Inside VR - January 21st, 2020 |

Inside VR (Jan 21st, 2020)

VRrOOm's Multi User Live Streaming Platform / The Duchess of Cornwall Tries VR / Lenovo Launches HMD for the Classroom

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The present and future of virtual reality news and technology

1. French VR company VRrOOm is launching a platform for immersive and multi-user streaming of live events. Rather than observing live VR or AR content from a fixed vantage point, the new platform enables users to choose an avatar and freely move around a virtual space – such as a museum, concert hall or any other venue where they can then interact with other users, including performers, in real-time. The company now works with more than 20 film festivals and markets, including Cannes XR, Strasbourg, Paris 360, Annecy, Sitges, Qingdao, and Stereopsia. Currently in a prototype form, as showcased during the UniFrance Rendez-Vous, the new platform will be commercially launched in March, initially as a B2B service for festivals and institutions. VRrOOm Founder Louis Cacciuttolo says virtual reality "brings the emotion and intensity of films, live events and the performing arts to the audience wherever they are located.” – VARIETY  

2. While meeting hospice staff on a visit to the Prospect Hospice in Wroughton, U.K., the Duchess of Cornwall tried a VR experience. Prince Charles' wife Camilla donned an Oculus Go during her visit, where she also commented on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to step down as senior royals, saying the couple would be missed. Camilla, who is president of the hospice (which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and supports around 7,300 patients, carers and family members each year), appeared in high spirits as she tested the pair of VR goggles, which are used to help soothe patients by immersing them in tranquil woodland scenes. Staff reportedly assisted the royal with the goggles before she could be seen laughing and smiling as she retreated into the virtual reality world. - ITN via MSN

3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Mia Tramz

By Alice Bonasio

Mia Tramz is editorial director of enterprise and immersive experiences at Time magazine, which recently produced “The March” experience we covered yesterday in marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Mia was named one of Folio’s Top Women in Media in 2018. In her previous role as Managing Editor of LIFE VR, Mia launched the company's VR and AR platforms, with projects such as Remembering Pearl Harbor, which she worked with HTC and AMD to co-fund and co-create, and which was showcased on Capitol Hill.

She also produced TIME’s first AR-activated issue, featuring experiences created in collaboration with and narrated by Bill Gates and Bono. She also created TIME’s first VR hologram for the experience Buzz Aldrin: Cycling Pathways to Mars. In Capturing Everest for Sports Illustrated (nominated for an Emmy award in digital innovation), Mia executive produced the first VR docu-series to capture a bottom-to-top ascent of the world’s tallest peak.

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. Valve’s new Index PC VR system is currently sold out, but the company expects to be back in stock before the release of "Half-Life: Alyx." The highly anticipated game is currently slated to ship in March but UploadVR’s David Heaney speculates that given Valve’s history, plenty of people are preparing themselves for a delay. A Valve representative recently told the publication that they are "working hard in building more Index units to meet the high demand and we expect to be in stock before Alyx ships.” The Valve Index is priced at a steep $999 for the full bundle - which is more than double the price of the Oculus Rift S - yet having the right flagship content seems to be proving there is a place in the market for such a high-end VR headset. – UPLOAD VR  

5. Lenovo's latest Mirage VR S3 headset is designed to deliver VR content to the classroom. Unlike Lenovo’s original standalone headset, the Lenovo Mirage Solo, the Mirage VR S3, dubbed the “Lenovo VR Classroom 2,” is a 3DoF device, meaning users can look around freely in all directions, but cannot move around in their virtual space. The device is powered by a Qualcomm 835 SOC processor offering 1920×2160 (per eye) resolution and a 110-degree field of view, plus built-in audio and Bluetooth connectivity. It runs on Lenovo’s ThinkReality platform and features classroom management tools from LanSchool. The Lenovo Mirage VR S3 will be available as part of the Lenovo VR Classroom 2 program launching this spring. – VRSCOUT

6. In the latest edition of VRTL's popular podcast, Creative Director and Producer Rafael Pavon shares his VR production experience and thoughts on narrative structures in immersive storytelling. Pavon works at AtlasV, the production studio behind groundbreaking immersive pieces such as Spheres, Gloomy Eyes, Battlescar, and Vestige, but he has been working with VR as a creative medium since 2015, during his time at Future Lighthouse and Jaunt in London prior to its acquisition by Verizon. In this episode, Rafael talks about his career and how to tackle the particular friction points that arise from VR production. – VRTL  

For all the best podcasts, be sure to subscribe to our daily Inside Podcasting newsletter! 

7. VR therapy is taking paralyzed veterans to new places in the St. Louis VA Medical Center. Michele Munz writes for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that therapeutic programs such as XRHealth not only help veterans with pain management and behavioral therapy, but also provide valuable biofeedback datapoints around reaction time, range of motion and cognitive function, which are useful in monitoring a patient's individual progress. Aimee Jamison, 50, of Bronston, Kentucky, explains that VR helped her feel as if she'd driven a boat through obstacle courses, sunk a basketball and touched the ocean from a surfboard. “It makes you want to be able to do that. It creates a mental environment that makes you feel like you can do it," she said. Jamison - who wears robotic legs and is now learning to scuba dive - told Munz, “I’m no longer Wonder Woman, I’m the Bionic Woman.”– ST LOUIS POST-DISPATCH   

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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