PlayStation VR may get upgrades, but not necessarily when PS5 debuts. Sarah Tew/CNET VR headsets have been arriving in force in 2019, with new hardware from Oculus, Valve, and Vive. But Sony’s PlayStation VR, which debuted back in 2016, hasn’t made its next evolutionary leap yet. That time is coming, but it likely won’t be alongside the debut of the PlayStation 5.At Toronto’s Collison conference, Sony’s Global Head of R&D for PlayStation, Dominic Mallinson, sat down with CNET to discuss what’s on the horizon for PSVR, and what we might see next. None of these are guarantees, but they could be key features of PSVR’s next leap. Something wireless, and lighterThe PSVR has been a success story relative to other VR hardware, selling over 4.2 million headsets so far, but the PlayStation 4’s install base of 96.8 million dwarfs that. Mallinson admits PSVR “does need to evolve. It’s not quite there yet as a mass market proposition.” A key step could be making it easier and less cord-tangly. “We do want it to be lighter weight, and easier to put on, less cables, less mess.”But a wireless option could take the form of an add-on, instead of the default. “Wireless suffers from the issue of being expensive,” Mallinson says. “If you don’t care about cables, then it’s a lot cheaper than to have a wireless system. But at the same time, having wireless just makes you so much more free.”Recent patent filing reports show designs indicating a wireless headset. The current PlayStation VR is relatively bulky, and its tether and break-out box means gameplay needs to happen in close range of the PS4. Eye tracking is in playNo mainstream VR headsets use eye tracking yet, but eye tracking (or gaze tracking) is something that PlayStation’s actively considering, and Mallinson considers crucial. “That’s the one that excites me the most… I think there will come a point in time in the not too distant future when you cannot launch a VR headset without eye tracking.” It could have practical benefits, too: eye tracking can help reduce graphics load to make games perform better via a technique called foveated rendering, which could help a game console perform more like a high-end PC. “It’s a win-win in that respect,” says Mallinson. “For me it’s a pretty obvious technology.”PlayStation VR’s Move controllers date back to the PS3. Sarah Tew/CNET New controllersPart of the current PSVR design was always about getting to the lowest price possible, which meant using existing PlayStation Move controllers and PS4 cameras instead of VR-specific controllers (while PlayStation VR games can also use the standard DualShock 4, he says Move has won out slightly with developers). “We knew if we went back into the R&D labs and we did something brand-new, we could have created something better than PlayStation Move, but it would have cost more,” Mallinson says, but hints that a better solution is coming. “We do recognize that does need to be evolved, and in the future we will obviously replace it.”Could mixed reality be onboard?Sony’s not exploring making a HoloLens for gaming (as far as we know), but there’s a possibility that pass-through mixed reality using VR headset cameras could be a part of the picture. “In the future, it’s interesting to us,” Mallinson says. He sees incorporating real-world things into the VR headset, like the way Oculus Quest can draw magic boundaries while seeing the room with pass-through cameras, is better than trying to drop holograms into actual reality like Magic Leap. “If you are more interested in mixed reality for gaming applications, then I actually think video see through is more compelling and a lot less complicated.” Sony’s had experience with AR games before, going back to PlayStation 3 games like Wonderbook, or EyePet.Don’t expect a new PSVR to launch alongside PS5Mallinson seems satisfied with how PlayStation VR rolled out several years after the PlayStation 4 was on the market. The current PSVR will be PS5-compatible, which means a new headset isn’t necessary right away. And that could mean Sony waits to debut a new headset for a while. “There’s no reason for us to coincide it with a new console. From the point of view of the consumer, to be bombarded with many many things — oh, you have to buy this, you have to buy that — is a message that we don’t want to send. In some ways, it’s good to have a little breathing space between those things.”Don’t expect a mobile VR standalone system, either Mallinson admires Oculus Quest, Facebook’s new standalone console-free VR system, but doesn’t see Sony taking a similar path yet. “I do applaud them for doing something that is mobile, but it’s something you would more likely do in a private living room space. I don’t think you’d go out on the road and do this stuff. But I think having no wires, making it light and unencumbered, it is great. So I think going mobile for both reasons is important.”New VR headset or not, VR is gaining tractionWhile developer interest is high, says Mallinson, the audience is smaller and Sony is still looking to grow the audience. “The fact of life is, you get a little less in terms of commercial movement from the VR titles.”But he sees VR as finally becoming a platform that can work. Sony’s recent lineup of VR games has been impressive and some of the PlayStation’s best games of 2018 (Moss, Tetris Effect, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission) were VR titles. “We’re just reaching that level now where, as a developer you can say, ‘OK, I can make money. It’s not easy, but I can now make money.'” Virtual Reality Sony Gaming Wearable Tech 1 Share your voice Comment Tags
Map of FaridpurDetectives in a drive arrested Bhanga upazila unit president of Bangladesh Chhatra League along with a pistol and yaba tablets from Bhanga Bazar of Faridpur on Monday night.Bangladesh Chhatra League is the student wing of ruling Awami League.The arrestee is Lutfar Rahman Mollah, son of Gias Mauri of Kapuria Sadardi village in the upazila, said Rakibul Islam, officer-in-charge of Detective Branch of police.Acting on a tip-off, detectives conducted a drive in the area around 10:00pm and arrested Lutfar.Later, they recovered a foreign pistol, two rounds bullet and 200 pieces of yaba tablets from inside his car.Lutfar was accused in several drug related cases and was arrested earlier by Rapid Action Battalion, said Kazi Shahidur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Bhanga police station.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo. Photo: CollectedParis mayor Anne Hidalgo on Sunday praised the heroism of a Malian immigrant who scaled the facade of a four-storey building in the north of capital to save a child hanging from a ledge, saying the city will support his effort to settle in France.The video of Mamoudou Gassama’s quick climbing to reach the child, cheered on by terrified onlookers, went viral on social media, with people calling the 22-year-old a real spider man.Gassama has even been invited to the Elysee presidential palace to meet with President Emmanuel Macron on Monday morning, an official at Macron’s office said.”Congratulations to Mamoudou Gassama for his act of bravery that saved the life of a child,” Hidalgo said on her official Twitter account, adding that she spoke with him by phone to thank him.Hidalgo said Gassama told her that he arrived from Mali a few months ago and wished to stay in France.”I replied that his heroic gesture was an example for all citizens and that the City of Paris will obviously be keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France,” Hidalgo said.French minister and former government spokesman Christophe Castaner also took to Twitter to say how admirable it was that Gassama stepped forward to save a life without giving any thought for his own.Le Parisien newspaper reported that Gassama was walking by when he saw a gathering in front of the building and leapt into action.”I did it because it was a child,” the paper quoted him saying. “I climbed… Thank God I saved him.”
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (L) visits Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) as more than 100 children lost their life due Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur on 18 June 2019. Photo: AFPTen more children died Tuesday from a mysterious brain fever potentially linked to lychees, officials said, taking the death toll to 113 this month and sparking angry protests in India’s poorest Bihar state.Sixty children, mostly under the age of 10 and malnourished, are undergoing treatment after an outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur district of the eastern state.Bihar health department official Ashok Kumar Singh told AFP that ten children died on Tuesday, taking the overall death count in June to 113.“Six children were discharged after being treated for AES,” Singh said.He warned that the toll may rise with fresh cases trickling-in, as dozens undergo treatment in packed hospital wards. Television images showed several children to a bed.On Tuesday, dozens of people gathered outside the main hospital in Muzaffarpur to accuse local authorities of acting too slowly and of not caring.The state’s health minister came in for particular criticism after asking reporters about the score in India’s cricket match against Pakistan on Sunday during a news conference on the crisis.“Bihar’s Health Minister Mangal Pandey seems more worried about cricket score than the death of children,” tweeted Randeep Surjewala of the opposition Congress party.Rabri Devi, another opposition figure, called the deaths “cold-blooded murder”.“Children are dying because of a lack of medicines and treatment,” she tweeted.Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Tuesday faced angry protesters as he made his first visit to the state-run Sri Krishna Medical College, where most of the children have died.Reporters were barred from entering the facility, and the families of sick children were kept away from the premises.Outbreaks occur annuallyThe disease sets in rapidly and is characterised by plummeting blood sugar, high fever, convulsions and paralysis. It is caused by viruses, bacteria and toxins spread in different ways.Outbreaks have occurred annually during summer months in the same districts since 1995, typically coinciding with the lychee season.Apart from 2014 when a record 357 children died in the state, the annual death toll is usually much lower.Several years ago US researchers said the brain disease could be linked to a toxic substance found in lychees, the tropical fruit.They also said more study was needed to uncover the cause of the illness, known locally as Chamki Bukhar, which is fatal in a third of cases.The National Human Rights Commission has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and Kumar state authorities to report any “possible flaw” in implementation of vaccination and awareness programmes.An editorial in the Hindu newspaper Tuesday said the deaths could have “easily been prevented with some foresight and early care”.It said in 2014 an Indo-US expert team had saved 74 percent of sick children through a simple medical intervention.“It is appalling that this year the government failed to raise awareness on this strategy.”Bihar is one of India’s poorest states and home to almost 100 million people. It has also been hit by a heatwave in recent weeks with temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit) that has left 91 people dead since the weekend.Most of the children affected by the brain fever come from poor families who struggle to get even one healthy meal a day. Often the kids gorge on free-growing lychees on an empty stomach.
Share Travis Bubenik/Houston Public MediaA West Texas pipe yard in 2016.Texas is gearing up for a surge of oil exports in 2019, thanks to multiple new pipelines that are expected to come online late in the year. But a new report from the research firm Morningstar, suggests the industry is planning more pipelines than it needs over the longer-term, raising the risk of an overbuild.For most of 2018, producers in West Texas have been constrained by a lack of pipelines to get their oil to the Gulf Coast. A handful of new projects aims to fix that in 2019, potentially unleashing a flood of oil to the coast and then abroad.But according to Morningstar’s report, if all the pipelines planned for the next three years get built, there would be too much oil going to the coast, where it could get hung up at export docks.Analyst Sandy Fielden, who wrote the report, said companies will probably consolidate or delay some of the projects.“There’ll be some kind of shakeout, and obviously that will depend largely on the extent to which we see a continued increase in crude production,” Fielden said.An October report from Moody’s Investors Service had already suggested exploration and production would be limited in the first half of 2019 as pipeline constraints persist. The more recent slide in oil prices, particularly hard-felt in the Permian Basin, has added to the prospects for a slower new year.