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Inside VR & AR (Nov 21st, 2017)

Pixvana has raised $14 million in a Series A round of funding to support its cloud-based mixed reality platform. The funding was led by Vulcan Capital, and investors included Raine Ventures, Microsoft Ventures, Cisco Investments, Hearst Ventures, and Madrona Venture Group. The Seattle-based company raised $6 million in seed funding in December 2015 and has created SPIN studio, a platform for creating and delivering augmented, virtual, and mixed reality content. — VENTUREBEAT

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Toyota has unveiled its new humanoid robot T-HR3, which is controlled using VR. The third-generation robot is just over five feet tall, weighs 165 pounds, and was developed in hopes it can assist humans at home, at work, with disaster areas, and even in space. The operator controls the robot using data gloves and an HTC Vive headset using the Master Maneuvering System (MMS). The robot has 29 body parts, including ten fingers, and balance and force control. — VERGE

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Facebook is releasing its first game in Spaces, the company's social VR platform. The game is called Bait! Arctic Open, and it is a variation of the 2016 Gear VR game for Oculus Rift users. Facebook says it is a prototype to start building third-party developer tools. The game is a casual way for people to play and interact with other players at the same time, and the company is also working on traditional card and dice games for the future. — ROADTOVR

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Porsche has a new AR system called Tech Live Look to help mechanics diagnose and remedy issues with the vehicles. The AR smart glasses connect with Porsche's Atlanta-based support team. The glasses are equipped with LEDs to see in dark corners and a high-resolution camera to focus in on small details. Tech Live Look rolled out to eight dealerships last summer and the company says it has improved the time it takes to fix issues by 40 percent. The system is deploying the Atheer AiR Enterprise AR software. — CNET

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Oculus is testing native support for React VR in the Facebook news feed. The company announced the test last week. React VR is a framework for developing WebVR experiences using JavaScript. The technology would enable users to experience VR content over the internet without an app, only needing a headset, right from the Facebook feed. It would allow companies to put out promotional or entertainment VR content through Facebook and its broad audience. Oculus did not reveal when the support would be widely available. — DIGITAL TRENDS

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A new art installation called A Colossal Wave mixes real world and VR experiences. The experience is on display at the Hull UK City of Culture festival 2017. Users stand at the top of a tall tower and drop a bowling ball into a huge gong, and people with VR headsets experience the virtual reaction triggered by the drop, a wave of "voice fruit." The fuzzy-looking fruit are created by people talking in another room, and their voices are generated into unique computer graphics that drop like debris in VR. The experience is meant to symbolize the pollution in the oceans created by manmade waste. The bizarre experience was a collaboration between the Marshmallow Laser Feast studio, Canadian artist/coder Presstube, digital creative studio, Dpt., and the immersive audio company Headspace. — WIRED

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