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Inside XR

Inside XR (Aug 19th, 2019)

1. New movie "Auggie" explores some of the deeper philosophical issues around immersive technologies. The film comes out on September 20 and tells the story of Felix Greystone (played by Richard Kind) who gets a pair of Augmented Reality smartglasses as a retirement present. In this scenario, however, the "Auggie" glasses project an AI being into his world that is able to read and tap into the wearer's brain signals, fulfilling their subconscious desires. Greystone, who is married, ends up falling in love with the Augmented Reality being played by Christen Harper, forcing the viewer - "Black Mirror"-style - to confront the question of what constitutes reality when it becomes indistinguishable from other experiences. – GIZMODO

2. An educational immersive reading experience can teach kids STEM subjects while helping them learn to deal with bullying. "Clio’s Cosmic Quest" is the fourth title for the Wonderscope app which was developed by Within - the company founded by immersive tech pioneer Chris Milk. “Augmented reality allows us to take abstract scientific concepts and make them concrete,” says Samantha Storr, Within’s Executive Producer of Original Content. The Wonderscope AR app was designed for children aged 6 and up and is available on iOS. Each Wonderscope adventure normally costs $4.99, yet the company is currently running a back-to-school sale until August 25th which means users can get access to all stories for a one-time fee of $.99. – VRSCOUT

3. Activewear brand IKAR has partnered with Magic Leap and 3D model-makers CGTrader to create virtual models. The application generates realistic 3D avatars modeling the various items for potential buyers, who can view all possible textures, colors, combinations and sizes without the need to produce a large number of physical samples. Although this is a B2B use case, it does bring us a step closer to the point where, as consumers, we will also be able to access similar functionalities when shopping, both online and in the real world.– AR POST

4.  Bentley's new AR app feels quite old-fashioned. The company has just released an Augmented Reality experience for the Bentley EXP 100 GT concept car. But in spite of being designed to showcase a bleeding-edge piece of technology - the vehicle, which is not yet for sale, is all-electric, can go from zero to 60 mph in under 2.5 seconds, features a self-driving mode and uses biometric sensors to determine the most comfortable seating positions, track passenger eye movements, body temperature, and blood pressure - the app, Jim Manning writes, requires users to physically print anchors and QR codes in order to view the model. And unlike competitor apps such as the one recently developed by Porsche, it doesn't allow you to scale it to full-size. – NEXT REALITY

5. Augmented Reality is helping sailors navigate better, and could even save lives. The US Coast Guard cites the most common contributing factor to sailing yacht accidents as operator inattention, followed by improper lookout and operator inexperience, which is why technologies that overlay complex key information onto the real-world without requiring them to constantly look away to reference materials is proving so useful. Will Bruton says that coming into a channel scenario, for example, is where Augmented Reality systems really come into their own, and that combined with thermal imaging and tracking technologies, it could make the difference between life and death in a MOB (Man Overboard) situation. – YACHTING WORLD

6. Bernard Marr provides a quick-reference explainer of current immersive tech terminology. He briefly outlines some definitions for Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Mixed Reality (MR) - also sometimes referred to as hybrid reality - and Extended Reality (XR) which is quickly emerging as an accepted umbrella term to encompass the entire spectrum of immersive technologies above, as well as future spatial computing ones that might emerge. – FORBES

7.  FundamentalVR incorporates eye-tracking in its haptic immersive tool for training surgeons. “We track your eye-movement and your surgical sight gaze," explains the company's CEO Richard VIncent. "Being able to track that with the precision of your eyes as opposed to the movement of your head which is what we’ve been doing so far is just a great step forward,” he says, adding that it also improves the system's capability as an assessment platform, since it allows educators to identify where the user is placing their attention and focus that more efficiently. – UPLOADVR

8. The VRX Conference & Expo 2019 has announced its agenda and speaker lineup. Taking place on December 12-13 in San Francisco, the event - which is expecting around 600 attendees - will discuss how XR can boost ROI, propel businesses, and engage consumers through immersive experiences. Speakers will include representatives from companies such as HTC Vive, General Electric, Paramount, and ExxonMobil. – TECH TRENDS

9. An Augmented Reality app developed by students promises to save workers from electrocution. The winning team at this year's Maker Games competition at UNSW Sydney developed the safAR app in response to a challenge from a construction materials manufacturer to come up with a way to prevent workers from being accidentally electrocuted after incorrectly isolating or turning off heavy machinery in its manufacturing plants. An average of 27 workers die and more than 530 are hospitalized each year as a result of such accidents. The system uses machine learning to recognize objects and provide visual reminders when dangerous machinery is left on. – OPEN GOV ASIA

10. Wired's Peter Rubin is the latest tech journalist to review Apple's [AR]T Walk. After taking part in the San Francisco experience, he notes that the whole carefully choreographed experience "feels very Apple: incredibly polished and incredibly stable, as long as you did things exactly the way Apple told you to". He also adds that although the project is a relatively small-scale one for the company, it is very public and can play a significant role in normalizing some of the strange behaviors we're going to start seeing with the increased use of Augmented Reality in public spaces. – WIRED

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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