interview is at the bottom of the page). She is also a humanitarian who speaks out about treating other people ethically and with respect. She has called for the tech industry to be more welcoming of all people, but especially people who are traditionally underrepresented in the tech industry, particularly women, people with diverse backgrounds, and transpeople.

Darling is a woman’s rights activist who is excited to encourage and help more women to join the tech industry, to find their niche, and to be successful wherever they apply themselves.
So Women in VR?
Well according to Darling, tech is a traditionally male dominated industry, and she hopes to change that by encouraging people who are not well represented to come in, join, stand up, and be counted. What Darling see’s in “Women in VR” is a place where she can lend her voice, where women like her can lend their voices, to uplift those who are grossly underrepresented, to create a more welcoming Virtual Reality industry, and to help encourage a stronger future for all people who use Virtual Reality.

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Imagining Reality

Blog by: Carl White

Carl White is a professional videographer.

As a film maker, when I imagine a story for a short film, I close my eyes and see things. It12544183_1755026958058422_1975714765_o all starts with an environment and I
can then see things happening. There are colors, objects and people moving and interacting.

When I first tried a modern Virtual Reality headset I was stunned to “see” something very similar to what my imagination would generate. “Eureka!” I thought, “I will make Virtual Reality short films.”

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Why I’m On Board for the VR Revolution: Thoughts from a Professional Photographer

Blog By: Josh Shagam

Josh Shagam is a photographer and educator.

I’m incredibly excited for the much-promised virtual reality era that sits just on the horizon. I’m excited because I’m a gadget nerd, a gamer, and a sci-fi lover. VR is poised to transform how I play games, watch movies, shop, how I use social media—maybe you’ve heard the lofty promises. But the aspect that has me behind VR the most? Photography. Professionals, amateurs, everyone in between—it’s all going transform the visual media that we create and view every day. Photography is primed to be the “killer app” for virtual reality. Allow me to summarize my thoughts on the topic.

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Following Footsteps in VR

Blog by: Kai Hubner

Kai is one of the founders of the growing VR meetup in Stockholm, Sweden. 

The Stockholm Virtual Reality (SVR) Meetup was created in July 2014, after two VR enthusiasts lacked a platform to stockholm vr meet-upexchange ideas and discussions centered on Virtual Reality topics in Sweden. And for Stockholm – nowadays called one of the most innovative regions outside of Silicon Valley – it seemed just a big flaw to not have a platform that gathers local VR enthusiasts, spreads the word about VR, and sets out to follow in the footsteps of awesome meetups like the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Meetup (SVVR).

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Disrupt Average Joe & Jane

Blog by: Han Jin

Han Jin is the CEO and Co-founder of Lucid VR which makes the 180 degree 3D camera, LucidCam. 

Virtual Reality is one of the most disruptive technologies to arise in the coming decade. There is an infinite amount of applications that will transform countless industries – from gaming and simulation to education and entertainment, to quote just a few. Despite the recent spike in Virtual Reality developments, there are still only a few players currently dominating the VR space and most of them are unfortunately not focused on consumers.

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Times Have Changed

Blog by: Brian Ferrara

Brian started the popular SFVRCC Meetup group and founded the DIYHMD platform

Brian Ferrera at SFVRCC

Brian Ferrara at SFVRCC

Times have changed in the Tech world, and what was once off-limits because of cost, access or support is now widely, and in some cases freely, available. Open Source, Open Patent and a growing Maker culture that sees no limits to what you can DIY are advancing technologies to the benefit of all. At the forefront of technology that has recently made its way from both garage benches and academic research facilities into a paradigm shifting platform for the masses is Virtual Reality. An exciting technological prospect in its infancy that will grow by leaps and bounds as we enable VR for Everyone.

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VR for Everyone

Virtual reality (VR) is one of the hottest growing technology industries. With such innovative and collaborative VR companies developing, the timing of when VR will hit the mainstream is a question that all have asked.

That’s why Lucid VR set out in this blog to brainstorm and spur conversations on how we can make that adoption happen faster.   How do we bring VR to everyone? That is the question.  In this blog, we’ll ask that question to a variety of VR thought leaders and drivers who all, in their own way, are driving towards that same goal of building the VR industry.

Why is Lucid VR pushing this effort? Lucid VR’s product, LucidCam, is aimed to enable this cause of bringing VR to everyone. LucidCam is affordable, mobile, and extremely shareable.

Follow Lucid VR here for monthly subscription to the blog. If you or someone you know driving this VR mainstream adoption, if so, send over an introduction to info@lucidcam.com.

With that, let’s get this discussion started.