Inside VR - January 7th, 2020

Inside VR (Jan 7th, 2020)

Virtual Bathroom Tech at CES 2020 / Experiencing Racism in VR / Handy Guide to PSVR Porn

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The present and future of virtual reality news and technology

1. Toilet paper brand Charmin is bringing a tongue-in-cheek VR experience to CES 2020. Bathroom tech is one of the hot trends at the Consumer Electronics Show opening today in Las Vegas, where Procter & Gamble is bringing out a suite of innovations to make people "Enjoy the Go" a bit more. These include the “RollBot” (a robot that can be summoned through a Bluetooth-connected smartphone to bring you toilet paper should it run out at a crucial moment) and “SmellSence” (a sensor mounted on the bathroom wall that monitors air quality and tells people whether it’s safe to go inside). Those interested in immersive tech, however, will want to check out the “V.I.Pee,” which is essentially a portable toilet with an inbuilt VR headset that gives concert-goers a front-row seat and surround sound experience, meaning they don't miss out on any of the action even when nature calls. – TELEGRAPH  

2. “Traveling While Black” uses Virtual Reality to emotionally connect viewers with America's ongoing race issues. The experience directed by Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams in partnership with Felix & Paul Studios was hosted last week by the Salt Lake Film Society at the Broadway Cinema Centre in downtown Salt Lake City. Visitors sat in a space made to look like Ben’s Chili Bowl, a historic diner featured in the "Negro Motorist Green Book" (a guide to safe spaces published during the Jim Crow-era) and immersed themselves in first-hand accounts from some of its patrons, highlighting the historical restriction of movement for black Americans and causing them to confront their preconceptions and reflect on the ongoing state of race relations in the country. Patrons reported that engaging with the subject through immersive technology created a much more meaningful impact than they had previously experienced with the subject. Brayden Lopez, 24, told Deseret that VR gave him a real sense of pain when the subjects spoke, while Joseph Adams, 43, added that the experience placed him in a position that he had never encountered in real life. “As a white man growing up in Utah, it’s an insular community that’s very white, and to all of a sudden be in that booth surrounded by only African Americans — it was startling and it kind of brought it home in a way that I don’t know you could do otherwise,” he said. – DESERET

3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Shelley Peterson

By Alice Bonasio

Shelley Peterson is Emerging Technologies Lead and Principal Investigator for Augmented Reality at Lockheed Martin Space, where she has been instrumental in implementing immersive technology across its operations. 

Peterson has a diverse technology and defense-based background. Earlier in her career, she founded a business focused on emerging technology solutions, including military aircraft distributed mission training and multi-spectral imaging monoculars. She is part of the Barbara Bush Foundation Technology Advisory Council and teaches college mathematics as an adjunct in her spare time. She also enjoys volunteering for STEM events, and operates Shotlink Lasers for the PGA AT&T ProAm.​ 

"The way that our spacecraft are built involves drawings, models, and lots of data that has to be interpreted. When you can place data spatially, there's just a significant advantage. It removes so much of the interpretation. We've seen in the past that it takes about 50% of the time to go through all of that data and to make sure, and work with peers to make sure the action that's about to be taken is the correct one," she explained in an interview with, adding that "Anytime people take paper or computer resources to transfer ideas to something in the real world, there's an opportunity for AR." 

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. As part of the Lunar New Year Celebrations, the Japanese American National Museum will host an experience exploring Asian American identity through food, drink, poetry and VR. Asian in America​ is the brainchild of Chef Jenny Dorsey, who was featured in our Women in VR spotlight back in March last year. Dinner places for the event, which takes place on Jan. 23, are already sold out, but you can apply for the waiting list and purchase tickets for the cocktail hour (which includes museum admission and a preview of the VR experience) for $15 here. – LA WEEKLY

5. A VR project lets you experience the breathtaking view of Table Rock summit in South Carolina without having to climb 2,000 feet. South Carolina State Park Service Director Paul McCormick explains that the five-minute virtual reality experience unveiled last Wednesday first takes visitors to the waterfall at Carrick Creek - which marks the halfway point of the challenging 3.6-mile trek - before proceeding to Governor’s Rock and the very top of the mountain. He says that about 40 people had tried the experience so far and that feedback has been “overwhelmingly positive.” The 360-degree footage took around 15 hours to film, and was captured by marketing agency BFG, which produced the project with the park service with funding from a private donor and BMW. – WSPA

6. Walt Disney Animation Studios director Jeff Gipson talks about how he's exploring VR storytelling with some of the world's most popular characters. Gipson’s films use immersive technology to bring the iconic Disney stories to life in a different way. His latest VR films "Cycles" and "Myth: a Frozen Tale" will be released later this year, and he is excited to be at the forefront of what the new medium might bring. "It is so powerful. You can be with our characters and be face-to-face with them. You can almost interact with them in a way," he explains. – 9 NEWS

7. It is possible - if not exactly straightforward - to watch Virtual Reality porn on the PSVR. This step-by-step guide takes users through all the intricacies of downloading, formatting, accessing and enjoying adult content on Sony's Virtual Reality headset. Although it is not something that the company officially sanctions, the requirements for accessing such content are not that much different from those needed to generally view photos, play music, and watch videos with the PS4 Media Player. – PUSHSQUARE

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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