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Sketchfab extends VR support

Monday, August 8th, 2016 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Originally posted on 13 January 2016. Scroll down for updates.

Online 3D model viewing platform Sketchfab has just added support for virtual reality. All of the content uploaded to Sketchfab – as of last week, just over 500,000 models – now comes with a ‘View in VR’ button.

At the minute, VR support is confined to Google’s inexpensive, mobile-phone-based Cardboard system, but Sketchfab says that it plans to extend this to “all major headsets”, the next being the Oculus Rift.

The system has already had one unusual practical use: CNN reports that cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Redmond Burke used Sketchfab and Google Cardboard to plan a life-saving operation on a four-month-old baby.

Updated 18 May: Sketchfab has now extended VR support to the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Gear VR headsets, releasing native apps for all of the platforms. Positional tracking is supported on the Oculus and the Vive.

(Note: at time of posting, the Oculus and Gear VR apps are listed as ‘Coming soon’.)

The new functionality makes it possible to “walk into and navigate [Sketchfab scenes] with 6 degrees of freedom” – a point illustrated to good effect in the demo video above.

Updated 8 August: Sketchfab has further extended its VR support, making it possible to view the interface of the site itself in VR mode.

The update also adds a new teleportion system for navigating VR scenes, similar to the one used in many VR games. You can find more details via the link below.

Read more about the updated VR support in Sketchfab in the company’s blog post

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