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Exclusive: Cloudhead Games Goes In-depth with Knuckles EV2 & Predecessors

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It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since the SteamVR Knuckles controllers were first revealed using a demo of our game, Call of the Starseed (2016), at Steam Devs Days 2016. Now, at the reveal of Knuckles EV2 this summer, we’ve got a whole bunch more to talk about.

Guest Article by Denny Unger

Denny is the CEO and Creative Director of Cloudhead Games. As a VR Pioneer he has spearheaded two critically acclaimed and award-winning VR experiences with The Gallery – EP1: Call of the Starseed and EP2: Heart of the Emberstone. Working closely with VR hardware leaders in the space, including Valve, HTC, and Oculus, Cloudhead Games continues to innovate, inform, and entertain.

If you’re just getting into VR, or you haven’t heard of the term ‘Knuckles’ outside of VRChat (2017), the SteamVR Knuckles is the first modern non-glove VR controller to support five-finger tracking. While Oculus Touch is known to have capacitive sensors (capsense) for the thumb and index fingers, Knuckles controllers give users tracking of all five fingers using capsense on the triggers, face buttons, and the bases of controllers. These new inputs create a more natural representation of a user’s hands in VR, and they open the door to new gameplay possibilities.

While finger tracking has many exciting implications on its own, one of the most important innovations with Knuckles is its ‘open-handed hold.’ You can fasten the controller to your hand and then let go of your grip without dropping it—you can ‘hold’ it without actually holding it.

Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

The first Knuckles prototype we received was diminutive in size compared to the EV2 we have today. The strapping mechanism was a crazy velcro wrap that you would slip into like a fingerless glove and then tighten around the palm. The controller itself was about the size of a desktop mouse with a deeply scalloped trackpad. That first prototype was an early kit for evaluation and feedback, and we wouldn’t see changes to Knuckles for nearly nine months.

The second pair of Knuckles we received (called Knuckles 1.3) focused mostly on ergonomics. We saw the velcro strap replaced by a pull-cord brace that tightened against the back of the hand instead of around the the palm; you could now slip the controller on and tighten it within a few seconds. Both the base and the sensor bar were longer for variable hand sizes and improved tracking.

But some of the biggest changes since the controller’s initial reveal came last week with Knuckles EV2.

The first thing to notice on EV2 is a completely redesigned controller face. The scalloped trackpad has gone wayward in favour of a touchstrip. The base of the controller now has grip/pressure sensitivity in addition to capsense. The redesign of the face buttons and introduction of thumbsticks align more closely with the control layout on Touch, which will make it easier to create common control schemes across platforms.

I think part of the rationale for moving from the trackpad to the thumbstick / touchstrip combo is that most trackpad interactions in VR were swiping motions rather than utilization of the full area of the pad. The new touchstrip offers the same functionality as the trackpad (lateral x-axis movement is there in a smaller footprint), plus pressure sensitivity for the thumb.

Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

As well as some major changes to input, there are also some important ergonomic changes going on in EV2. The new strap in particular is really smart; it has a push-pivot point along the top circumference so you can move it forward and back to help get ideal hand placement for the capsense. It also features a rotational pivot to seat the strap comfortably on the back of your hand; and a material change from flat-padding to a nice gripped fabric that’s much more comfortable over long periods of use—and it makes perspiration a lot less noticeable during your Beat Saber (2018) sessions.

Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

One of the more subtle changes to the hardware over time is the way in which the trigger buttons now interface with the handle of the controllers at a very slight curve. With previous iterations that curve was more dramatic, and in VR your brain had a tough time rectifying the gap between your trigger finger and the rest of your fingers. That gap has since been massaged to the point that your perception of finger separation in VR feels normalized.

Knuckles EV2 is a pretty radical shift for users coming from the Vive wands or even Oculus Touch. Vive users will find that teleportation and free locomotion is a much more comfortable experience with thumbsticks than with the old trackpad.

SEE ALSO
Cloudhead Games – Lessons Learned From Five Years of VR Locomotion Experiments

One question we get a lot is whether we prefer Touch or Knuckles, and the simple answer is that it’s not fair to compare them.

Touch comes from an Xbox origin with a goal to emulate the traditional mapping of a gamepad, while also introducing the concept of basic finger tracking. Knuckles is a next-gen solution with the goal of removing the abstractions of holding a gamepad or thinking about hand poses. These controllers are two different approaches built at two different times, and both companies have the right idea—using fingers and hands in a more intuitive way is the future of VR.

Which leads to another question: is Knuckles truly next-gen VR?

My answer is “absolutely.” I can interact in an open-handed manner with my environment; all of my fingers are unobstructed; and I don’t have to think about any hand poses, my hands just do what comes naturally. And when I need something in my hand, a controller is still there. If I grip an object or a gun, or do any other gross interaction in the environment, there is always something to meet my hand with haptics and pressure and tactility.

Obviously Knuckles is not the final step for VR input. Looking further into the future at the next four to five years, a lot of work is being done to provide exoskeleton inputs and per-finger haptics. But to get there with any success, we need to start here with hardware and software that enables developers to create new interactions with the entire hand considered.

Knuckles EV2 is a next-generation step toward whatever that future may be, and we’re so excited to be building our next VR experience toward that future too.

The post Exclusive: Cloudhead Games Goes In-depth with Knuckles EV2 & Predecessors appeared first on Road to VR.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/cloudhead-games-knuckles-ev2-predecessors-denny-unger/

Blockchain

BTC, XRP, ETH, LINK, etc: Is too much crypto in your portfolio a problem?

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They say you need to be brave to invest in cryptocurrencies. 

In a market where price changes over 10 percent and pump and dumps are a common occurrence, a bit of safety shouldn’t go amiss. Yet, there’s a lack of it. Crypto investors are not just dipping their toes into the cryptocurrency markets, they’re taking the plunge with no paddle to pull them out if they too deep.

According to a survey by cryptocurrency exchange Huobi shared with AMBCrypto, digital assets are the primary avenue of investment for retail investors. Among the 491 respondents to the survey only 1 in 3 invest in traditional stock as a corollary to their cryptocurrency investment, and less than 1 in 10 invest in fixed-income securities like government or corporate bonds. However, beyond the big two investment avenues of stocks and bonds, there’s a bit of diversification, around 1 in 4 respondents look for other forms of investment like real-estate, foreign exchange, or investment funds. But rather, they are predominately into cryptocurrencies.

In terms of allocation to cryptocurrency, nearly every other respondent plans to invest at least 10 percent to 30 percent of their annual income into digital assets and 1 in 4 intends to allocate more than 30 percent. This is clearly higher than the 2.5 percent stake that most money managers advise to put into Bitcoin or other top cryptocurrencies.

Commenting on these figures Ciara Sun, VP of Global Business at Huobi told AMBCrypto,

“These findings aren’t surprising but they do solidify our belief that digital assets will continue playing a significant role in the future borderless economy and help drive global financial inclusion.”

While these numbers do point to the bravado and the trust cryptocurrency investors have in the market, it does point to the maturation of the market as well. Diversification is an important aspect of any portfolio, but this can be done in a complete digital assets portfolio as well. Asset-price safety can be achieved through investing in stablecoins, either fiat-collateralized stablecoins like Tether, or crypto-collateralized stablecoins like DAI. Recurring income investments like yield-focused bonds can be mimicked by investing in liquidity pools or by lending out idle cryptocurrencies. And the kicker, hedging can be achieved with pretty much all forms of decentralized currencies, because that’s what they are meant for.

So, is this sort of lack of traditional finance diversification hurting the cryptocurrency market, or helping it become more mature? Well, we’ll have to find out.

Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/btc-xrp-eth-link-etc-is-too-much-crypto-in-your-portfolio-a-problem

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Blockchain

Ethereum short-term Price Analysis: 22 September

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Disclaimer: The following price prediction should not be taken as investment advice as it is the sole opinion of the writer. The prediction should materialize in the next 24-48 hours. 

While Ethereum’s effort to hold fort near $390 is commendable, it would be inaccurate to state that the industry did not see this coming. With Bitcoin over-bought and barely holding a high value a few days back, Ethereum was primed to follow on BTC’s cue, whenever the king coin would collapse. The plot played out as expected with Ethereum depreciation below its support at $360.

Ethereum 1-day chart

Source: ETH/USD on Trading View

Although Ethereum’s 1-hour chart exhibited the formation of a descending channel carrying bullish implications, the breakout has been down south following the collective crash. The bearish pressure put on the price from the Exponential 50-Moving Average was towering and within a 12-hour window, the asset dropped from $375 to below $345.

The selling pressure taking over was also identified on the Relative Strength Index chart, where the token dropped down to an extreme oversold position before attaining recovery. With the market was indicating choppy movements over the past 24-hours, a jump above $350 seems unlikely, while further depreciation cannot be taken out of the picture.

Bitcoin 5-hour chart

Source: ETH/USD on Trading View

Interestingly the 5-hour chart of Ethereum suggested that Ether is possibly at a make or break range at the moment. As observed, the price has followed the bearish breakout from the rising wedge like clockwork and it is currently right above the long-term support at $336. This leads up to two possibilities at the moment. Considering Ethereum hasn’t traded much in the current price point, a move upwards or downwards is likely to take place within the next 24-48 hours.

Awesome Oscillator is suggestive that the bearish pressure is only beginning to increase in the trend and it might carry the price all the way down to $305. On the other hand, the price can jump right up from $336 and attain a position close to $360. The next 24-hour will be critical but the trend is heavily inclined towards another drop.

Source: https://eng.ambcrypto.com/ethereum-short-term-price-analysis-22-september

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Blockchain

First Mover: Bitcoin’s Latest Sell-Off Gets Crypto Traders Mulling Election Chaos

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In seeking to explain Monday’s sell-off across traditional markets and cryptocurrencies, the digital-asset firm QCP Capital rattled off a list of seven major market events that occurred in Septembers past, from the 1929 stock-market crash to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in 2008. 

There might be some deep human connection with the fall equinox — when the days turn shorter than nights in the northern hemisphere and summer turns to fall, according to the firm. “The human nervous system typically undergoes major measurable perturbations” during this period, QCP wrote Monday in its daily market update. 

The outlook is cloudy but there’s a risk of a steep plunge similar to the sell-off in March that took bitcoin prices to their 2020 lows just below $4,000. One catalyst could be the upcoming U.S. presidential election, which has become more contentious in recent days following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Bitcoin (BTC) on Monday posted its biggest drop in three weeks, retreating from the psychological $11,000 hurdle that the cryptocurrency until just recently had seemed poised to eclipse. There was also an apparent unwind of the recent frenzy in decentralized finance, or DeFi, with associated digital assets from ether (ETH) to Aave (LEND ) and Curve (CRV) falling even harder.    

“It got to a point where the market demand just kind of got exhausted, and there wasn’t enough new capital flowing to sustain the push higher,” said John Todaro, an analyst for the digital-asset firm TradeBlock. 

Despite recent bets in foreign-exchange markets that massive money printing by the Federal Reserve and other central banks might drive down the value of the dollar, investors apparently sought refuge in the U.S. currency. The U.S. Dollar Index charted its biggest gain in a month. 

“The dollar’s not dead, the dollar’s a survivor,” Denis Vinokourov, head of research for the cryptocurrency prime broker Bequant, said in a WhatsApp audio interview. “It’s a real flight to quality, and cash is king, and cash is the dollar, nothing else. The dollar rules.”

Monday’s sell-off nearly wiped out 2020 gains for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of large U.S. stocks, though ether, bitcoin and gold are still sitting on substantial 2020 gains. 

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Bitcoin percentage year-to-date returns versus ether, gold and the S&P 500.
Source: TradingView

There’s a lot of major factors buffeting the global economy and geopolitical landscape, as the coronavirus continues to spread and the U.S. elections approach. President Donald Trump is pushing to nominate and confirm a pick to the high court prior to the election, even though Republican leadership had previously suggested such a step would be inappropriate

Gavin Smith, CEO of the cryptocurrency firm Panxora, says that if the election leads to political turmoil in the U.S., he could see the largest cryptocurrency trading as low as $7,000. 

“The danger to the crypto market is much the same as we saw in March,” Smith said. “If you get that big sell-off in risk assets, there will be that liquidation of bitcoin.”

He says central-bank money printing should eventually push up inflation, which could be a catalyst for higher bitcoin prices, though “that’s very much a 2021 story.” 

“When we’ve seen the election past, all of a sudden it’s going to become clear just how much money has been pumped into the system,” Smith said. 

A battle over confirmation of Ginsburg’s successor could derail any last-ditch efforts to revive any effort to provide new U.S. fiscal stimulus, even amid growing signs that the economic recovery is stalling. 

The Federal Reserve could step in to increase its pace of money printing, but any such decision would have to be made on an emergency basis, since the next regular meeting isn’t scheduled until Nov. 5, in the days after the election.

The Fed has already cut interest rates close to zero and is buying U.S. Treasury bonds and government-backed mortgage securities at a pace of $120 billion a month. Chair Jerome Powell reiterated in prepared testimony for a scheduled Congressional appearance Tuesday that officials “remain committed to using our tools to do what we can, for as long as it takes, to ensure that the recovery will be as strong as possible.”

But Mati Greenspan, founder of the foreign-exchange and cryptocurrency analysis firm, Quantum Economics, told subscribers in a daily newsletter, said that the bar will be high for further action. 

“The Federal Reserve and other central banks have already injected quite a lot of stimulus and are already committed to keeping rates suppressed for a long time to come,” Greenspan wrote. “There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of action from them for markets to look forward to.”

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Bitcoin’s price correlations have increased recently with both U.S. stocks and gold.
Source: CoinDesk Research

Bitcoin Watch

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Bitcoin daily chart. (TradingView)
Source: TradingView

Bitcoin fell by more than 4% on Monday, confirming a bear flag breakdown on the daily chart. 

The bearish technical pattern indicates the bounce from the recent low of $9,869 has ended, and the pullback from the August high of $12,476 has resumed. 

Analysts foresee a more significant decline in the cryptocurrency if the global stock markets extend Monday’s sell-off. 

“Sustained risk-off in broader equity markets will lead to heavy offers across major cryptocurrencies,” Matthew Dibb, Stack Funds’ co-founder and COO, told CoinDesk. “Bitcoin may revisit September lows” around $9,870.

Monday’s drop has boosted demand for put options or bearish bets. According to data source Skew, the one-month put-call skew has increased to over 4% from -3% on Sunday. The positive figure indicates that put options are drawing higher prices than calls. 

However, three- and six-month skews remain negative, meaning the long-term bias remains bullish. 

– Omkar Godbole

Read More: Equity Markets Turmoil Could Push Bitcoin Below $10K, Say Analysts

Token Watch

Uniswap (UNI): Arca Funds chief legal officer argues that tokens  probably aren’t securities under the SEC’s test

Swerve (SWRV): Liquidity in this three-week-old automated market maker for stablecoins has dried up following the conclusion of a “boosted reward period,” according to Messari.  

What’s Hot

U.S. regulator OCC says banks can provide services to stablecoin issuers (CoinDesk)

Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com is reportedly to help the nation’s central bank develop infrastructure for its cash-equivalent digital currency (CoinDesk) 

ECB President Christine Lagarde says digital euro might provide alternative to “private digital currencies” (CoinDesk)

Bitcoin miner Bitfarms leases 2K rigs from BlockFills, has options for 7K more (CoinDesk)

Analogs

The latest on the economy and traditional finance

Bank shares plunge on reports Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan moved suspicious funds (CNBC)

Key Republican senators propose $28B in airline assistance to avoid job cuts (Reuters)

U.S. government debt seen hitting 195% of GDP 2050, up from 98% this year and 79% in 2019 (Bloomberg)

Fed Chair Powell says small businesses might need “direct fiscal support” (FT) 

Commercial mortgage bonds lag behind broad credit-market recovery (WSJ)

Unemployed cutting back on consumer spending as extra benefits expire (WSJ)

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Source: https://www.coindesk.com/first-mover-bitcoin-cryptocurrencies-september-election-chaos

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