Inside XR - November 7th, 2016

Inside XR (Nov 7th, 2016)

HTC plans to open hundreds of "Viveport Arcade" virtual reality arcades around Taiwan, China, the U.S. and Europe. The hope is that the arcades will give people a taste of VR gaming and promote the Vive headset. The company opened "Viveland" in Taipei last week, where interested people can try out the technology for between $5 and $13. – GIZBOT

ToneTree has created what they're calling the "Oak dock," an iPhone dock that can turn a tabletop into "an AR playground." Simple in construction, the Oak dock positions the iPhone above the table, using the phone's camera to "figure out what the space immediately in front of it looks like." From there, game-players use small plastic figurines and cards for "battles," with the on-screen info appearing and evolving as the game progresses. While ToneTree hasn't yet explained how all this works, they have said that the dock can hold a charge for two weeks and is powered up by a standard USB connector. The Kickstarter for the Oak dock project is live. (See the Forums sections below for more on this story.) – NEWATLAS

Virtual reality enabled 91-year-old retiree Frank Mouque to revisit Armentieres, the French town he helped liberate from the Nazi occupation during the Second World War. Manchester startup Twine created the 360-degree film using the Gear VR. Via the film, Mouque was able to "visit" the town again in modern day, and even receive a medal from the mayor. "It's like you're really there, standing in front of them," Mouque said. – TELEGRAPH

In a further advance for virtual eating, a team from the University of Tokyo has developed a device that approximates the experience of chewing food of different textures. The device uses electrodes placed on the subject's masseter muscle (the jaw's chewing engine) and haptic feedback to vary sensations of chewiness, hardness, or softness. The team has so far had the most success at replicating the feel of chewing gummy candy. – NEW SCIENTIST

According to reports, bidding has already started for the right to publish an augmented reality Harry Potter game, similar to ‘Pokemon GO.' As envisioned in a widely-seen fan-made trailer, the game is largely an adaptation of Pokemon GO for J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World. The assumption is that a huge contract between Rowling, Warner Bros, and Pokemon GO creators Niantic needs to be put in place before the game (or any Potter AR game) can materialize. Sony and EA Games are both also reported to be angling for the rights. But with franchise extender "Fantastic Beasts" just around the corner, the eventual game could be huge. (The GIF below is a from the fan trailer that imagines potential gameplay. The eventual game, if and when it happens, may be very different.) – GAMENGUIDE

Early next year, London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts will display 3D-printed artwork created in virtual reality for a project called "Virtually Real." The artworks will be created in VR space first using, among other tools, Google's Tilt Brush painting app and the Vive headset, before physical elements are printed. Visitors who take in the exhibition will be able to see the physically printed artworks, then put on a headset and see the artwork expand in VR space around them. – NATIONAL STUDENT

Manhattan's Stimuli VR has created a pocket-sized pair of VR glasses called 2VR that will work with nearly every smart phone on the market. The makers say that the 2VR, which is expected to begin shipping next month, has "specially designed ear grips that comfortably balance the phone on your face." And when users are done, the glasses can be easily folded and slipped back into their pocket. – GEEKYGADGETS

Mixed Reality is a Box of Crayons

In the latest episode of the Inside VR & AR Podcast, Nicole Lazzaro (Founder, XEO Design) & Tom Emrich (Partner, Superventures) talk with Robert Scoble about the spectrum of augmented, mixed, and virtual reality, how "VR creates that same sense of wonder that you experienced as a child".

Here's how you can check it out, subscribe to future episodes, and leave a review:

iTunes – YouTube – SoundCloud – Stitcher – RSS
Members at the Virtual Reality and the Metaverse subreddit are unconvinced about the novelty of value of ToneTree forthcoming Oak dock AR gadget, which we covered above. 

Voiderest asks, "Why do people keep calling stuff like this or Pokemon Go AR? If this is AR so is every Wii motion game and picture editing program."

To which Ademnus adds, "Also, can we stop trying to shoehorn VR/AR capabilities into mobile phone technology? I think it's holding the tech back, not unleashing it. It's like demanding the latest CoD be made for a PDA."

Sagely, 47merce advises, "It's where the money is at." 

Ademnus continues, "Such a shame to see a whole generation abandon the good tech they had in favor of an inferior pocket computer. Once, developers competed to make the most elaborate and detailed games and now it's a race to see who can make the most money from 'flappy bird' knockoffs and Candy Crush."

At the Augmented Reality sub-reddit, users are talking about Forbes' cover article about Magic Leap, which we covered in the last Inside VR/AR newsletter. 

Doodydud writes, "Anyone else tired of the incessant hype about Magic Leap? Coming soon! Be here in 18 months. Change the world. But I can't show you... Reading between the lines, it doesn't even sound as though the author of this breathless puff piece actually got to try the damn glasses. The magic phrase 'I saw it with my own eyes' is clearly missing and the rest of it is worded very carefully, but at no point does the author clearly state that they saw anything other than demo videos.

"Show me a teaser that's not obviously a post production by the talented folks at Weta. And I don't mean a 5s clip of a so-so tracked robot under a desk..."

Smoledman adds, "Even Apple showed off the original iPhone in January 2007, 6 months ahead of shipping. Am I supposed to believe that Magic Leap is so super duper special that it will hit the stores w/o ever have been showed off first for developers? Come on."

afkVR is looking for a Unity Developer. (San Francisco, CA)

CBS Digital is looking for an Unreal Developer. (Los Angeles, CA)

Facebook wants to hire a Lead Counsel for Oculus research. (Redmond, WA)

Virtually Live is scouting for an Art Intern. (Seattle, WA)

Google's VR/AR team wants to hire a Test and Failure Analysis Engineer. (Mountain View, CA)
We're gonna go a little crazy with today's question, as we ask our readers to put on their speculation hats. 

Where do you see VR and AR (or mixed reality) taking our culture over the next twenty years? How do you think a major adoption of VR/AR by the culture will change things for us down the line? Good ways? Negative ways? 

Let your minds go wild on this one, we'd love to hear what you can come up with.  Hit REPLY and let us know!
How likely are you to recommend Inside VR & AR to a friend or colleague?



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