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Inside AR

Inside AR (Aug 9th, 2019)

1. Researchers at Taipei Tech created a haptic device that makes you feel as if you’re underwater. The LiquidMask was demoed at SIGGRAPH 2019 with a scuba diving VR experience, where the mask was being worn underneath an HMD. The prototype system is not currently very portable, requiring two water tanks as well as heating and cooling systems to work. There is some interesting potential, however, to use such a device to enhance all manner of different temperature-based virtual experiences in future if it is eventually developed into a commercial product. – FAST COMPANY

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2. The future of the Gear VR is looking increasingly uncertain as Samsung has confirmed that the new Galaxy Note 10 won’t work with the device. Together with the fact that there hasn't been a Gear VR update in over two years and it is no longer available to buy on Samsung store, it does look likely that the company is moving away from the HMD. The mobile VR market has been declining steadily as standalone devices such as the Oculus Quest deliver vastly superior experiences and become increasingly affordable. – THE VERGE

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3. Follow Friday: Steve Teeps

Steve Teeps (simply known as Teeps) is an LA-based VR Artist specializing in 3D Concept Art, Digital Sculpting, Character/Creature Design, Concert Visuals, and Virtual Reality Experiences for the entertainment industry. He's had residencies with Google and Oculus, and often does training and technical demos at conferences such as SIGGRAPH, Adobe Max, CTN, Oculus Connect and others.

He started out his creative career developing concert visuals and animations for the music industry, working on large scale stage productions, album artwork, and music videos. His bio says he "dreams of vast 3D worlds, and is fueled by love for all things comics, games, movies, and pop culture."

His distinctive style fuses classic archetypal imagery into immersive paintings and sculptures, and his clients include Disney, Marvel, Microsoft, TheWaveVR and Samsung. He also was responsible for creating the VR experience for Luc Besson's Valerian movie. Follow him on Twitter @Steveteeps

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4. An unofficial fan-made VR experience based on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter lets users cast spells using voice and gestures. "Ravenclaw Common Room VR" is available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, and Valve Index. The experience, as the name suggests, is based inside the common room of House Ravenclaw at Hogwarts, where you'll find books with instructions on how to cast a range of classic spells such as "Engorgio" (causes target to swell immensely) Wingardium Leviosa (basic levitation charm) and Reparo (instantly repairs damaged objects). ​​​​​​VRScout Editor Kyle Melnick says that in spite of its modest origins and ambitions, this has become one of his favorite magic-based experiences, as the voice commands really work to immerse you in the shoes of a wizard/witch.– VRSCOUT

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5. PwC's head of AR and VR, Jeremy Dalton, says that the Augmented Reality market will be larger in the long run than Virtual Reality. VR and AR are far from mature technologies, yet Dalton believes it is just a matter of time until we see AR supersede the revenues that VR has in the corporate sector. INFORMATION AGE

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6. IMG Studio, a digital media company based in San Antonio, Texas, has created a Virtual Reality basketball experience for wheelchair athletes. The project was commissioned by South Texas Regional Adaptive and Para Sports with funding from the nonprofit arm of Spurs Sports Entertainment. So far the experience has proven to be a compelling recruitment tool to draw more youngsters into playing the game, and IMG also plans to explore how the experience might also be adapted for use in rehabilitation. – KSAT

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7. Beat Saber will soon let its users customize the color of their sabers and corresponding notes. Beat Games confirmed in a tweet that it would be including the long-awaited feature in its next update (although the date for that has not yet been announced). Based on the tweeted screenshot, UploadVR's Jamie Feltham concludes that users might also be able to change the colors of walls and lights on each level, as the settings "seem to go pretty in-depth, with RGB tweaking and a color wheel for fine-tuning." – UPLOADVR

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8. The Slovenian Alpine Museum is offering tourists a chance to experience the climb down from the country's highest peak in Virtual Reality. The institution, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is providing a 3D experience of descending 2864-meter Mount Triglav on a zipline, landing in front of the museum building.The zipline descent experience is included in the price of the museum ticket  – TOTAL SLOVENIA

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9. Self-driving cars could be tested solely in Virtual Reality. Software company rFpro has developed a virtual model of the real world that allows for accurate testing of a vehicle’s ‘perception’ by recreating all the unpredictable details of real-world driving such as difficult lighting conditions and random reflections which could confuse autonomous systems.– MOTORING RESEARCH

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10. The company delivering Britain’s new high-speed rail network (HS2) is using augmented reality to train staff who will eventually run one of the busiest train stations in the country. Construction of Old Oak Common station is set to begin later this year, and when it opens it is expected to handle a flow of approximately 275,000 passengers per day. To prepare its staff in advance, HS2 partnered with S.M.E., PAULEY; the National College for High-Speed Rail; and Invent to provide future employees with Augmented Reality training including customer service and safety. The idea is to allow employees to gain the skills and familiarity to efficiently manage the station before ever setting foot in it. The AR training is also expected to have spin-off benefits for developing the station itself, as trainees can provide feedback to its designers on their experience so plans can be honed before the build actually takes place.– GLOBAL RAILWAY REVIEW

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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

 

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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