Inside XR - December 13th, 2019

Inside XR (Dec 13th, 2019)

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1. Scope AR has acquired Augmented Reality startup WakingApp. Six of the founding members of the WakingApp team (currently based in Tel Aviv, Israel) will work with Scope AR's team of 51 employees (mostly based in San Francisco and Edmonton, Canada) to continue developing its Augmented Reality knowledge platform, WorkLink. The platform provides real-time remote assistance and access to prebuilt AR work instructions simultaneously in one application. The price of the deal was not disclosed, but it is known that Scope AR has raised $15.8 million in funding to date. – VENTUREBEAT  

2. An unofficial Augmented Reality app gives Tesla fans a chance to check out whether or not Elon Musk's Cybertruck would fit in their garage. Following Elon Musk's Tesla Cybertruck reveal, an independent developer released a non-Tesla affiliated app called "AR Cybertruck" on iOS and Android. For $2 (much less than the $100 which over 250,000 people happily forked over just to pre-order the vehicle so far) you get access to an AR version of the Cybertruck, scaled to its real-world dimensions. That means it is possible to determine whether or not it is too big for your current home (in which case you can still keep a miniature version around) while having fun playing with the back and front lights or changing its color. This might help eager shoppers cope with waiting until 2022 when the earliest units are set to ship. – NEXT REALITY

3. Follow Friday: Maddie Callander

@MaddieCallander is a VP at accelerator and investment fund, Boost VC. Boost VC aims to invest in "Sci-Fi" Founders, particularly female ones, something that is badly needed to address the ongoing lack of diversity in tech. Twice a year, Boost runs a three-month accelerator program that also provides housing and office space in Silicon Valley, as well as mentors, speakers, family dinner and guidance for taking your startup to the next level. Maddie is on a mission to help women and underrepresented founders get a seat at the table in frontier tech. She is a Coalition Member for The Women in XR Fund, which is focused on funding female founders in the virtual and augmented reality space. She is also the Chair of the Women in VR Showcase for the US National Committee for UN Women (SF Chapter) - an event that combines virtual reality with incredible storytelling by VR female film directors from all over the world. 

Before joining Boost and helping to build its impressive portfolio of virtual and augmented reality companies, Maddie built out the private aviation department for the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana, where she managed member air transportation.

4. The XR industry is a "blue ocean of opportunity," Joel Breton told VRX 2019 attendees. Speaking at the conference which opened in San Francisco yesterday, the former GM of Vive Studios and Sixense President said it was an incredibly exciting time to be developing immersive products, especially for enterprise use cases. He adds that sectors such as healthcare offered tangible ROIs that were drawing continued investment in XR technologies even as consumers remained somewhat reluctant to fully embrace entertainment-based applications.  TECH TRENDS    

5. An AR experience is bringing the colorful history of Berkeley's Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive building (BAMPFA) to life. Architecture Professor Luisa Caldas is the director of the UC Berkeley Virtual and Augmented Reality Laboratory, and worked with a group of five undergraduate students over two years to research the building’s history, interview designers and construction workers and dig through photo archives to design the “Augmented Time” experience. Users can pick up an iPad and a pair of headphones from the BAMPFA front desk, and use it to interact with a detailed model of the building which Caldas and her students built. Pointing the iPad at the model produces AR displays of the original building’s architecture when it was a printing press, along with photos and audio describing the building’s original functions, all the way through to its current redesign. Although the Berkeley exhibit will close on Dec. 15, it will continue to be exhibited by other contributors to the project and travel around the country. – THE DAILY CALIFORNIAN

6. The New York Times has launched an app to help users visualize and compare air pollution levels where they live. Air pollution is responsible for 9% of deaths globally, and the media oulet wants to help readers visualize that impact with its latest AR experience. Users interested in trying this out can read a recent article entitled “See How the World’s Most Polluted Air Compares With Your City’s” and look for the AR activation below the second paragraph, which allows you to compare your local air particle pollutant levels with that of some of the world’s most polluted cities including Rio de Janeiro, Chicago and Shenzhen. – VRSCOUT  

7. Apple has filed a new patent that mentions a “holographic optical element.” Apple received the patent for Optical Systems for Displays which contains a description spelling out its intended use as “an electronic device that may include a display system for presenting images close to a user’s eyes.” The filing goes on to note that “devices such as virtual reality and augmented reality headsets may include near-eye displays with optical elements that allow users to view the displays." AR glasses present special challenges — the displays built into them have to be viewable at distances of an inch or less according the documentation. "The input and output couplers may be formed from holographic optical elements such as thin holograms, volume holograms, or surface relief gratings,” it concludes. – CULT OF MAC  

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 Sheena Vasani, staff writer at

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