.Virtual Reality Supersession

JOHN Q MNEMONIC: Thanks to the technology being developed by companies like Jaunt VR and Oculus VR, the average consumer will be able to afford enveloping virtual reality experiences.

Virtual reality is coming to a face near you. For real this time. And both the Irvine-based Oculus VR and the Palo Alto-based Jaunt VR are poised to be major players in the emerging field.

Jaunt, which produces an orb-shaped, omnidirectional VR camera and an accompanying software suite for editing video captured by the device, just secured $65 million in funding from the likes of Disney, Sky and other media giants who understandably have a keen interest in the future of VR.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the recent investment is “among the largest funding rounds in virtual reality and brings Jaunt’s funding to about $100 million.”

Although virtual reality has yet to become a widely available consumer product, the bulk of the technology to bring it to the masses is already here—tucked away in our pockets and purses.

People will soon be accessing virtual reality videos and games wirelessly—simply by plugging their phones into specialized headsets, some of which are already available. They currently range in price from about $200 for the Samsung-specific Gear VR headset, down to the neighborhood of $5 for what’s known as “Google Cardboard”—quite literally a cardboard headset that a user assembles and then slides a phone into.

The clips made using Jaunt technology can also be viewed on the Oculus Rift—the headset that played a key role in reigniting the public’s interest in virtual reality, and which Facebook acquired for $2 billion.

Technology blogger Robert Scoble will moderate a discussion with Jens Christensen, CEO of Jaunt, and Jack McCauley, the co-founder and former chief engineer at Oculus VR, about the fast-approaching future of this long-promised technology.

Virtual Reality Supersession

Thu, 10:15am

California Theatre

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