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Inside XR (Oct 27th, 2016)

Oculus and Kaleidoscope have set up a new initiative called DevLab to support the next generation of VR creators. Twenty-eight artists from around the world will work with advisors and participate in workshops to incubate new projects and create prototypes. They were selected because they’ve either produced important VR experiences, or are new to VR and have careers in cinema. DevLab will conclude on December 2 with a showcase event at Facebook headquarters. - VENTURE BEAT

ABBA have teamed up with “American Idol” creator Simon Fuller to create a virtual reality “reunion.” The creators promise “a groundbreaking venture … which will enable a new generation of fans to see, hear and feel ABBA in a way previously unimagined.” Fuller has been investing in VR companies in recent years to create new forms of entertainment. More details about the project will be released in 2017. - ROLLING STONE

Sexual assault is becoming an increasing problem in virtual reality gaming. A woman wrote on Medium that male gamers started groping her character’s chest while she was playing QuiVr on HTC Vive, after they realized she was a woman because her mic was on. Critics say it doesn’t count as assault because it wasn’t real, but other women are comparing it to the online harassment aimed at women on Twitter and are urging VR developers to deal with it. - CNN

Facebook has launched AR “selfie masks” just in time for Halloween. Taking a page out of Snapchat’s book, Facebook will integrate “lenses” into its Live app that let users wear cartoon masks on camera. The initial selection of masks will include skeleton, witch, and pumpkin masks for the holiday, and will start rolling out today to iOS users in the US, UK and New Zealand. - TECHCRUNCH

New AR beauty apps are changing the way women shop for makeup. Brands like L’Oreal Paris and CoverGirl have developed apps that let users “try on” makeup colors before they buy them. IMAN Cosmetics, a brand for women of color, has added new technology that analyzes facial features and recommends products based on complexion and other features. Meanwhile Sephora has launched an app that provides step-by-step contouring tutorials. - THE FASHION SPOT

The first major scripted VR drama will immerse viewers in a soap opera miniseries. “Invisible” from director Doug Liman, Conde Nast and VR company Jaunt was formally released this week for Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The series follows the episodic format of a prime-time soap opera, but has the added challenge of allowing viewers to look anywhere in the scene, not necessarily at where the action is happening. This means that editing scenes skillfully will be even more important. - LA TIMES


HTC’s new Vivepaper app that combines VR and AR for a “virtual reading” experience has people both intrigued and skeptical on the Virtual Reality subreddit

"I thought the resolution wasn't good enough for this sort of stuff?" says TRL5. maxiimus1 replies, "I guess with supersampling it could be good enough (as it probably won't require much processing power so you'll be able to crank it up) but still, the headset isn't exactly the definition of comfortable. Something like PSVR, this would work better, I'd say (also with supersampling tho)." Raunhofer says, "Cool idea. I wonder how well this suits for comics."

But OnTheCanRightNow disagrees: "Okay... So, this idea combines the convenience of having to buy physical media (to get the QR code booklet) with the comfort, screen resolution and ease of reading text of a VR HMD? I'm all for throwing sh** at the wall to see what sticks, but this appears to be a dried out, frozen, crusty dog turd from last winter."

On a different thread, people are analyzing specs for the new MacBook Pro to see if it will have the power to run VR and AR, and the consensus seems to be: "No, not at all. They gimped the GPU again," says LaRock0wns. SuperSonic6 asks, "What do you mean? The 2015 entry level MacBook Pro 15 inch didn't even have a GPU. Now it actually has one. And it can run 2 5k displays at 60fps. I mean it's not a super gaming laptop or anything but it should be more than enough to run VR right?" iamsorry88 says, "Unless [Apple] is completely abandoning their current product numbering scheme, no this will not be close to enough to handle the majority of VR experiences." escape_character remarks, "I was holding off buying a Windows machine just in case they were. Alas."


Oculus is on a major hiring spree as it expands its AR production, with more than 100 positions listed on its Careers page. Many of the listings are for the Oculus Research facility in Redmond, Washington, which focuses on long-term study of the future of VR/AR. Other listings are for hardware and software engineers. Some examples include:

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