Inside VR - August 13th, 2019

Inside VR (Aug 13th, 2019)

Unreal Engine Supports Vulkan for Oculus Quest / VR Cinematography / Reeling in Virtual Fish

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The present and future of virtual reality news and technology

1. The latest release of the Oculus Unreal Engine Integration has added support for Vulkan on the Oculus Quest and Go. Vulkan is a low-level graphics API developed by the Khronos Group. It allows engines to achieve better performance by putting less strain on the CPU. On Oculus standalone headsets, this could enable faster loading, higher levels of detail, and more efficient battery consumption. – VENTUREBEAT

2. Unreal Engine's VR production tools are becoming increasingly popular with filmmakers. "The Lion King" Director John Favreau has been an enthusiastic champion for using VR in film production, and more creators are now experimenting with virtual reality tools that enable them to add special effects in real-time and easily change everything in a scene from lighting to object positioning while maintaining the feel of shooting on location. “We can compellingly convince a camera that something else is happening in front of it that really isn’t there.” with just a few simple gestures you can instantly change the time of day from sunrise to nighttime,“  explains Kris Murray, VP of Technology at VR production company Lux Machina. – VRSCOUT

3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Jenn Duong

By Alice Bonasio

“In my dreams, VR and AR will converge in glasses that are like ours, and we'll take them on and off,” Jenn Duong told LA Weekly back in 2017, when she was just 21 years old but already something of an immersive tech veteran. And as that vision comes closer to fruition, the director and producer is creating amazing content while laying the foundations for a more inclusive industry. She has directed and produced a range of cutting edge projects from short-form VR docs to VR music experiences for artists like Banks to a VR/AI experiences with Taryn Southern. 

Duong co-founded Women in VR in 2015 (which boasts a large male membership) and has become one of the largest channels for resources, opportunities, and collaboration in the industry. She's also the co-founder of SH//FT, an organization dedicated to underrepresented voices in VR. Her Twitter bio @jenndefer reflects her positive and creative approach to fostering diversity, inviting followers to “talk intersectional feminism, make art, and take over the world.”  

Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech and their work. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio

4. The European edition of Augmented World Expo (AWE) will return to Munich on October 17 and 18. The event has been running globally for the past decade, but this will be its fourth year in Europe. According to AWE Co-Founder Ori Inbar the European market for spatial computing is "quietly becoming a contender for the world’s top spot," and the show is expecting over 2000 attendees, with more than 125 speakers and 100 exhibitors demoing the latest XR technology.  –  VR FOCUS

5. "L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files" is set to become available soon on PSVR. Sal Romano reports that the Pan European Game Information Board has rated the popular game - which was released on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Valve Index back in December 2017 - for the PlayStation 4, suggesting PSVR integration is imminent. The game places you in the shoes of Detective Cole Phelps as you wander through atmospheric 1947 Los Angeles solving brutal crimes and uncovering conspiracies.– GEMATSU

6. The Oculus Quest enables better movement in VR unhindered by cables, yet some of its experiences are actually best enjoyed sitting down. Sean Endicott rates his top games for the headset which don't require much space and are accessible to wheelchair users. From the bomb-diffusing thrill-ride of "Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes"  to the classic Tilt Brush through to the strangely addictive Job Simulator or Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs there's something for everyone.– ANDROID CENTRAL

7. Inflight VR has closed a €4 million ($4.5M) funding round to expand with its VR onboard entertainment products across various travel industries. The company, which was founded in 2014 and currently has offices in Munich and Barcelona, provides entertainment content delivered in standalone VR headsets to clients such as Iberia and Singapore Airlines, claiming the experiences elicit 95 percent positive sentiment from passengers. – EU STARTUPS

8. This year's "America's Got Talent" could feature a VR act in its quarter-finals. Back in June, the NBC show featured an Italian VR company called IDEGO which put together a performance based on their virtual therapy product for the judges, and although they were not selected for progression by the judges, there is increasing speculation that they could be brought back through as a wildcard act. – MEAWW

9. English start-up MEL Science has raised $6 million to roll out its VR chemistry kits and experiences to over 5,000 schools worldwide. The company aims to make STEM learning more accessible through the use of immersive technologies. The company was founded in 2015 by Vassili Philippov and has attracted over $12 million in total investment so far with a subscription activity model that has students using VR headsets to experience the world on an atomic level “Humans are bad about understanding what’s bigger and smaller than us. If we make the children smaller than an atom, then they can understand,” says Philippov. – BUILTIN

10. Jamie Feltham reviews the upcoming "Real VR Fishing" experience for the Oculus Quest. He found the game - which will be available on the Quest next month - strikes a nice balance between the casual and fun nature of "Bait!" and more full-on simulations. Overall he was impressed at how intuitive and easy the process of catching -and releasing - virtual fish was, and how it took advantage of the Quest's six degrees of freedom (6DOF) controls. – UPLOADVR

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: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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