Facebook Oculus Quest Standalone VR Headset Launched for $399 and up

Oculus Quest VR Handset

One year ago, Facebook introduced their very first standalone virtual reality headset with Oculus Go. At $199 the price was fairly attractive, but the headset only supported 3DOF motion tracking. The company announced a new model at F8 2019. Oculus Quest is equipped with a more powerful Snapdragon 835 processor, two 1600 x 1440 displays, and support for 6DOF (degrees of freedom) virtual reality thanks to two handheld motion controllers. Oculus Quest specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with 4x high performance Kryo 280 cores @ 2.20 GHz/ 2.30 GHz (single core operation), 4x low power Kryo 280 cores @ 1.9 GHz, Adreno 540 GPU System Memory – 4GB RAM Storage – 64GB or 128GB flash storage Display – 2x 1600×1440 OLED displays up to 72 Hz Camera – 4x wide-angle tracking cameras for inside-out  position tracking Audio – Integrated speakers, 2x 3.5mm audio jacks Battery – Lithium-Ion battery good for about two to three hours Dimensions – …

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FOSDEM 2019 Open Source Developers Meeting Schedule

FOSDEM 2019

FOSDEM – which stands for Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting – is a free-to-participate event where developers meet on the first week-end of February to discuss open source software & hardware projects. FOSDEM 2019 will take place on February 2 & 3, and the schedule has already been published with 671 speakers scheduled to speak in 711 events themselves sorted in 62 tracks. Like every year, I’ll create a virtual schedule based on some of the sessions most relevant to this blog in tracks such as  open hardware, open media, RISC-V, and hardware enablement tracks. February 2 10:30 – 10:55 – VkRunner: a Vulkan shader test tool by Neil Roberts A presentation of VkRunner which is a tool to help test the compiler in your Vulkan driver using simple high-level scripts. Perhaps the largest part of developing a modern graphics driver revolves around getting the compiler to generate the correct code. In order to achieve this, extensive …

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Facebook BOLT Speeds Up Large x86 & ARM64 Binaries by up to 15%

Facebook BOLT

Compilers like GCC OR LLVM normally do a good job at optimizing your code when processing your source code into assembly, and then binary format, but there’s still room for improvement – at least for larger binaries -, and Facebook has just released BOLT (Binary Optimization and Layout Tool) that has been found to reduce CPU execution time by 2 percent to 15 percent. The tool is mostly useful for binaries built from a large code base, with binary size over 10MB which are often too large to fit in instruction cache. The hardware normally spends lots of processing time getting an instruction stream from memory to the CPU, sometimes up to 30% of execution time, and BOLT optimizes placement of instructions in memory – as illustrated below – in order to address this issue also known as “instruction starvation”. BOLT works with applications built by any compiler, including the popular GCC and Clang compilers. The tool relies on Linux …

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Qualcomm QCA64x8 and QCA64x1 802.11ay WiFi Chipsets Deliver 10 Gbps Bandwidth

802.11ay, 802.11ad

WiFi has evolved in recent years with the introduction of 802.11ad and 802.11ax (now called WiFi 6). THe latter is now official, and in the last year several 802.11ax chipsets and WiFi 6 routers have been announced, but I’ve not heard much about 802.11ad with claims of up to 7Gbps bandwidth at 60 GHz when unveiled in 2016. The latter have been supplanted by 802.11ay, with Qualcomm having just unveiled QCA64x8 and QCA64x1 802.11ay chipsets capable of delivering 10Gbps and operating at a frequency of 60 GHz. According to Wikipedia, 802.11ay is not really a new standard, but just an evolution of 802.11ad  adding four times the bandwidth and up to 4 MIMO streams. Qualcomm chipsets will enable 10+ Gps speeds with wire-equivalent latency, while keeping the power consumption low, and bring the ability to play 4K UltraHD videos over WiFi, virtual / augmented reality games, fixed wireless mesh backhaul, and other applications requiring high bandwidth and/or low-latency. The table …

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Facebook Oculus Go Standalone VR Headset Launched for $199 and Up

Oculus has developed virtual reality headset for several years, starting with VR development kits, before launching consumer VR headsets working with either a powerful computer (Oculus Rift), or a smartphone (Oculus Gear VR). But the company – now part of Facebook – has more recently been working on an all-in-one virtual reality headset called Oculus Go that works without external hardware, and launched it today starting at $199.00. Oculus Go specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 octa-core Mobile VR Platform System Memory – Storage – 32 or 64GB storage Display – 5.5″ display with 2560 x 1440 resolution; 538ppi; up to 72 Hz refresh rate Fresnel lenses Audio – Built-in spatial audio and integrated microphone Battery – Lithium-Ion battery good for about two hours for games to up to 2.5 hours for streaming media and video. Dimensions – 190mm x 105mm x 115mm Weight – 468 grams The company explains 32GB of storage will allow for 3 HD films, 10 …

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Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Development Kit 2 Becomes Open Source Hardware

Oculus Rift DK2 virtual reality headset and development kit started to ship in summer 2014. The DK2 is kind of VR headset that is connected to a more powerful computer via USB and HDMI, includes hardware for positional tracking, a 5″ display ,and two lenses for each eye. Since then the company has been purchased by Facebook, and they’ve now decided to make the headset fully open source hardware.   The release includes schematics, board layout, mechanical CAD, artwork, and specifications under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license, as well as firmware under “BSD+PATENT” licenses which you’ll all find on Github. The release is divided into four main folders: Documentation with high-level specifications for the DK2 headset, sensor, and firmware. Cable with schematics and high level specifications for the cables. Custom assembly that would be hard to recreate from source. Allegedly the most complex part of the design Sensor with electrical and mechanical CAD for the positional tracking sensor. Sadly …

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Facebook Zstandard “zstd” & “pzstd” Data Compression Tools Deliver High Performance & Efficiency

Ubuntu 16.04 and – I assume – other recent operating systems are still using single-thread version of file & data compression utilities such as bzip2 or gzip by default, but I’ve recently learned that compatible multi-threaded compression tools such as lbzip2, pigz or pixz have been around for a while, and you can replace the default tools by them for much faster compression and decompression on multi-core systems. This post led to further discussion about Facebook’s Zstandard 1.0 promising both smaller and faster data compression speed. The implementation is open source, released under a BSD license, and offers both zstd single threaded tool, and pzstd multi-threaded tool. So we all started to do own little tests and were impressed by the results. Some concerns were raised about patents, and development is still work-in-progess with a few bugs here and there including pzstd segfaulting on ARM. Zlib has 9 levels of compression, while Zstd has 19, so Facebook has tested all …

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OpenCellular is Facebook’s (soon to be) Open Source Wireless Access Platform

A few months after Canonical and Lime Micro LimeSDR open source software defined radio aiming to be used as a development platform, but also as the base for low cost cellular or other wireless base stations, Facebook has announced their own open source wireless access platform with OpenCellular project whose goal is to lower the cost of Internet connectivity in remote areas where the infrastructure does not exist. This is how Marc Zuckerberg summarizes the project: We designed OpenCellular as an open system so anyone — from telecom operators to researchers to entrepreneurs — can build and operate wireless networks in remote places. It’s about the size of a shoe box and can support up to 1,500 people from as far as 10 kilometers away. Along with our solar-powered aircraft Aquila and high-bandwidth laser beams, OpenCellular is the next step on our journey to provide better, more affordable connectivity to bring the world closer together. But we can get some …

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