Inside VR - January 23rd, 2020 |

Inside VR (Jan 23rd, 2020)

The Rise of Sideloading For Oculus Quest / Sailing Virtual Scottish Waters / VR Improving Quality of Life During Chemotherapy

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The present and future of virtual reality news and technology

1. After being rejected by Facebook, a popular VR climbing game has finally made it to the Oculus Quest. Kyle Melnick reports that the publication of Electric Hat Games’ "To The Top" marks a big moment for the sideloading SideQuest app, which effectively provides a work-around for users to access popular content on the headset, which has not been officially approved for the platform. “We see SideQuest as a new avenue to help support independent VR developers make the games they want and push the bounds of what is possible,” a spokesperson for Electric Games said. "To the Top" is one of the most popular VR climbing experiences out there, with the current release (priced at $15) including 35 vertigo-inducing levels that turn users into what Melnick dubs "robotic cheetahs," and allows you to leap, climb, and skate around 360 scalable objects. – VRSCOUT

2. A New Virtual Reality campaign literally immerses visitors in Scotland's beautiful waterways. The initiative to use immersive technology to boost tourism in the region is the result of a partnership among several of the country's major institutions such as National Trust for Scotland and VisitScotland. The experience includes the opportunity to sail and boat along Scotland's rivers, lochs and seas in places such as St Kilda, Islay, Skye and Inverness Marina, through a series of 360-degree VR videos produced as part of the #MustSeaScotland campaign. – BBC

3. VR Journalist Ian Hamilton argues that Disney Parks are still ahead of the game when it comes to providing the ultimate immersive experience. Relating his own experience of visiting Disneyland's newly opened "Star Wars: Rise Of The Resistance" attraction, Hamilton writes that home VR systems still have a long way to go before they provide the same levels of physical immersion wrapped in a complete and deeply moving story that were on offer at the location. "From small vibrations to heavy lurches, the biggest gap between the best VR of 2020 and the complete illusion created by Disney’s newest attraction is the way physical feedback relates to 1:1 movement through space," he writes, adding that Disneyland arguably represents the "Westworld-like" pinnacle of physical simulation today. – UPLOADVR  

4. Virtual Reality is helping autistic children to adapt to the real world and enjoy new experiences. Staff at Prior’s Court School, a special care facility in England, are using VR scenarios to introduce patients to unfamiliar and potentially stressful situations such as visiting a shopping mall or boarding an aircraft, all within the safe boundaries of a classroom. “Our young people, they have difficulties with sensory issues so they can find it overwhelming going to very busy places or transitioning to a new place,” explained Nuno Guerreiro, computing teacher at Prior’s Court School. The charity is also hoping big data can help optimize the results of the virtual therapy, so they are trialing it with a new data collection system, called Prior Insight, gathering a detailed picture of each child’s day, what they’ve eaten, how much exercise they have had and how they are behaving. – THE NEW YORK POST

5. Top "Beat Saber" player and VR Sports recruiter Ashley Riott talks about how VR helped her rebuild her health and start a new career. Riott used the popular Virtual Reality game to recover after a life-changing injury and eventually started streaming her gameplay on Twitch. “When I first started streaming it was really just to show my friends who didn’t have VR the amazing things it was doing for my recovery. As time went on, more and more folks started tuning in, and before I knew it, I found myself at Twitchcon hosting a house with a bunch of Beat Saber/VR players," she recalls. Eventually, she was approached by Team Gravity to be a content creator for them, which enabled her to travel to the UK last year 2019 for the VR world finals. – VR FITNESS INSIDER

6. Companies are increasingly turning to VR for workplace training. Reuters reports that immersive technology's unique ability to indelibly lock lessons in learners' minds is driving mainstream companies to adopt it as part of their training practices. Walmart, for example, has been working with the technology for the past two years, using the 360-degree video experiences to let employees see situations from different perspectives. Now, VR headsets are in more than 4,500 Walmart stores, and some 800,000 associates have gone through training, Reuters’ Beth Pinsker reports, adding that most companies find that the return on investment in VR comes in the time saved and in employees who perform better. – REUTERS

7. Study shows that VR during chemotherapy can improve quality of life during chemotherapy treatment. A recently published study in the Journal of Cellular Physiology demonstrated that virtual reality therapy as distraction interventions alleviated anxiety and improved mood states in breast cancer patients. The results of a study conducted with 94 women who underwent chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer at the Pascale Institute in Naples showed they were able to benefit from the treatment with a substantial lowering of anxiety levels. "We must pave the way for scientific studies that can replicate our results to understand the true potential of these tools," said Andrea Chirico, psycho-oncologist, a researcher at the Sapienza. – NEWS MEDICAL

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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