Inside XR - July 1st, 2016

Inside XR (Jul 1st, 2016)

NBC will offer 85 hours of VR programming for the Rio Summer Olympics, via Samsung’s technology. Among the footage expected to be delivered in VR: Opening/closing ceremonies, gymnastics, and men’s basketball, with specialized packages available for highlight packages of many of the others competitions. The material will only be available to pay-TV subscribers of participating cable/satellite providers. – VARIETY

How do you feel about the idea of Samsung-exclusive VR Olympics coverage? Does this kind of business plan bother you? Write us and let us know how you feel! has posted a fascinating article about Steven Spielberg's secret VR project, and how The Beard is the ideal figure to crack the problem of VR storytelling. The writer argues that Spielberg, as a sui generis master of screen storytelling, is a natural-born genius when it comes to guiding the audience's POV without them noticing it. And that's exactly the task at hand with VR "story" films. – TECH.CO

Swedish game maker Starbreeze has acquired ePawn, a French company that focus on VR & AR, as well as toys-to-life tech. Earlier this week, Taiwanese electronics firm Acer invested a reported $9 million into Starbreeze’s StarVR headset. – GAMASUTRA

Polygon had chronicled the reactions, both pro and largely con, of two resident Pokemon enthusiasts who spent a week the AR-heavy Pokemon GO beta. While both fans were impressed with the appearance of the 3D Pokemon, they both register strong disappointment that their beloved franchise “has been boiled down to a short-form, swipe-and-dodge mini-game” that will appeal more as nostalgia than as a worthwhile game. – POLYGON

Had a chance to test Pokemon GO yet?  Have any observations you wanna share with us?  We'd love to hear from you, so drop us a line.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro smartphone will mark the consumer debut of Google’s Project Tango, an AR project that packs a smartphone with 3D vision sensors.  Tango’s processing runs entirely on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 SoC, despite the heavily-hyped Movidius vision processing chip that made its way into prototype but did not end up in the consumer version. Qualcomm claims users will be able to run all of Tango’s necessary algorithms and sensors with “less than 10% CPU overhead” compared to the average app. – ARS TECHNICA

For the 2016 hurricane season, The Weather Channel plans to make inventive and potentially lifesaving use of its AR capabilities. By virtually flooding its studio via its “SurgeFX” tech, the network hopes to better communicate the very real world danger posed by hurricane-related storm surge flooding, which is particularly deadly but previously has proved a hard hazard to communicate to viewers. (41 of the 72 deaths from Hurricane Sandy were due to the related record storm surge flooding.) – MASHABLE

At the AR reddit, member j4nds4 asks for recommendations for non-dystopian speculative fiction, noting that most stories about AR or VR tends towards doomsday scenarios "depicting addicts, the "gamification" of our lives, loss of interpersonal interaction, and of course that dramatic moment when it somehow breaks and we have to cope without it."; member mcg115ca recommends Victor Vinge's 2006 novel "Rainbow's End."; User h3ron offers tons of evidence of upbeat AR concept videos.

At the Virtual Reality and the Metaverse subreddit, members discuss the Ars Techinca article titled "Can We Stop Pretending HTC has a Future in VR?"; User Captain_Al says "I'm so sick of all these articles who are trying to call it early whether such and such VR company has a future or not."; bdschuler has a different take: "The reason I say WTF, is if your writing an Obituary, write one for Oculus. Google Daydream is the future of Android VR. That means all those Samsung VR headsets powered by Oculus are done for. Mark my words."
Sony has forecast that their VR and video game divisions will be major growth drivers, bringing in between $17.5 and $18.5 billion for fiscal year 2017. The shift in focus comes in light of the fact that the company expects a plateau for its image sensor sales due to slowing international demands for smartphones. ­– THE STREET

NPR reports on Dr. Sonia Kim’s Aloha VR headset for the elderly, and its first private client, 103-year-old Virginia Anderlini. For her sixth trip into the VR world, Anderlini “visits” a Hawaiian beach, experiencing what seems like delightful sensory overload. Attracted by the positive research into VR’s potential effect on dementia sufferers, Dr. Kim came up with the focus on the infirmed and elderly after attending a VR mixer where she walked through a virtual garden via Oculus Rift. – NPR

Google is working to add a VR shell to its Chrome search engine, allowing fully immersive browsing of the entire web, not just VR content. – ROAD TO VR

Silicon Valley's Orbviu is looking for computer vision engineers: "Candidates with experiences in stereo vision, 3D computer vision, image based rendering, camera calibrations, visual SLAM, 360 degree spherical video, video encoding and streaming are welcome to apply to the positions"

Colopl Ni Inc. is looking for a game tester for HTC Vive content. They want a tester who is "looking forward to what Virtual Reality means to the future of gaming.

Startup Eagle VR is looking to hire a sales manager for their Standalone Hybrid VR Systems, with a goal of selling the average consumer on affordable mobile VR systems. 

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