A writer for the New York Times recounts her experience as one of six reporters invited to Tuscon to try out the VR simulator the U.S. Border Patrol uses to train its agents. The idea is to guide agents into defusing aggressive confrontations non-violently. There are currently 27 VR simulators available for agents working the country's 135 Border Patrol stations. – NYT
Honda has registered a patent for an augmented reality system that would alert drivers to pedestrians that are out of their natural field of vision. Sensors pick up the locations of "hidden" pedestrians and generate avatars for them that appear on a AR heads-up windshield display. The system only alerts drivers to pedestrians that are within a set distance from the car, to avoid cluttering the windshield display. – BI
An MIT research team has developed a system of simulating micro-vibrations that could allow a game like Pokemon GO to more convincingly interact with the physical world. By teaching a computer an algorithm that instructs it how wind makes the individual leaves on a bush rattle, the Interactive Dynamic Video tech can then simulate the appropriate physical reaction when a Pikachu lands on it. The process, which MIT owns, is still in the design stages, and the team says it's not the kind of thing you should expect to see until "Pokemon GO 4 or 5." – DIGITAL TRENDS
Environmental artist John Lewis has designed a Star Wars fan's dream: an insanely detailed and convincing replica of the 1977 film's memorable Mos Eisley Spaceport. The demo was designed via Unreal Engine 4, which means that the logical next step for the team is adding a VR layer. That process is underway. (Check out Lewis' blog on the project.) – ROAD TO VR
Questioned after the recent announcement of an iPhone app featuring his characters, Super Mario Bros creator Shigeru Miyamoto recently explained why he thinks there will never be a VR version of the game. "We want families to play together and virtual reality doesn't really fit well there," Miyamoto said, "We also like people playing for a long time, and it's hard to do that in VR." iTech Post also notes that Super Mariogames don't unfold in a first-person perspective, making an adaptation to VR less than ideal. (For the record, Nintendo said in 2013 there there would never be a Mario game available via the app store.) – ITP
Road to VR mostly raves about Galaxy Golf, despite the limited nature of the game-play. It’s a space-set simulation where the courses are free-floating planets a player can spin and adjust to map out his best path to the green. While the game is a “well-polished” experience, it's not particularly substantial and only serves as a “minor distraction” for serious gamers. (The price is right, however, since the game is listed at $5 dollars at Steam.) – ROAD TO VR
Swedish chainsaw manufacturer Husqvarna partnered with DigitasLBi Nordics for a VR chainsaw game, which they debuted just in time for Poland's World Logging Championships. The game, called "Limberjack," has players racing the clock to strip a felled tree of 24 limbs. (For the championship demo, the game used HTC Vive controls attached to real chainsaws; the version available for the consumer HTC Vive requires a bit more imagination.) – ADWEEK
A partnership between Valve and Bulgaria's Quark VR may finally get a much-desired wireless Vive into fans' hands. Quark hopes to reveal its new tech sometime this fall.The set-up doesn't actually eliminate the need for cumbersome wires, but it does allow the existing connections to be accomplished via a wi-fi transmitter a player can keep in his pocket. Quark also believes it has cracked the problem of lag that a data-heavy application like a VR game can encounter when operated wirelessly. – TECH RADAR
THE BIG QUESTION
We'd like to ask our readers this big question today: What are some of the ways you think VR and AR can make the world a better place? What are some of the great potential uses for the technology that haven't materialized yet?
Hit REPLY to this email and let us know what you think. We love your responses, the wild and more imaginative the better! We'll publish the best stuff you send us later this week.
FROM THE FORUMS
At the Virtual Reality and the Metaverse forum, members are talking about the Kickstarter that eyeForce has begun for its VR headset with a huge 210-degree field-of-view.
Colonel_Izzy notes (as we reported last week) "Starbreeze Studios are much further along with their Star VR HMD, and are collaborating with the likes of Acer and IMAX." User matzman666 clarifies the Star VR situation a bit: "The Star VR HMD is not intended for the consumer market... It requires some beefy hardware to run, which is not affordable by normal consumers." As far as the eyeForce, member itonlygetsworse writes, "Its another entry into the HMD market that claims it will have a great HMD that does a little bit more than what we have right now. Either its more resolution or more wide vision/FOV. Will it deliver? We'll see.Personally I'm holding out for the wireless 8K headset version with built in speakers + mic, with adjustable FOV and zero SDE and modular." To this, Fatchicken1o1 says, "See you in 15 years then." And user porcelainfrog adds, "I dont get it, a bigger fov would be nice but a small fov doesnt kill the immersion for me. When you wear ski goggles, does it feel like the immersion is ruined because you cant see more fov while youre going down a mountain?"
They're also buzzing about the announcement of imminent crowdfunding for The Lucid Dreamer, a wearable device that promises to "wake you up inside your dream using mild electrical stimulation." Member m1sta is skeptical: "It's interesting but difficult to believe. Would need a demo before I purchased." User zirdante writes, "Its not that difficult to believe. People have reported seeing lights when the back of their head was stimualted by electricity." Loje_ says, "If there was a money back policy if it doesn't work for you, I would probably buy one right away." EvidencePlz adds, "From the site: 'Favorite activities of lucid dreamers include flying, meeting people they’d never meet in real life....' I'd like to meet (adult film star) Alli Rae. Signing up for this thing now!" And so it goes...