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Inside AR (Jul 26th, 2016)

Congrats to Lauren M., the winner of our Oculus Rift. We're also giving away an HTC Vive. Enter here to win!
2016 was the year that virtual reality took over Comic-Con. Bryan Bishop from The Verge attended the event and got a chance to try out the unavoidable array of VR experiences, from “The Man in the High Castle,” “Suicide Squad,” “X-Men: Apocalypse” and “Rick and Morty,” to name a few. He found that attendees largely didn’t care about the technology itself — they simply wanted to take a further step into their favorite fictional worlds. – VERGE

Oculus has issued an update to the Rift's Home software to allow up to four tracking sensors for a richer, more accurate room-scale VR. While Rift owners still don't have a way to purchase extra sensors (it only comes with one), developers who have tried out the new update confirm that Oculus can now play room-scale SteamVR content. – iTECH

Nintendo shares plummeted 18% after an early Pokemon Go bubble burst. The company is not expecting a huge profit boost from the app, despite the overwhelming popularity of the augmented reality game. Nintendo told investors that Pokemon Go will have only a “limited” effect on its bottom line, because it shares stakes with developer Niantic and The Pokemon Company and might be earning a smaller share of game profits than investors expected. – MONEY

We now have a much better idea of what augmented reality shopping could look like, thanks to Magic Leap. The incredibly secretive AR startup showed off another demonstration of its technology in China, using Chinese apps. The demonstration appears to give us a peek at how Magic Leap’s system — which is rumored to include an eyewear component — works for commerce. – ROAD TO VR

The NYT profiles a pop music industry feeling the pressure to force VR into the conversation. The industry seems understandably confused as to what a buying public might want from them in the VR arena, if anything, considering the lack of headsets in consumer hands. – NYT

The Smithsonian and tech collaborator Autodesk have released a 3D VR tour of the inside of the Apollo 11 command capsule. The minivan-sized Apollo 11 module served as home for much of the journey of astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin - the first humans to walk on the lunar surface - and pilot Michael Collins. – TIME


 
Kotaku gets a very early look at “Cosmic Trip,” Funktronic Labratories’ VR real-time strategy game. The impressed (but winded) writer notes, “it’s funny how much more important defending your base feels when you’re standing in the middle of it.” – KOTAKU

FROM THE FORUMS
Can't blame forward-thinking members of the Virtual Reality and the Metaverse for buzzing about Geek's eye-catching article, "What's it like to use VR on magic mushrooms?"; Holysinz rates the idea at 1/10, adding that decorum insists "marijuana is more suited for VR." Stevenab87 uses a Beatles reference to throw off the squares like me and writes "Interesting. Lucy and my Rift was 10/10." dodgeball224 offers evidence of the potential hopelessness of the writer's endeavor: "My friends tried this a few weeks ago. They were laughing too much to keep the headset on for more than two minutes." m4xw writes, "The screen door effect gets worse for me on psychedelics and my eyes have trouble to focus or rather to read text. Its fine sober."



The resident comedians at the AR subreddit are having a good time with a Stuart Spence blog post entitled "Enjoy the Innocence of Pokemon Go While it Lasts": dexa_scantron says, "Already? At least wait until it's been ruined before complaining about what's ruining it." Zulban asks, "Do you think Pokemon Go would have been just as successful if instead of monuments, art, and statues they made it so all PokeStops and gyms are McDonalds' and Starbucks'?" To this, kingpuco answers succinctly: "yes." 

And at the Oculus Rift subreddit, member (and new Rift owner) Jadziyah asks the forum members for their favorite games and utilities. Kingzope gets a lot of upvotes for his recommendation: "Chronos and Blaze Rush are a must have. I own a large chunk of the library now but if I had to do it all over again I would definitely start with those two." 1RobertMcNamara1 writes, "My wife's favorite is Chronos. My favorite is Eve Valkyrie." LimeblueNostos adds, "I liked the Apollo 11 experience. I'd recommend not doing the 'interactive' portion stuff, unless you want to see what it would have been like if they had sent people to the moon with no training on how to land, but instead of catastrophic failure, they got to try over and over and over" and that sounds like fun to us. 
Google has announced a new open-source project for spatial audio, which it heralds as a “key element” of VR immersion. Omnitone, the new platform, is an advanced audio system that seeks to source audio “where it should be” in a VR dimensional space. The tech replicates the subjective effect on real-world audio when you physically turn your head towards the source of a sound in everyday life. – POPSCI

UK defense engineers BAE systems have developed the VR-Vantage training system for the country’s Olympic team, with hopes of giving the UK's athletes a leg up by recreating the environs that await them in Rio. This type of training has become familiar in America, where it is used by football, baseball, and even basketball organizations. –  SPORT TECHIE

THE BIG QUESTION

For this week's big question, we're asking our readers a juicy one, and we're looking forward to scanning the sure-to-be entertaining and passionate responses. Here goes:

Assuming VR catches on, what do you think will be the biggest changes the tech has in store for the human race? Could human experiences of memory and reality be forever and fundamentally altered?

Any and all thoughts welcome, so please drop us a line with our thoughts on the future of VR and the human race. As usual, we'll be running the best responses on Friday.

 
How likely are you to recommend Inside VR & AR to a friend or colleague?

          
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