Inside XR - September 30th, 2019

Inside XR (Sep 30th, 2019)

Stanford Sex Assault Survivor Gets a Voice in AR / Millennials Want Immersive Experiences With Their Wine / Apple's Spatial Computing Conundrum


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1. The words of sexual assault survivor Chanel Miller were brought to life with an AR project undertaken by her fellow students at Stanford. Miller initially was to take part in a project that would see the infamous dumpster where she was attacked turned into a garden, but stepped back following a disagreement with university officials. Miller had chosen quotes from her court statement to be placed in a plaque marking the spot, but was refused on the grounds that it would be triggering to other survivors. The "Dear Visitor" guided AR exhibit - which had over 100 attendees sign up - not only places those quotes in a virtual plaque on the spot, but provides further context, and the chance for people to contribute their own experiences. “It goes beyond what a physical plaque could do,” says Hope Schroeder, a graduate who was part of Stanford’s augmented reality club, 4 AR/VR that developed the project. The club had received a grant to reimagine Confederate monuments in the South, but realized the space in their own backyard could serve as an ideal test site for this type of digital reappropriation  – SF CHRONICLE


2. Verizon is promoting an AR/VR powered curriculum as part of its initiative to provide 5G access to 100 under-resourced schools in the US. The project is an extension of the company's Innovative Learning Initiative, which is already deployed in 152 schools. "We wanted to go beyond that, and make sure our students also have access to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality, technologies that can really leverage and harness the power of 5G," said Justina Nixon-Saintil, Verizon director of corporate social responsibility, adding that in order to do that, they needed to have the right content. Last fall Verizon hosted the 5G EdTech Challenge, which asked non-profits and universities to submit solutions that could leverage 5G to make a difference in student's academic achievement and engagement. The winners included "Movers and Shakers", an AR game that explores the narratives of underrepresented historical figures and "Mapper's Delight," a multi-user VR environment that guides students through the process of conducting data science experiments through hip hop, and "Visceral Science: Grasping the Universe through Virtual Reality," a VR project developed at Columbia University to make abstract chemistry and physics concepts more tangible. – TECH REPUBLIC


3. From the Forums: Apple launched its Reality Composer suite of tools last week and some interesting videos have already started to emerge which showcase how user-friendly the prototyping app is. @tomemrich, who is recognized as a top influencer in the immersive space, tweeted that "Editing an AR scene in real-time is sick! Put some donuts and metal bagels on my wall cuz you can with #AugmentedReality - loving how quick and easy it is to use Apple's Reality Composer." Responses to the tweet indicate that this prompted others to try the tool, and even led to some impromptu community troubleshooting. – TWITTER


4. AR is becoming an integral part of music releases for a lot of artists. Tommy Palladino writes that "there have been enough music artists releasing Snapchat AR experiences over the past week to fill a small festival," with the latest example coming from Atlantic Records, which published a Snapchat Lens that recreates a scene from the music video for "Wake Up in the Sky," using Snapchat's sky segmentation technology to project the artist trio on their nearest horizon as they belt out the song's hook. Other artists such as Guns n' Roses and Slipknot have leveraged AR on Facebook and other platforms, or launched standalone apps such as David Bowie and Childish Gambino. The trend, Palladino concludes, is clear: Artists and their marketing team are very much embracing the possibilities of Augmented Reality to extend their reach and engage their audiences. – NEXT REALITY


5. Wine company 19 Crimes says Augmented Reality is proving a hit with its customers and helping to boost sales. Jeanne O'Brien Cofrey analyzes how the brand is leveraging AR to push its unique differential - the name of the company comes from the fact that the bottle labels display portraits of Irish men and women accused of minor crimes and sentenced to deportation to Australia, who come to life and tell their stories once viewed through the Living Wine app. "When we launched our Living Wine Labels app, it really blew that word-of-mouth out. Consumers were showing their friends these cool talking labels, fans were using the AR at parties, everyone who saw it said, wow, this isn’t something I’ve ever seen a wine brand do," says  Doug Altmeyer, Global Brand Director for 19 Crimes – FORBES


6. Will Apple lead the way in the Spatial Computing paradigm shift? In this opinion piece, immersive industry veteran Robert Scoble ponders on Apple's AR strategy. He points out that we are approaching the cusp of a new technology paradigm shift - spatial computing - which will arrive in full force by 2025 as various pieces of the immersive spectrum such as Augmented and Virtual Reality develop and converge. Spatial Computing is, he explains, "Computing that you, a robot, or a virtual being, can move through." and it will change everything. But Apple, having been at the forefront of the previous paradigm shifts - most recently with the iPhone - is now in a very different, market-dominant position. The key question, he says, is whether being "fat and happy" instead of "scrappy and hungry" will make Apple too cautious and tentative in launching into this space with its own hardware, thus further delaying the immersive tech tipping point which experts have been anticipating for the past few years. – LINKEDIN    


7.  Sony's latest Augmented Reality display patent could be used across different platforms, including vehicle dashboard displays. This interesting patent, first filed in 2018, shows an AR gaming visor which could potentially be compatible not only with the PlayStation, but also Xbox and both Apple and Google Operating Systems. Content appropriate for Heads-Up-Display (HUD) can be strategically extracted and displayed or superimposed over the primary viewing area through the use of a visor or display worn or positioned in front of the user, relieving the user from diverting their attention to other areas of the screen and creating a gameplay advantage for the user.  Yet its applications also extend beyond AR Gaming into vehicle dashboard displays, for example. – PATENTLY APPLE


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: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).


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