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Inside AR (Apr 22nd, 2019)

1. Tsubasa Sakaguchi, the Nintendo Labo Director and software lead, discussed the recently released Labo VR Kit, and Nintendo’s long-term immersive strategy. He says in this interview with Scott Stein and son that the company had planned to integrate the Labo concept into the immersive plans from the very beginning. Some of Labo's VR ideas go all the way back to the Wii U, and NintendoLand, for which Sakaguchi was the art director. – CNET 

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2. While Notre Dame cathedral in Paris prepares for a long-term renovation after last week's fire, visitors from all over the world are still able to visit it in Virtual Reality. After the devastating fire that destroyed the iconic spire and most of the building's roof, it is likely to be several years before the physical location reopens to the public. In the meantime, this article lists several alternatives such as Google Earth VR and a 360° documentary by  French immersive video production company TARGO that allow virtual tours of the structure before the fire. – UPLOAD VR

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3. The VR devices which are best suited for corporate use cases are likely to be very different from the most popular ones among consumers. Simon Kuntz provides a useful overview of points and variables to consider when businesses are choosing enterprise HMDs for applications such as virtual reality training.  – VENTUREBEAT

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4. Shutterstock's new AR feature gives consumers a chance to visualize thousands of artworks in a real-world environment. The 'View in Room' functionality sits within the stock image company's existing mobile phone app and allows you to place images of various artworks onto any flat vertical surface in your surroundings. This includes the ability to resize the virtual piece and view it from any angle. Currently, the platform hosts 250 million images and videos, contributed by a community of over 650,000 individuals who add thousands of new images each week. – VRSCOUT 

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5. The Google Lens AR platform will be upgraded to include a range of specialist filters. These will include functionality to detect and translate languages automatically and a dining filter that searches for nearby restaurants, including popular dishes. There is no set date for the launch of the new feature but there is speculation that an announcement could be made at next month's Google I/O conference. – ENDGADGET

6. Peter Rubin explains why he's never used VR while high. Although he has been an enthusiastic user of both immersive technologies and weed for many years, he would not consider combining the two, arguing that "there is no need to overwhelm your senses when you're redefining them altogether." – WIRED 

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7. The historic Masjid Kapitan Keling mosque in George Town in Malaysia can now be visited in virtual reality. A 360-degree VR documentary filmed during Friday prayers invites viewers of all faiths to explore the rites of Islam, from the melodic call to prayer to the ablutions. – THE STAR

8. Researchers have developed a VR adventure game called Butterfly World 1.0 to teach users about insects and plants. According to a study published in the Rethinking Ecology Journal, VR and serious gaming are the new frontiers of environmental education. – TIMES OF INDIA

9. Researchers at The University of California, Los Angeles, are investigating whether VR can help tackle a common symptom of depression called anhedonia. The unusual approach focuses not only on reducing negative feelings, but on creating positive ones. Patients were immersed in pleasant scenarios to help them learn to plan positive activities, take part in them, and soak up good feelings in the process. – STATNEWS

10. Two diverging strategies are emerging in the virtual reality industry. Travis Hoium outlines how Facebook's Oculus platform continues to bet on the consumer market while HTC is firmly in the enterprise camp. This leaves the two companies with very different segments of the market, from both a price and performance standpoint and could eventually determine what kind of headset becomes the leading platform in the industry. – THE MOTLEY FOOL

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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: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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