House Tipster Set to Cover the Dwell on Design Expo in Los Angeles

Ridgefield Park, New Jersey: House Tipster, an innovative online home improvement platform offering a slate of services ranging from virtual design tools to helpful forums for homeowners and professionals, is excited to travel to the Los Angeles Convention Center to cover the Dwell on Design expo from June 23-25, 2017.

Modern design meets the masses at Dwell on Design, hosted by Dwell, a magazine and website devoted to sharing current and emerging ideas of contemporary design. This one-of-a-kind event (the largest design gathering in the U.S.), brings designers and design enthusiasts together in one location. From informative exhibits to continuing education courses, guest speakers, idea sessions, and more, Dwell on Design is the place to go to listen, learn, and reimagine modern contemporary design trends whether you’re a homeowner or design professional.

A team from House Tipster is covering the entire event with plans to interview some of the best and most innovative contemporary designers.

According to Thomas Wolosik, executive manager at House Tipster, “We’re committed to helping homeowners find the right design features for their homes and Dwell on Design is the perfect event to learn about the latest modern trends across the industry. We’re here to experience everything from unique lighting technologies to breakthrough landscaping trends. If it matters to a homeowner or professionals working on the ground, we want to know about it and share it with our audience.”

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House Tipster is a full-service online platform for homeowners and professionals offering virtual room design, a House Tips information library, helpful forums, exclusive interviews and more to ensure your dream home becomes a reality.

House Tipster at High Point: Colorful & Fuzzy Trends

Everything was about texture and color at the High Point Market last week. The High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, bringing more than 75,000 people to High Point, North Carolina, every six months. House Tipster went to the show to check out the latest trends in home furnishings and interior designing.

We wanted to see everything, which wasn’t easy, because the High Point Market is a HUGE event held across several large buildings. The main building is 14 floors with furniture retailers exhibiting their products in massive showrooms. It was a giant maze, like a certain well-known ready-to-assemble furniture store. We couldn’t believe just how many retailers had displays. People were always on the go at this fast-paced trade show.

Going by what we saw across several exhibits, the most popular colors this year are pink, all shades of green, light purple, light blue, and pastels. Soft and fuzzy textures were also featured in several showrooms.

The textures and styles of this eclectic living room by Dovetail Furniture & Designs were quite interesting. Whenever possible, Dovetail has utilized reclaimed materials and sustainable woods, both to help with the stewardship of resources and to create a natural, comfortable look and feel. The fuzzy ottoman particularly grabbed our attention. Fuzzy textures were everywhere, from rugs to pillows to chairs.

But Dovetail’s showroom also featured more traditional designs, such as this contemporary living room:

As much as there was color everywhere, some showrooms featured nearly monochromatic designs, such as these rooms by Polart that look like something out of “Alice in Wonderland.”

We first encountered POLaRT at the NY NOW show in early-February, and were excited to see them again at High Point because we love their look and thinking-outside-the-box style. They have every color wood and fabric you could imagine, and you can mix and match and customize their products in thousands of different combinations.

We also spoke in detail about rugs with Chandra Tiwari, president and founder of CHANDRA. We really enjoyed speaking with Tiwari. He really knows his stuff when it comes to rugs! CHANDRA’s showroom was beautiful and featured many different rug designs.

Our photos can’t really do CHANDRA’s rugs justice because they each have unique characteristics in textures and colors that only come across when you see them in person.

“We proudly foster generations of skilled artisans and shun mass production by machine, intent on delivering our customers with an authentic, handcrafted rug,” said Tiwari. “Dedicated to our craft, we applaud innovation, exemplary workmanship, alluring design and accessible quality. Creativity is vital to our business.”

We don’t even know how to begin to describe this beyond-eclectic style. Neo-Jungle Naturalism? Whatever you want to call it, Global View’s room was inspiring. Global Views is a home decor wholesale company with collections that blend various styles to make pieces that are elegant, exotic, refined, and casual. It offers a wide assortment of fashion-forward products from furniture to accessories that fit every price range.

We also saw some great lamps and lighting fixtures throughout the showrooms.

And we loved these chandeliers by Currey & Company that look like fireworks. What drew us to them? It’s simple. The sparkle!

These lighting fixtures by Hammerton that look like sheets of ice also drew our eye.

Overall, the show had a dizzying array of furnishings, accessories, and interior designs that left us feeling inspired. We can’t wait for the next High Point Market!

HTC Vive Focus vs. Oculus Go: VR Headsets Now Better Than Ever

Although it may sound like science fiction, virtual reality (VR) is now, well, a reality. VR technology has been around since the late 1960s, but not in a way that resembles the compact VR headsets of today. The current design of VR gear started in 2010 when a young man named Palmer Luckey invented a streamlined VR headset that would later become known as the Rift and would put his company, Oculus VR, to the forefront of the VR market.

Today, several companies boast of their state-of-the-art VR headsets and accessories. Very popular with the gaming generation, VR gear can transport the user to a whole new level of entertainment. That same technology also has great potential for advancements in medicine, transportation, interior design, and other fields where virtual simulations can aid with training and help visualize the end result.

Thinking of buying a VR headset? The latest wave in VR gear can be a bit intimidating, but the following information should help you decide if today’s VR headset is right for you.

What is a VR headset?

A VR headset is nothing more than elaborate goggles that allow you to see a very realistic, 3D, 360-degree view of a fantasy world. Motion tracking cameras allow you to look around the virtual space as if you were actually there. Games or apps designed to go with the headset allow you to participate in all sorts of activities. Sounds and music played through built-in headphones help add to the experience. Slay dragons, pilot a starship, stop an alien invasion, or just look at the stars, it’s all possible and safe in a virtual world.

Mobile vs. Tethered

At the moment, VR headsets are either mobile, meaning no cables, or tethered, meaning a cable connects the headset to a computer. Mobile headsets are designed to work with a smartphone which acts as the processor for the headset. Tethered headsets rely on a powerful computer or similar device such as the PlayStation 4. Both types of headsets have their pros and cons. No cables might sound best, but most smartphones aren’t specifically designed for VR and don’t produce the best image. A high powered computer will provide a better experience, but the cable can get in the way, especially with interactive games which require a lot of moving about.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone could design a standalone headset that does not rely on a computer or a cell phone? Read on.

Standalone Headsets

Oculus VR, now owned by Facebook, recently revealed a prototype headset called the Go which does not need a smartphone or a computer for VR enjoyment. Oculus rival HTC also announced plans for a standalone headset called the Vive Focus. Although neither headset is on the shelf at the moment, prototypes and test models have been seen at trade shows and both should be released sometime this year. The following information compares these two up-and-coming VR headsets.

The HTC Vive Focus

HTC is calling the Vive Focus an all-in-one VR headset. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip (the same chip used in high-end smartphones) and offers six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF). Most headsets provide only three-degrees-of-freedom (3DoF) which means you can only look around in the spot where you are standing. 6DoF will allow the wearer to walk around a room and stay in the VR environment. This makes the Vive Focus a truly mobile headset.

For game interaction and control, there is a 3DoF Bluetooth handheld controller with a clickable thumb trackpad and app-specific buttons, volume control, and a trigger.

Vive Focus Headset Technical Specs
Tracking Technology Inside-out, six-degrees-of-freedom, nine-axis sensors, proximity sensor
Display and Resolution 3K AMOLED, resolution 2880 x 1600
Refresh Rate 75 Hz
Field of View 110 degrees
Adjustable IPD Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 835
Storage MicroSD™ slot, up to 2TB MicroSD™ external memory
Charging USB Type-C
Audio Input/Output Built-in microphone, built-in speakers, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
Wireless Yes
Power and Battery Built-in rechargeable battery, QC3.0 fast charging, up to three hours of active use time, over one week standby time
Games/VR Worlds Viveport subscription ($6.99/month)

The Good

The hardware and software used on the Vive Focus is some of the most powerful on the market for VR headsets. This hardware is needed for the 6DoF tracking. Wearers will be able to walk, jump, and run around a virtual room as if they were really there. Position tracking by cameras on the front of the headset make the experience more enjoyable compared to tethered or untethered 3DoF headsets.

The Bad

The current price tag of the Vive Focus is $600. This is three times the price of most VR headsets. Because the wearer can move about while in a virtual room, there is always the potential for injury as the wearer may become so immersed in the game that he or she could trip over or walk into objects.

Pre-orders for the Vive Focus are currently being accepted in China only. There is no information on the headset being sold in other countries at this time.

The Oculus Go

The Go is the third headset release from Oculus. It is lightweight with a new mesh foam interface and has superb visual clarity thanks to state-of-the-art lenses and a fast-switch display. Oculus describes the Go as a revolutionary VR standalone headset that can play movies, run games, and let you meet up with friends in a virtual world. The headset is rumored to run on an Android-powered Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip (not quite as powerful as the Vive Focus) and requires no other devices other than a game controller. Cameras offer the standard 3DoF environment which means you must stay in the spot where you are sitting or standing to enjoy the game.

A single motion controller with a touch area and trigger allows game control and integration.

Oculus Go Headset Technical Specs
Tracking Technology Inside-out, three-degrees-of-freedom
Display and Resolution LCD, fast-switch, resolution 2560 x 1440
Refresh Rate 90 Hz (unconfirmed)
Field of View 110 degrees
Tracking Area Seated, Standing
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 821 (unconfirmed)
Sensors Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
Charging USB
Audio Built-in speakers, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
Wireless Yes
Games/ VR Worlds Smartphone-based

The Good

The Go is scheduled to hit the shelves early this year. With a higher resolution and better screen than its siblings, the Go should be a popular VR headset. A price tag of $200 makes it an attractive option as well. Although limited by its 3DoF tracking, users can still enjoy an untethered VR experience. The headset features built-in integrated spatial audio to further enhance the environment and eliminate the need for external headphones. For example, if a monster enters on your left, you will hear the sound of the monster on your left. No cell phone or computer is needed to power this headset.

The Bad

Compared to the HTC Vive Focus, the Go is limited by its 3DoF tracking. The headset will track head movement, but that’s it. You cannot walk or jump around a room. Gamers looking for a truly mobile VR experience will be more interested in the HTC Vive Focus which brings something new to the VR world.

Wouldn’t it be great if Oculus could create a truly mobile 6DoF headset? Read on.

Project Santa Cruz

Oculus does make a 6DoF headset called the Rift, but unfortunately, it is tethered to a PC. An untethered 6DoF headset called the Santa Cruz is in the final development stages for Oculus. The gaming world is quite excited about this latest headset which is set for release early this year. Little is known about the headset at the moment, but it will be similar to the popular Rift model and truly mobile.

Conclusion

As VR technology continues to evolve, the concept of “try before you buy” is just around the corner. Test drive a car, build a house, or redesign a room by simply putting on a headset. In fact, House Tipster is looking to get in on this technology by offering virtual room apps for most VR headsets that will allow the wearer to not only redesign a room but walk around in it for a true 360-degree experience. Stay tuned to House Tipster for an upcoming weekly VR headset giveaways.

Images used with permission, courtesy of HTC, Oculus, www.shutterstock.com

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