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    VR Immersive Theater in The Under Presents: Tempest!

    We review The Under Presents: Tempest, a new interactive theater experience for Oculus Quest and Rift that pairs real actors with small groups of participants for a VR reimagning of Shakespeare's The Tempest. We chat with Tender Claws founder Samantha Gorman about the creation of this 45-minute multiplayer theatrical story and discuss the challenges and opportunities VR brings to stage performance.

    ButtKicker Gamer 2 Review: Amazing Audio Haptics in VR!

    Sound is a big part of immersion in VR, and adding a bass shaker to seated VR rigs is something we've always wanted to test. We're impressed by the performance of the ButtKicker Gamer 2 tactile transducer and amplifier kit, which works seamlessly with cockpit games from racing to mech piloting to space combat games, and adds a tremendous amount of fun to VR experiences. It's a highly-recommended upgrade to your VR setup!

    PROJECTIONS: Nreal Light Augmented Reality Glasses Developer Kit!

    We spend a week with the new Nreal Light developer kit to get a sense of how this lightweight pair of augmented reality glasses works in the real world. While we've yet to see the final consumer version's software, the optics, image quality, and ergonomics of the developer kit give us optimism for the type of content we're hoping to see shine in this generation of mixed reality hardware.

    Hand Physics Lab: Hand Tracking Demos in Oculus Quest!

    We go hands-on with an experimental virtual reality demo from Holonautics that taps into the controller-free hand tracking abilities of the Oculus Quest! Hand Physics Lab gives us an idea of how hands-only controls could work in future VR experiences and games, and the challenges in user interface design and interaction models that will need to be tackled before hands replace tracked controllers. Developers Dennys Kuhnert and Roger Kung from Holonautic joins us for a discussion about the making of Hand Physics Lab and what they've learned so far!

    PROJECTIONS: Making Half-Life: Alyx for Virtual Reality

    Half-Life: Alyx is almost here, the culmination of years of development and experimentation with VR gaming. Back in December, we sat down with Valve's Robin Walker and Greg Coomer for an in-depth conversation about designing the game to showcase the potential of virtual reality and lessons learned during development. Don't worry, no game spoilers here!

    HTC Vive Cosmos External Tracking Faceplate Review

    With HTC's announcement of a family of Vive Cosmos virtual reality headsets, we revisit the Cosmos to see how it's held up and test the new external tracking faceplate that gives it SteamVR Lighthouse tracking. Plus, an interview with HTC about the state of Cosmos tracking updates, modular faceplate strategy, and future of VR for the company!

    Inside ILMxLAB: Making Star Wars Vader Immortal!

    We go behind-the-scenes at Lucasfilm's ILMxLAB to dive into the development of Star Wars: Vader Immortal. Chatting with the director and developers of this VR experience, we see how iconic environments were crafted, how new ships were modeled, and how lightsaber combat and force powers were designed to work with the potential and limitations of virtual reality hardware.

    Testing: DJI Phantom 3 Pro Quadcopter Drone

    Earlier this year, DJI released its third-generation Phantom quadcopter. The Phantom line is perhaps the most well-known ready-to-fly quads you can buy, and the Phantom 3 Advanced and Phantom 3 Professional models are significant upgrades to the last generation. These quadcopters are amazing devices; they combine aerial, sensor, and imaging technologies to make a user-friendly remote-controlled flying camera that would not have been possible a decade ago. That ease-of-use is partly what makes these ready-to-fly quadcopters so compelling. While hobbyists have been building RC multi-rotors for fun and sport, the low barrier to entry offered by RTF quads has exploded the market for new products--not unlike the first years of the modern smartphone. And the rapid pace of DJI's product iterations, along with the proliferation of quadcopter-produced photos and videos--further bootstraps a fast growing community of new flyers.

    So to answer one frequently-asked question: yes, the Phantom 3 line is a significant and worthwhile upgrade to the Phantom 2. Our first Phantom was last year's Vision+, which amazed us by being easy to fly, incorporating a built-in stabilized gimballed HD camera system, and tying flight and sight together with an integrated FPV video feed. All three of these features are markedly improved in the Phantom 3. Let's go over the changes in depth.

    First, the new flight system. The Phantom 3 looks a lot like the Phantom 2, with only a slightly bigger airframe (it will fit in many existing Phantom 2 cases). But the brushless motors, DJI speed controllers, and 4S battery system that power it under the hood are new, and grant the quad more power. It's not that the Phantom 3 flies a lot faster than the Phantom 2 (16m/s max speed vs 15m/s max) or can ascend and descend quicker; that power manifests itself as improved stability and control during flight. Unlike DJI's Inspire 1, the Phantom 3 doesn't fly like a hovering tank--it feels nimble and responsive, even when taken to heights where the motors are fighting winds. And that's power you can take for granted--it wasn't until I switched back to the Phantom 2 for a day that I realized how rock solid the new quad is by comparison.

    Key to the Phantom's flight system is GPS-stabilization. In the Phantom 2, this allowed the quadcopter to calculate where it should be in positional space, automatically adjusting its motor power in real-time to compensate for external forces. We've demoed this before by dragging a flying Phantom by its landing struts to simulate wind and feeling the motors "fight back". Phantom 3 taps into both GPS and Russian GLONASS satellites for a wider range of coverage, though that accounts for faster satellite acquisition moreso than increased positional accuracy. More notable is the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional's (I've been testing the latter) use of an ultrasonic and visual positioning system for low-altitude stabilization. This is the same system that was introduced in the Inspire 1--a combination of sonar and downward-facing camera to stabilize the quad when it's lower than 10 feet above ground. This is tech that other RTF quads simply don't have.

    Half-Life: Alyx Hands-On! Tested on 8 VR Headsets

    We've played some Half-Life: Alyx! Tested spent a day playing Valve's upcoming full-length VR game across 8 different headsets to evaluate how the game looks and plays on devices ranging from the original HTC Vive to Oculus Quest. We show how the game's various mechanics work with different motion controllers and explain the trade-offs between different VR systems.

    Hands-On: Haptic Gloves to Control a Telepresence Robot!

    We go literally hands-on with the HaptX haptic glove to test its integration with an incredibly dexterous telepresence robot by Shadow Robot Company. Using these VR hand controllers, we're able to not only manipulate intricate objects like a rubix cube, but feel the objects we're grasping in a natural and intuitive way! We chat with the makers of this tech to learn how far telepresence robotics have come and what's next.

    Hands-On with Skydio 2 Autonomous Drone

    We check out Skydio 2, the new autonomous drone that is the successor to one of our favorite products of last year. It's smaller, faster, and more powerful of a self-flying camera drone than the R1, but also somehow costs less. We head to Skydio's headquarters to take a look under hood of Skydio 2 and learn how the company designed this amazing drone!

    How Machine Learning Enables DeepRacer's Autonomous Driving

    How does machine learning work and what are its applications? Mike Miller, General Manager of AWS AI Devices walks us through the story of DeepRacer, the autonomous RC car that utilizes Machine Learning and Reinforncement Learning to speedily navigate around a track. We're at AWS reInvent this week to watch teams compete in the DeepRacer League Championship Cup! (This video is sponsored by Amazon Web Services.)

    Hands-On with AWS DeepRacer Evo Autonomous Race Car!

    Tested visits the labs of AWS DeepRacer, the 1/18th scale race car that learns to speed through a track through machine learning. Senior Applied Scientist Sahika Genc takes us under the hood of DeepRacer and the newly announced DeepRacer Evo to show how upgrades to the fully autonomous car now allow for head-to-head competition! Stay tuned for more from our visit to the DeepRacer lab, and for our coverage of the DeepRacer League at this year's AWS re:Invent! (This video is sponsored by Amazon Web Services.)

    Tesla Cybertruck Test Ride and Impressions!

    We ride in Tesla's newly announced Cybertruck prototype! Just hours after its highly-anticipated unveiling, we meet up with Ryan McCaffrey of the Ride the Lightning Tesla podcast to discuss details we noticed from our test ride and getting up close with this futuristic electric pickup. It's controversial and aggressively designed, with an aggressive price to boot.

    Google Stadia Cloud Gaming Review!

    We spend a week testing and playing games on Google Stadia, the newly launched cloud gaming service that streams games to Pixel phones, Chrome browsers, and the Chromecast Ultra. Here's how the service performs at launch, from image quality to latency, as well as which of the promised features are ready today. (Update: after we filmed our review, Google announced that Stadia would launch with 22 games, not 12. )

    Hands-On with Google Stadia and Technology Deep Dive!

    We go hands-on with Google's upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, which is launching next month! The impressive demo at Google's headquarters represents the best-case scenario for streaming quality and latency, and we sit down with Stadia's VPs of product and engineering to dive into video compression and other technologies that will make Stadia work around the world.

    PROJECTIONS: How Mixed Reality Game Trailers Are Made

    Ever wonder how mixed reality videos are made showing users in virtual reality games like Beat Saber? That kind of compositing is done using the free LIV app, camera with HDMI output, video capture card, and green screen. We set up our studio to test some mixed reality and chat with LIV engineer David Goodman about the awesome ways mixed reality videos can bring new perspectives to VR capture.

    HTC Vive Cosmos VR Headset Review

    We test and review the new HTC Cosmos, the replacement for the original HTC Vive virtual reality headset. The Cosmos is a big departure from HTC's previous desktop VR headsets, and we discuss its ergonomics, image quality, inside-out tracking fidelity, and new controllers. Here's how it compares to the Oculus Rift S and Valve Index!

    Hand Tracking in Oculus Quest Hands-On Impressions!

    We go hands-on with the new hand tracking feature for Oculus Quest at Oculus Connect 6! We test the limits of its ability to recognize various hand poses and break down the technology and its potential uses. Plus, an interview with product manager Sean Liu diving into Oculus Link, hand tracking, and future technologies!