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Inside AR

Inside AR (May 13th, 2019)

1. Facebook is using Spark AR to expand its augmented reality footprint. At the F8 conference in San Francisco last week, Matt Roberts - product manager for Spark AR - said that more than a billion people have interacted with the platform. Dean Takahashi explores whether these interactions can develop from silly filters into true utility for consumers, and how Facebook is looking to monetize on that. – VENTUREBEAT

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2.  Business Insider has a behind-the-scenes look into a pitch that secured an immersive tech start-up $68 million in funding. Earlier this year, Sandbox VR CEO and cofounder Steve Zhao pitched investment firm Andreessen Horowitz (who have backed Facebook, GitHub, and Lyft among many others) to secure a Series A funding round. This article shows what the winning pitch deck looked like, and the embedded video - released by the firm itself - gives a rare glimpse into how these deals actually take place, and what appealed to investors about the location-based VR start-up. –  BUSINESS INSIDER (paywalled)

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3. By the Numbers: The typical Virtual Reality device only gets about 6 hours of use per month. The new report by IDC was based on five surveys conducted in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany in the holiday quarter. Some 1,643 users of high-end VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive as well as PlayStation VR were polled. Gaming is still the most popular activity for this rather sparse usage (65 percent of respondents reported fewer than five hours of monthly usage) with 72 percent of respondents saying they played a VR game in the past three months. – VARIETY

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4.  Take a look at a side-by-side comparison of the Oculus Rift S to the HP Reverb. This comprehensive review by Sam Machkovech deconstructs the pros and cons of the two latest 'inside out' headsets to hit the market this month. The conclusion seems to be that both are a mix of advancements and compromises, and there is as yet not one clear dominant force in the VR hardware space.  – ARS TECHNICA

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5. Jacob Medel provides a step-by-step guide for those looking to cheat on Pokémon GO. It is possible to fake  your GPS location and movement to game the system into thinking you're physically someplace else, and collect all those pesky Pokémon hiding in far-away cities.– NEXT REALITY

6. Experiential VR training is allowing organizations to deliver, document and assess workforce behavioral change at scale. Immersive technology costs a fraction of what role-play coaching does, and is much easier to implement, as well as often proving more effective. Todd Maddox, CEO of Cognitive Design and Statistical Consulting explains that this allows the learner to obtain essentially limitless training on a broad array of situations. – ERP IN NEW

7. Facebook has restructured its Immersive Technologies leadership team ahead of new releases next week. Erick Tseng is replacing Hugo Barra as Facebook’s VR Product Lead, while Jason Rubin’s role is expanding to explore future gaming strategies across AR/VR as well as continuing to lead product development. – UPLOADVR

8.  Virtual reality is the safest bet businesses can make, a new analysis says. According to Rafael Szymanski, the only way to meet the expectations of consumers in coming years will be by incorporating technologies, such as AR into their shopping experience. –  TECH RADAR

9.  Surgical Theater is a VR application that helps children and their family cope with major illnesses. The technology creates a precise, 3D pathway into a patient's brain powered by layers of high-end imaging, and it has been modified so that young patients and their parents can be projected within those simulations as avatars. Project lead Kurtis Auguste, M.D. explains that doctors have been able to lower anxiety levels dramatically for families and even very young patients. – ABC 7 NEWS

10. A mixed reality experience in Texas promises the ultimate cardio workout. Players wear an Urban Air ActionBand, an RFID wristband that keeps track of points players earn during their interactive VR battles which they can use to redeem for prizes and rewards at the park. Currently, this is only available at Urban Air’s Southlake, but there are plans to expand it to 300 new locations by 2020.– VRSCOUT 

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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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