AMD and Associated Press launch virtual reality channel

AMD and the Associated Press have launched a new channel which puts viewers in the middle of events and environments through the wonders of virtual reality technology.

Some might say this is a worrying development, something that might encourage journalists and camera operators to put themselves in increasingly dangerous situations to give viewers exclusive and authentic coverage of events.

It might also escalate demand for ever more shocking pictures of war and other tragic events and developments around the world. 

Both companies avoided talking about the downside of the development, but then the rules about journalism and what can or cannot be shown are not their responsibility – they just have to follow the rules.

The companies say they have created the new virtual reality experience channel to “fuel next-generation journalism”.

Anyway, the technology can also be used for business reports, such as enabling viewers to use VR to explore a large and complex automation system, as shown in the video above. The pictures are of what is said to be the world’s largest logistics centre, Worldport, a massive package sorting facility located between the Louisville Airport’s two main runways. On a typical night, 1.6 million packages pass through. Just before Christmas, there can be as many as 4 million.

As part of the collaboration between the companies, AP is using AMD Radeon graphics technology to render lifelike VR environments built around news and documentary content, while AMD is providing the hardware platforms, software technology and VR expertise to support AP’s journalism in VR and 360 video.

VR journalism is a new age of truly captivating and experiential news that can put all of us at the heart of the events that shape our world, say the companies in a joint statement.

On the scene and in the moment, virtual reality can free us to learn and explore another time and place as if we were there, they add. “From the shouts and cries to the cheers and parades, VR journalism presents a rare opportunity to experience the world seemingly from within.”

Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect, Radeon Technologies, which AMD formed to develop graphics and immersive computing, says: “VR can help people achieve a visceral experience of news and documentaries so they can feel what it’s like to actually be there.

“The technology can enable us to figuratively walk in another’s shoes, leading to greater understanding and empathy. The Associated Press is one of the most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, and AMD is a leading innovator for computing and visualization technologies.

“AMD Radeon graphics are designed to power the most realistic experience possible for audiences everywhere, and together with AP we’ll work to fuel the expansion of the global VR ecosystem.”

2016 is widely expected to be the year VR comes to life. VR headsets and VR-capable hardware and software will be readily available to the public through multiple avenues such as the new VR experience from the Associated Press.

People will begin to explore the VR experience and its near-endless potential including being virtually transported to another world. AMD Radeon graphics technology, with Graphics Core Next architecture and its underlying AMD LiquidVR software development environment, claims it can deliver “spectacular” VR visual experiences to engage audiences both emotionally and intellectually.

AMD LiquidVR enables immersive VR performance that maintains reliable VR comfort and is designed for plug-and-play compatibility with VR headsets, says the company. AMD graphics software such as LiquidVR and hardware subsystems including AMD Radeon graphics allow developers and content creators to develop a life-like presence in VR environments.

AP editors will retain complete control over the editorial content presented via the new AP virtual reality channel, powered by AMD Radeon graphics.

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