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Inside XR (Nov 18th, 2019)

1. Two of Magic Leap's top executives are leaving the company, feeding concerns about its future. The recent news that Magic Leap has signed control of its patents to JPMorgan Chase as collateral, which came closely after it announced its latest funding round, has thrown a "dark cloud" over it, according to Adario Strange. On Friday it surfaced that two of the company’s most high-profile executives are leaving the start-up, including its CFO Scott Henry and Senior VP of Creative Strategy John Gaeta (a special effects industry veteran who has worked on movies such as The Matrix). In a statement Magic Leap’s Founder and CEO Rony Abovitz said they had “mutually decided that it is time for us to part ways," and Henry added that while he firmly believed that Magic Leap had “moved from being an IF company to a WHEN company” that was destined for success in shaping the spatial computing market, it was best for him to step into an advisory role which would enable him to “continue to be a friend and partner to the company."– NEXT REALITY  

2. The concept of an Apple "iRing" resurfaced in recent AR patents filed by the company. Patent number 20190346938 covers a "finger-mounted device with fabric." According to Apple Insider's William Gallagher, an Apple-designed "iRing" has been previously rumored since 2015 when a patent filing detailed such a device. Yet while previous patents have shown Apple describing various systems using gloves or gloves with rings on several fingers to detect motion, this filing proposes that one smart ring could provide the necessary motion information. The ring could contain "components such as force sensors, accelerometers, and other sensors and for haptic output devices. During operation, a user may wear the finger mounted units on the tips of the user's fingers while interacting with external objects," it continues. This is part of a trio of new patents about Augmented Reality that also reveals how Apple is working on new systems for playing relevant audio and positioning virtual objects in the real world. – APPLE INSIDER

3. Lenovo has unveiled its AR Concept Glasses for business users at this week's Lenovo’s Beijing edition of Tech World. The company expects the glasses will help workers access virtual workspaces on the move, using AR to give a user visual privacy while working in a public space and the option to view multiple screens at once. Rather than trying to create an entirely new platform or set of apps (like the HoloLens and Magic Leap), the company wants PC users to be able to access the work, social media, and game software they already own. Lenovo hasn’t yet disclosed specs, pricing or release date for the glasses, but a video shows the device working with a ninth-generation Intel Core i7- and GeForce GTX-powered PC. It also appears to include three front-facing cameras, support for prescription lenses, and a wire to connect to a laptop. – VENTUREBEAT

4. There is a myriad of technical issues that must be addressed before we see commercially successful smart glasses. Following the news that consumers are likely to have to wait until 2023 for Apple’s smart glasses, Tim Bradshaw explains the delay is likely due to several unsolved technical challenges in the design and components required to make AR headsets a reality. "True augmented-reality eyewear — the kind that can make the wearer believe that the holographic avatar sitting opposite them is really there — is a very different beast to a smartphone," he explains, adding that this means that many vital components, and their manufacturing processes, have to be developed from scratch, without the benefit of the smartphone’s economies of scale. Even once these are solved, we're still left with the question of what these devices will be used for, and according to Bradshaw, Apple and its rivals are likely to spend billions of dollars over the coming years before anyone in Silicon Valley knows the answer to that.– FINANCIAL TIMES   

5. John Carmack is stepping down from his role as Oculus CTO to work on AI. The legendary video game developer - whose credits include DOOM, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D - posted on his personal Facebook page that he would be migrating to a consulting CTO role beginning this week. Carmack says his main focus will be on artificial general intelligence (AGI), also referred to as "Strong AI," which is essentially an advanced form of artificial intelligence capable of learning and understanding intelligent tasks at a human level. "I think it is possible, enormously valuable, and that I have a non-negligible chance of making a difference there, so by a Pascal’s Mugging sort of logic, I should be working on it. For the time being at least, I am going to be going about it “Victorian Gentleman Scientist” style, pursuing my inquiries from home, and drafting my son into the work,” he explained. – VRSCOUT

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6. Spatial Computing needs to sell a larger vision if it is to inspire consumers. I recently came across a fantastic video which shows how Bill Gates totally failed to make a convincing case for the Internet back in 1995. It got me thinking about what makes an inspiring consumer "pitch" for a technology that insiders know will be pivotal. In my opinion, David Bowie nails it in a 1999 interview with legendary British Journalist Jeremy Paxman. Spatial Computing, like the Internet back in those days, needs visionaries to paint an inspiring picture, as well as concrete case studies that show how it adds true value to people in their daily lives. – THE NEXT WEB

7. Museum visitors can find and manipulate Augmented Reality fossils at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The Origins: Fossils from the Cradle of Humankind interactive experience was developed by the Groove Jones studio in partnership with the Perot Museum, National Geographic, and The University of the Witwatersrand to introduce people to palaeoanthropology. Visitors are given a tablet with a custom-built AR app called ARTIFAX and enter an in-door replica of the dig site where researchers discovered early human fossils. Up to ten people can roam the experience at a time, pointing the tablet at the ground to get images similar to those seen by researchers using ground-penetrating equipment and then taking their mock fosil for further examination in a research tent where they can learn more about it. The exhibit will be open in Dallas, TX. until March 22.  ARPOST  

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

Edited by Inside Dev and Inside Deals Editor Sheena Vasani.

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