Inside XR - July 19th, 2016

Inside XR (Jul 19th, 2016)

VR has been found to be as potentially effective as narcotics in managing pain. Startup AppliedVR is building a library of VR content designed to alleviate tension before, during, and after surgical procedures. Researchers found that 20 minutes of “playing” one of the apps (such as Bear Blast, a “purposely mesmerizing” game where an invincible player moves his head to toss balls at cartoon bears) reduced patient pain by average of 24%. – TECH REVIEW

Snapchat has published a new patent that suggests they may be moving into augmented reality advertising. The patent implies an ad-overlay system that can turn your snaps into ads by recognizing the objects being photographed. – POPSCI

As part of the continuing industry-wide attempt to define storytelling in a virtual space, the 10-minute “Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine” was released for the HTC Vive on Stream for free on Monday. Road to VR calls it ILMxLab’s most promising experiment in VR yet. – ROAD TO VR

Fast food chain Jack in the Box has promoted its new Brewhouse Bacon Burger via a VR film designed to give members of the media an “immersive experience” of the new sandwich. – WSJ

A writer for Ars Technica UK wonders whether he invented the first GPS-based augmented reality game, a la Pokemon Go. In 2004, Sebastian Anthony wrote a university thesis on ARMUD (Augmented Reality Multi-User Dungeon), the game he had created. His opinion of his own decade-old creation: “Pretty damn awesome.” (Since there was no GPS readily available in 2004, Anthony used triangulated Wi-Fi for positioning.) – ARS TECHNICA

Over at the Virtual Reality and the Metaverse subreddit, members seem a bit disappointed in the new (admittedly free) "Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine" VR experience for the HTV Vive. After playing, Slyfox asks, "Is that all of it?"; erimid responds, "Yep. I played through it this afternoon. It really is that short, sadly. It's free so I can't really complain, but it would be nice if they'd throw in an infinite survival mode or something where Stormtroopers just keep spawning." GmasMoistCake is livid, rating the game a minus 8 out of 10 (!): "The game is free because it would be criminal to charge more than a penny for this game. I wouldn't even consider this a game at all. Han flies in and lands... You pull down some lift and press a few buttons... Deflect lasers with a lightsaber from 3-4 stormtroopers. Han flies away and its over. No playing with the light saber, no throwing it, no actual combat, it just f---ing ends." 

At the Oculus subreddit, members discuss the rumor that Samsung is about to debut its new standalone "Odyssey VR" headset. TheBl4ckFox writes, "Would be awesome if this was a PC HMD. I just kinda hope it won't be a lot better than the Rift I just got. For the extremely obvious selfish reasons :-)"; CallMeOatmeal writes, "A standalone headset designed from the ground up for VR is something that is missing from the market, so I'm glad to see Samsung address this." Chimpscod is surprised: "WTF. First I've heard of this. There's so much going on at the moment that it's hard to keep up. A competitor to the Rift or a GearVR with positional tracking?! Both of those possibilities sound awesome." Dwood15 is skeptical: "Samsung releasing their own headset would damage their relationship with Oculus. I highly doubt they're creating their own direct competitor. I find GearVR V2 to be much more likely. It may come with Positional tracking as well, but I'm betting it's still going to be a slide in for phones."
Last week, we asked readers whether they thought augmented reality as a concept would be helped or hurt by riding in on a potential "fad" franchise like Pokemon Go. Here are some our the reliably interesting answers we got from you always-passionate futurists. 

Adam writes, "Re: that big question, I would argue the exact opposite is true! Pokemon Go turned into the first huge AR vehicle specifically because it had the power of a franchise behind it: It became a fad because it taps into a big vein of nostalgia for the 90s kids who are now a major demographic for AR tech."

And from Lawrence: "I think your question is based on the assumption that P Go will be a fad, which I am not 100% sure of.
I think it feels like an experience that will massively benefit those that get in early- a little bit like in Twitter in some cases- and will of course see some drop off."

Tim writes, "It's like when Instagram launched people said it's only for taking photos of your lunch & Twitter telling people you are shopping. But the major benefit is that it gets the typical consumer (not early-adoptors) thinking and learning about AR."

James says, "The fact is, we need fads in order to introduce new things to people. Or else the introduction would take too long."

Thanks, everyone! We'll have another Big Question for you in the next issue. Keep those responses coming, they are like Scooby Snacks for us!
Sources say Google is abandoning plans to create VR headsets to compete with the Vive and Oculus, and will instead focus on producing more mixed-reality content for their Daydream platform. The company will reportedly focus on creating affordable experiences combining VR and AR that will be accessible to any smartphone powerful to run the so-called “Daydream experiences.” (Alternate sources say Google is still very must interested in building a dedicated headset.) – BGR

Road to VR reports that the number of Oculus CV1 headsets in use on Steam has stunted the market share growth of the HTC Vive. This, despite (and in light of) the controversial conclusions many derived from recent steam data that the Vive was leaving Oculus in the dust. – ROAD TO VR

Hypergrid Business collects some of the wisdom dispensed by VR experts at this year’s Cannes Lion. Jessica Brillheart, VR designer for Google, reminds us that “VR is not filmmaking” and that – in a VR setting – an audience member is not gonna look exactly where you them want to look, disrupting traditional ideas of storytelling, and making this more free POV is an ultimately rewarding experience for the viewer is a challenge. Also fascinating was Google VR VP Clay Bavor describing the tech’s eventual redefining how we access and experience memories. – HYPERGRID

A VR researcher at UC Davis analyzed Valve’s ‘Lighthouse’ (used by the HTC Vive) tracking system.  Among his more detailed findings, PhD Oliver “Doc-Ok” Kreylos discovered that a perfectly static Vive headset appeared to be jumping around in a sphere  about 0.3mm across, thanks to the system’s system’s very slight (virtually imperceptible to our brains) jitter. – ROAD TO VR

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