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Inside XR (Oct 21st, 2019)

1. Nreal has secured backing from China Unicorn but pushed its shipping date to 2020.  The $500 consumer version of the AR glasses - which are currently only available as a Developer Kit - were set to be released later this year, but now won't go on sale until early 2020. In the meantime, in spite of ongoing legal disputes with Magic Leap, the Beijing-based developer announced it has won the support of Chinese cellular carrier China Unicom, which wants to use Nreal's immersive applications to showcase uses for 5G mixed reality services that are about to become available in the country, as it rolls out early 5G networks across major cities. – VENTUREBEAT

2. Global AR/VR start-ups are collectively valued at $45 billion according to data from analytics platform Digi-Capital. The company's Managing Director Tim Merel writes that more than $8 billion has been returned to investors through M&A, with the remaining augmented and virtual reality startups carrying more than $36 billion valuations on paper, adding that "only time will tell how much of this value gets realized for investors." He also notes that these figures exclude internal investment by large corporations such as Facebook and that there is a significant concentration of value in the current market, with just 18 AR/VR pure plays (companies such as Magic Leap, Niantic, and Oculus) accounting for half of the $45 billion global figure. – TECHCRUNCH  

3. Mixed reality has made a bold architectural project possible. The "Steampunk" pavilion installed at the Tallinn Architecture Biennial in Estonia is made from steam-bent hardwood and was built by a group of volunteers collaborating via a HoloLens application called Fologram. "The biggest advantage of working with the Hololens/Fologram is it is able to accurately position 3D information directly within fabrication environments, and fabricators can effectively use this information as a guide for how long parts should be, what shape they should be, where they should be positioned, how a construction sequence should work, etc," explained Fologram CCO Gwyllim Jahn, adding that he believes such tools will enable more complex and creative projects in future. Steampunk is on display at the Tallinn Architecture Biennial in Estonia, which has the theme "Beauty Matters: The Resurgence of Beauty" and runs until November 17.– NEW ATLAS   

4. The latest Magic Leap app holds a kitten hostage in mixed reality to encourage kids to learn math. Developed by Jeff Paries, a principal software engineer at the international digital agency AKQA, Zombie Math is freely available on the Magic Leap World app store. The game allows you to play with either a male or female zombie, who trundles along your real-world surroundings thinking up basic math problems for you to solve using multiple-choice answers. Get 12 of those right and you defeat the zombie, but if you make enough mistakes, an adorable AR kitten gets eaten by the creature, who gloats about it by dancing in the its grave. Happy Halloween! – NEXT REALITY   

5. Women in Immersive Technologies (WiiT) has evolved from a Facebook group into a non-profit promoting gender equality in the industry. What started as a networking social media group back in May 2016 is now a website with a growing number of resources to inspire and help women in VR/AR make meaningful connections, learn, and contribute to the emerging landscape in a meaningful way. Its four founders - Leen Segers Ioana Matei, Sara Lisa Vogl, and Vera Grablechner - want to create balance in this far-reaching tech field by offering women a network of support, encouraging them to choose a career in the field. Those interested in supporting the initiative can become a partner, contributor or ambassador. – ARPOST

6.  In this opinion piece, Cult of Mac journalist Charlie Sorrel argues that Apple is already giving its users an augmented reality experience. "AirPods are augmented reality. They are also a part of a new computing paradigm that Apple snuck into the world without telling anybody," says Sorrel, explaining that this paradigm currently consists of AirPods, iPhone, Apple Watch and the HomePod, which form a PAN (personal area network) that interconnect information technology devices within the environment of an individual user (typically within Bluetooth range). He concludes that it remains to be seen whether Apple's AR glasses actually succeed in meaningfully and seamlessly adding something to that existing mix.  – CULT OF MAC

7. Students at this year's DubHacks competition got to develop apps for the HoloLens 2. Since 2014, the event has been the largest collegiate hackathon in the Pacific Northwest, attracting sponsors such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, which this year made the yet-to-be-released HoloLens 2 available to the young developers, albeit with no documentation, which arguably added spice to the challenge. One of the projects to emerge from the 24-hour intensive development session was ReadMe3D, an immersive multisensory environment for people with dyslexia. “We could've decided to play it safe and not use the HoloLens, but we wanted to take the opportunity and make the most out of it,” said computer science sophomore Nour Ayad. – THE DAILY UW

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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