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Inside XR (Nov 1st, 2019)

1. 8th Wall has launched a new cloud-based development and hosting platform. The editor supports popular immersive web frameworks like A-Frame, three.js, and Babylon.js and aims to make it easier for agency and business users to create "fast, lightweight projects that can be built up to any scale,” its CEO Erik Murphy told TechCrunch. The company, which last month hired Tom Emrich as VP of product, has so far raised over $10 million to develop its core technology called WebAR, which allows mobile phones to call up web experiences inside the browser, so users can access Augmented Reality experiences through a simple shared link. As Lucas Matney notes, this is particularly important for branded marketing interactions where the need to download a proprietary app causes unnecessary friction and makes it much less likely for a user to engage with the product. – TECHCRUNCH

2. The VR/AR Global Summit opens today in Vancouver with more than 1,000 XR executives in attendance and 120 speakers. The two-day conference and expo is now in its fourth edition and will include exhibitors from companies like Lenovo, Niantic, Microsoft, and Viacom. This year's event will focus on immersive interaction design, which is a particular strength of Vancouver's ecosystem, which not only boasts over 230 companies active in VR/AR (making it the 2nd largest immersive ecosystem in the world) but an established legacy in the games industry, with Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft, Capcom and Nintendo all having large studios in the city. The VRARA Association, which organizes the event, has purposefully split the lineup between men and women as part of its commitment to celebrating and furthering the progress of women in tech, which will also see the launch of VRARA Women’s Committee at the summit. – FORBES

3. Follow Friday: Katie Goode

Katie Goode is a Virtual Reality pioneer and creative director of game studio Triangular Pixels which she founded in 2014 together with her husband in order to make their own titles and fulfill creative urges and ideas that couldn't be fulfilled at the studios they were working for at the time.

"We’ve always been pushing VR gameplay to see what’s possible — introducing the concept of comfort options, local multiplayer with non-VR devices and companion apps, introducing redirection via level design and mixing VR and live theater," she said in an interview for WIVR.

Since then, they have developed VR titles such as Smash Hit Plunder, while Goode is very much a public face for women in the industry, often doing interviews, shows, and panels at open general public events. Follow her @Katie_TriPixels

4. Facebook's researchers have shared prototypes which they claim can derive 3D shapes from 2D image information. The team built a computer vision model (cheekily-named C3DPO, which stands for Canonical 3D Pose Networks) that serves as an alternative and complement to Mesh R-CNN and can accomplish large-scale reconstruction of 3D objects using only 2D keypoints for 14 object categories, such as people, birds, and cars. Three scientists working for the company - Georgia Gkioxari, Shubham Tulsiani, and David Novotny - are presenting their findings at the International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV) in Seoul, South Korea, which runs until Nov. 2. These relate to four methods of enabling 3D image recognition: "Such tasks can not only help deepen our understanding of traditional 2D images and video content, but also enhance AR/VR experiences by transferring representations of objects," the researchers claim. – NEXT REALITY

5. The Dan Marino Foundation has partnered with Magic Leap to help people on the autistic spectrum to prepare for job interviews in Mixed Reality. Similarly to the project developed by the USC Institute for Creative Technologies to help veterans re-enter the job market, this collaboration simulates job interview situations with avatars in order to better prepare candidates for the real-world scenario. Dan Marino Foundation Director of Creative Technology Santiago Bolivar explains that while people on the autism spectrum excel at many kinds of jobs, one of the steps to employment that is the most difficult for them is the face-to-face interview, and feedback from those who have tried the experience so far has been positive about its impact.  – MIAMI HERALD

6. In this opinion piece, developer Vlad Ostrovsky argues that there simply is no place in for present-day controllers in the future of AR and VR. "Why should we invent another joystick, gamepad or controller," he asks, "if we already have, thanks to millions of years of evolution, the most perfect controller for interaction with the environment – hands?" At the heart of the Zero UI (or NoUI) concept which he advocates is the idea that “the best interface is no interface” and that voice, gestures, and facial expressions are the most convenient and natural interfaces of interaction, which provide the most effective and relevant interconnection between a person and computer system. The holy grail, he concludes, would be the development of a complete kinesics-based user interface. – ARPOST

7.  A new SnapChat update lets users design AR snaps directly on the smartphone app. Launched alongside the company's AR Bar — a new toolbar designed specifically to help users “Create, Scan, Browse, and Explore” new Snap Lenses — the new update, called 3D Paint allows users to hand-draw custom face filters using the front-facing camera, as well as augment your real-world environment via the main rear-facing camera. Both updates are now available on compatible iOS devices with support for Android scheduled to arrive in the coming months. – VRSCOUT

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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