Inside XR - November 4th, 2019

Inside XR (Nov 4th, 2019)

Plastic Surgery Filters Banned from Instagram / Apple's Computer-Generated Reality Patent / XR Journalism Has Arrived

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1.  Christina Brooks looks into the heated debates which have arisen from Facebook's decision to ban "plastic surgery" filters from Instagram. Since it started allowing users to create their own filters on the Spark AR Instagram platform, a variety of popular filters have emerged, but some of them, such as "FixMe," have prompted concerns from mental health charities, which argue that obsessing over doctored images of oneself may give rise to a mental disorder known as selfie dysmorphia or Snapchat dysmorphia as UK-based Dr. Tijion Esho termed it. Developers, however, have complained that Facebook's guidelines are not clear or consistent, and are threatening to abandon the platform in favor of rivals such as Snapchat, which so far has made no similar moves to ban filters such as "Plastic Dream" and "plastic fantastic."  – NEXT REALITY

2. Apple's newest patent goes into great detail about the many variations of experience within the immersive computing spectrum. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application originally filed back in Q2 2019 with work dating back to Q2 2018. In it, the company lists a variety of techniques for providing tangible visualization of virtual objects within computer-generated reality environments (CGRs) such as VR, AR, MR (mixed reality) and AV (augmented virtuality) all of which could conceivably be supported in future devices. – PATENTLY APPLE

3. Rovio has released "Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs" for ARCore supported Android phones. Although the 78-level free game sets users the familiar challenges of retrieving stolen eggs and destroying structures using catapults, the Augmented Reality element changes the gameplay significantly. Where in previous 2D titles you were restricted to one perspective, with AR you can move around in your physical space to decide the best direction to launch the birds. – FIRST POST

4. There is a broad range of XR journalism case studies building up in the industry as the medium becomes more accessible. At this year's XRDC, Robert Hernandez organized a session entitled "Augmenting Journalism by Hijacking a Dancing Hot Dog." The panel – which included deputy editor for strategic initiatives at The Washington Post Elite TruongChaitanya Shah, creative technologist at Nonny de la Peña’s Emblematic Group and Marcelle Hopkins, co-director of immersive journalism at The New York Times – discussed varied and groundbreaking examples of immersive journalism such as David Bowie costumes in AR. They also discussed the Syrian chemical attack project, which showcased how investigative journalism from remote parts of the world can be brought to people's living rooms, eliciting the medium's power as an "empathy machine" and The Washington Post’s use of AR to give users a close look five space suits that reflect the 50-years of spaceflight, where AR spacesuits began popping up on a variety of locations engaging and educating users through interesting photo ops. – IMMERSIVE SHOOTER

5. In this latest opinion piece, Robert Scoble reflects on how AirPods give us a pretty good idea of how Apple could come to dominate the spatial computing space through wearables. Audio is an important aspect of Augmented Reality, and we've seen several products come to market (such as the Bose smart glasses and Amazon Echo) which focus solely on this aspect. What is different about the AirPods, Scoble argues, is how well they allow you to mix and match relevant items from the real world with various media such as music, phone/video calls, and much more. Apple's philosophy of human factor design shows in the product UI, and this "turning the real world on and off, or up or down," is what Apple's glasses should excel at once they finally hit the consumer market. – LINKEDIN

6. Clifford Colby has updated his extensive player's guide to "Minecraft Earth." As the global rollout of the AR location-based mobile game continues (with Canada, South Korea, Philippines, Sweden, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Iceland having been recently added) Colby promises to keep users in the loop about the latest available features. And because it simply wouldn't be "Minecraft" without a dose of cave exploration and battling skeletons, he dedicates some space to talking users through how to go on adventures: "Going on an adventure may require you to dig or chop or battle hostile mobs, and you will be rewarded if you successfully complete it. And if you complete an adventure with a friend, everything you collect will be shared," he explains. – CNET

7. A scientific experiment has shown promising results for holographic surgical navigation. The research published last week in The Spine Journal was based on a cadaver study that compared surgical navigation using an AR system to that of a traditional pose-tracking system. Twenty Kirschner-wires (K-wires are used to hold the bone in place after an operation) ) were navigated into the lumbar pedicles using the AR navigation, and 10 K-wires using the traditional state-of-the-art pose-tracking system. 3D models of the spinal anatomy were created using post-experimental CT scans and real-time navigation was enabled via trackable, custom-made drill sleeve guides. The researchers found no significant difference in the accuracies measured between AR-navigated drillings and the traditional pose-tracking system approach, concluding that holographic surgical navigation by way of a head-mounted device yields a similar accuracy to that of the high-end pose-tracking systems, which are perceived as the gold standard for this type of spinal operation. Although the results will now have to be confirmed by clinical studies, researchers conclude that these promising results could lead to a new way of surgical navigation with minimal infrastructural requirements. – DOCWIRE NEWS

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

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