Workers protest Microsoft army contract | Inside XR - February, 25th 2019

Inside XR (Feb 25th, 2019)

The HoloLens 2 is Out / Man Spends Whole Week in VR / Microsoft Workers Protest Army Contract

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1. Microsoft unveiled the HoloLens 2 ahead of Mobile World Congress. Images of the device were leaked on Twitter a few hours before Satya Nadella's keynote announcement on Sunday evening. Microsoft revealed that its newest holographic computer - now available for pre-order - will cost $3500 and ship later this year exclusively to businesses, which will also have the option to rent the devices from $125 a month. As well as being lighter and more comfortable to wear for longer periods, the HoloLens 2 features a much broader field of view, eye-tracking, better gesture recognition, and a heavy emphasis on cloud integration - THE VERGE


2. A group of  Microsoft employees has filed a protest against the company’s contract to supply the U. S. military with mixed reality technology. The $480 million deal announced last November would see the U.S. Army purchase around 100,000 HoloLens headsets for use in battlefield deployment and training “As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers,” reads the letter published by  the Microsoft Workers for Good group, which they claim gathered 200 employee signatures so far. - FUTURISM


3. Google Ventures invested a further $28 million into user input technology start-up CTRL-labs. With Project Soli Google is also developing its own interaction sensor which uses radar technology to track sub-millimeter motions at high speed and accuracy. This all contributes to the sense that the tech giant is gearing up to launch a product in the AR hardware or wearables space at some point, but what that will look like is still very much open to speculation. - NEXT REALITY


4. - Qualcomm is pushing for XR (Extended Reality) to become a new category of phone-driven immersive device. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona the company announced an initiative to partner with firms such as Pico, Acer and nreal to combine 5G with the computing power of its Snapdragon 855 phones over USB-C. The first of these devices is expected to launch later this year.  TECH CRUNCH 


5. A new book reveals abandoned Oculus projects that were meant to replace the Rift in the VR Race. In 'The History of the Future', by 'Console Wars' author Blake Harris tells the dramatic story of the founding and rise of Oculus before and after its acquisition by Facebook. - UPLOADVR

6. The HoloLens 2 is still aimed squarely at businesses and enterprise users, but the next version might be consumer-ready. Scott Stein got early access to the device in Redmond prior to launch, and in this video, he speculates about Microsoft's future strategy for the technology. - CNET

7. A clip by creative coder Yujin Ariza has gone viral after being tweeted by journalist Jesse Damiani. It demonstrates how, as immersive technology advances, reality itself becomes a malleable medium. –TWITTER

8. Immersive games were recognized at the 22nd annual DICE awards for interactive entertainment. It's only been three years since VR got its own category, and Beat Saber took the award for Immersive Reality Game of the Year.  - AR POST

9.  A Holographic Augmented Reality camp will open for kids aged 6+ this summer in Silicon Valley. Parents looking to give their child a head start in the immersive technology industry can sign them up to the program run by Integem, where students will learn the skills to create their own holographic AR cartoon or comic movie. - REALITY TECHNOLOGIES

10. VR content producer Jak Wilmot is spending an entire week in Virtual Reality. His aim is to test how humans cope with longer periods being immersed in VR. The experiment is being live streamed and goes on till February 27. VRSCOUT


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

 

Editing team: Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).


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