Inside XR - October 11th, 2019

Inside XR (Oct 11th, 2019)

Apple Could Take the AR Plunge Sooner Than Expected / YouTuber Makes Tony Stark's EDITH Glasses / Composing Music with Augmented Reality

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1. A research note from respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has indicated that Apple's Augmented Reality headset might go into production as early as Q4 2019. Kuo writes that the company will cooperate with third-party brands to make the device available for an early 2020 release, with Changying Precision tipped to be the main chassis supplier. This follows a previous note from the analyst back in March which first stated that Apple’s intention was to release the headset sometime after mid-2020, whereas this revised timeline seems to indicate that the release could actually happen a few months sooner than that. Kuo understands that Apple's AR glasses will be marketed as an iPhone accessory and primarily take a display role while wirelessly offloading computing, networking, and positioning to the iPhone, which would allow the device to be kept lightweight. – MAC RUMORS

2. A YouTuber has made his own functioning version of Tony Stark's AR Glasses and says he wants to bring them to market. Jake Laser, whose channel has over 936,000 subscribers and more than 125 million total views, put together a DIY version of the EDITH smartglasses featured in "Spider-Man: Far from Home" and other Marvel Universe films. The first version was not very portable, however, being tethered to a laptop that required a backpack to carry it around. He has since pivoted to using a Raspberry Pi module connected to a lithium battery and a head-mounted camera, replacing the original see-through display with a near-eye display. A cloud-based program is used to analyze the camera feed so that the computer vision capabilities of the device come close to that offered by applications such as Google Lens (in a live test, the smartglasses were able to identify a stop sign). Laser says he is now working with an undisclosed AI smartglasses company to turn the prototype into a finished version. – NEXT REALITY

3. Follow Friday: In her many roles over the past years, @KamalSinclair has been a powerful advocate for diversity in VR and a driving force for innovation in the industry. Sinclair was the director of the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Labs for seven years and still serves as a Senior Consultant for the Sundance Institute’s Future of Culture Initiative. Her main role, however, is currently as Executive Director of the Guild of Future Architects which supports independent artists, which chimes with her own artistic background; She began her career as a cast member of the Off-Broadway hit STOMP, has published a book, exhibited in over sixty museums and festivals, won International Center for Photography’s 2015 Infinity Award for New Media, and was archived at the Smithsonian’s National Museum. Enough said. Follow her already! 

4.  Musician Will Copps is using spatial sound to create entirely new entertainment experiences. Copps developed a passion for what he calls "spatial music" after he worked on a 4D sound system for a music festival two years ago. Since then, he has turned to Apple’s ARKit and Unity and in spite of being initially intimidated by the fact he did not come from a developer background, was able to create an entire spatial album. He describes this as an interactive immersive space where the musical elements change as you move through it. “If you walked through it more slowly you’d hear the melody slower, if you walked through it faster you’d hear the melody quicker. If you walked through the hallway backward you could hear the melody in reverse,” he explains, adding that the experience of designing the sound in Augmented Reality made him think about space - instead of time - as his compositional tool, opening up a whole new way for people to experience music. – ARPOST

5. With the imminent release of “Minecraft Earth,” makers Mojang responded to fan demand to have the game available on the Oculus Quest. Back in May, a fan named “Siroto” left a post on Mojang’s official feedback site requesting the release of Minecraft on the Oculus Quest. The post has since gathered over 5,700 votes and became the third most-supported submission on the entire site, finally prompting an official response on Reddit from Mojang this week. And although u/CornerHard, the team member who addressed the community, made no promises, the company acknowledged the huge appetite for such porting of the popular franchise into more immersive platforms. – VRSCOUT

6.  The largest private bank in Brazil has rolled out an Augmented Reality program to train its surveillance staff. Angelica Mari reports on how the technology has been introduced to enable simulations of risky situations without endangering staff and to accommodate flexibility in the creation of scenarios. Staff wears AR glasses during training as they go through the different simulations and gamified scenarios that could occur over the course of their daily work. The bank claims that a major benefit of using the technology is the ability to train without impacting the actual operation or the customer experience, enabling quicker and more effective responses around a suspicious and criminal activity such as detecting when a person might be carrying firearms or dangerous objects such as iron bars. – ZDNET

7. Celebrity badminton player PV Sindhu has lent her backing to an Augmented Reality app that aims to raise awareness about breast cancer in India. The app was developed by Ushalakshmi Breast Cancer Foundation (UBCF) a not-for-profit organization that is planning to launch it across the country in the coming month. Sindhu hopes it will help tackle the disease which is currently the most common form of cancer in India, with one woman on average succumbing to it every ten minutes. The idea is to use AR to simulate a one-on-one interaction with a doctor without him or her being physically present with the patient, something that presents a barrier for many potential sufferers, UBCF's chairman told the Mumbai Mirror. – MUMBAI MIRROR  

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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