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Inside AR

Inside AR (May 6th, 2019)

1. The Tribeca Film Festival closed on Sunday, and brought together over 35 projects that used immersive technology to tell stories in innovative ways. The experiences available at the event's immersive slate highlights some of the most impactful and stranger ones, such as Gymnasia, which used a large, decrepit porcelain doll that followed the user's gaze in VR to "subtly freak you out." and War Remains, which simulated the experience of being in a trench during World War I. Joan E. Solsman believes that with the improving quality of content and the availability of better and cheaper headsets such as the newly released  Oculus Quest - which will feature one of Tribeca's projects, Bonfire as a launch title - we might be approaching the crucial consumer tipping point for VR.  –  CNET

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2. Mozilla's Firefox Reality browser will soon be available on SteamVR. The company has previously released a number of platform-specific versions of the browser, but this update (expected to go live sometime in the summer)  is significant as Steam is seen as more agnostic and integrated into existing VR user experiences.  It will enable users to, for example, view game walk-throughs as they're playing a title regardless of whether they're using an Oculus, HTC, or any other HMD, making for a more seamless experience. – ENGADGET

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3. By The Numbers: April 2019 Steam’s Hardware Survey.  According to Steam’s data, gathered from those who use their portal to access their collection of SteamVR apps, the news seems to be positive for Microsoft Mixed Reality users. –  MS POWERUSER

  • Windows Mixed Reality headsets now hold 11.07% of the installed base
  • This month saw a resurgence of the HTC Vive, which is up 1.5%, at the expense of Oculus Rift, which is down 2%.

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4.  Archaeologists are using immersive technology in their fieldwork and as educational tools for the gaming generation. David R. Hixson of Hood College says that working with drones, digital photography, photogrammetry and three-dimensional imaging software is opening up new and exciting possibilities. He used the Unreal Engine to create an accurate simulation of the ancient Mayan site of Chunchucmil, and says the results present a more flexible and engaging rendition than one can find in the real world. He was also able to create a 3D model of the archaeological site in a matter of weeks, when traditional mapping practices had taken years to cover the same territory. The article also explores how Ubisoft and other video game developers are working to create gameplay modes that allow players to explore the virtual environment and learn more about the real history and archaeology their games are based on. – FORBES

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5. Trimble is expanding its enterprise applications for mixed reality technology. The company's portfolio manager Jordan Lawver says that Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 technology is ultimately going to make buildings go up faster and under-budget by allowing plumbers, electricians, and other contractors to see others' work and visualize any changes. – ABC 7 NEWS

6.  Ultra-precise location technology will enable an AR future. Charlotte Jee paints a picture of how companies such as London-based startup Scape are developing location-specific AR that is able to anchor information in real time better than existing GPS technology, with the end goal of creating a one-to-one map of the world. – MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

7. At this year’s AUVSI Xponential, Echodyne showcased a system that used the HoloLens to identify airborne threats. The company, which counts Bill Gates among its investors, is developing technology that uses sensors and mixed reality software to allow stakeholders such as law enforcement, federal agencies or enterprise companies to identify objects in their airspace (such as drones, for example) and layer 'Airspace Security' information on top of them to label them as friend or foe. – DRONELIFE

8. Facebook's new Avatars are getting us closer to the 'Ready Player One' VR scenario. Its latest technology -  an expansion of the "Codec Avatar" technology, which created photorealistic avatars of people's faces - is able to replicate a lifelike version of the player without suit markers, in real-time, and with minimal lag. – PCMAG

9. Thomas Morgan demos the Nintendo VR ports, concluding that Zelda: Breath of the Wild VR aims high but ultimately falls short in just about every regard as an actual gameplay experience. He is, however, curious to see if Nintendo will persist with experimenting in porting other titles to the Switch platform.– EUROGAMER

10. A hospice in Ohio is using VR to give patients access to a 'virtual bucket list.' Richland County hospice serves more than 200 patients daily, delivering care at home and nursing facilities, and has received a $7,000 grant from the Robert and Esther Black Family Foundation Fund to fund a project which uses 360-degree photographic or animated three-dimensional images and sounds to create VR therapy treatments which allow patients to relive pleasant memories. – RICHLAND SOURCE

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This newsletter was written and curated by Alice Bonasio, a journalist and consultant obsessed with the immersive technology space, including AR/VR/MR/XR and any other acronyms that fit into the realities spectrum. Over the past 15 years, Alice has advised a wide range of start-ups and corporations on digital transformation and communication strategy and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Trends. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Quartz, Fast Company, Wired, Playboy, The Next Web, Ars Technica, VRScout and many others. Follow her on Twitter @alicebonasio

 

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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