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article imageHTC launches Vivepaper, the first immersive VR reading experience

By James Walker     Oct 28, 2016 in Technology
HTC has announced a new virtual reality app called Vivepaper. Built for the company's Vive VR headset, the app is the world's first immersive reading experience. It provides a new way to view and browse online news content through a tactile interface.
As Upload VR reports, Vivepaper was created in collaboration with publisher Condé Nast's Chinese division. It features content from several of Condé Nast's most famous magazines, including GQ and Vogue. For the first time, these publications can be viewed in a bespoke virtual reality experience.
Vivepaper uses a unique system to let the user pick content to view. The HTC Vive's front-mounted camera is used to scan QR codes on a paper booklet. This is then loaded into the virtual reality world, allowing the headset wearer to navigate through the article with a gesture and tactile-based interface.
HTC describes Vivepaper as a combined augmented and virtual reality experience. It employs a hybrid "Augmented Virtual Reality" model that enhances the virtual browsing with the "added realism" of the physical booklet. It's the only app that currently supports this kind of hybrid interaction, a convergence between virtual, augmented and mixed reality.
Vivepaper content can include 360-degree images and videos, 3D renderings of objects and interactive page elements. Publishers can integrate video links and product carousels into their magazine pages, extending traditional paper-based content with the key features of virtual reality.
The technology that powers Vivepaper is currently patent pending. It marks the expansion of virtual reality into a wider range of categories. VR is no longer constrained to 360-degree videos and PC gaming. It now has a wide range of applications, including virtual reading and news browsing.
"With Vivepaper, we will enable the millions of books, magazines, newspapers and periodicals that have existed throughout history to come alive in the virtual world," said Alvin W. Graylin, China regional president of HTC Vive. "We are so excited to have Condé Nast as our launch partner and look forward to having all their amazing content available to VR users around the world soon."
HTC intends Vivepaper to be an open platform. It is developing an SDK that will enable third-party apps to interact with Vivepaper. A dedicated editor is currently in private beta testing that doesn't require any programming experience to use. HTC appears to be devoting significant time and resources to the project, creating an ecosystem that's sustainable for the future.
The Vivepaper app will be available to download from October 31 for Vive PC users. A beta version for Android will be released on the same day, followed by an iOS app "later this year." Although Vivepaper has been built for the HTC Vive, it will also be compatible with Cardboard VR viewers as a cost-effective way to become immersed in virtual reading.
More about HTC, htc vive, vivepaper, Virtual reality, augmented reality
 
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