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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Feb 8th, 2018)

Viacom has shut down its VR studio Viacom Next. The studio closure comes as Viacom has had to lay off nearly 100 workers across many of its divisions. According to the company, some of the Viacom Next employees will lose their jobs and others will be able to work in other places at Viacom. Launched in 2016, Viacom Next produced VR content including The Melody of Dust and Are Aligned. The VR division will be absorbed into the company's Global Emerging Opportunities Group. — VARIETY

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An Apple patent was published today that deals with an optical system for VR/AR head-mounted displays. The patent application was filed in Q1 2017 and suggests that the display could show content using voxel technology. Voxels are similar to pixels, except they occupy 3D space rather than 2D. The patent also appears to show a microdisplay and a lens between the user's eyes. — PATENTLY APPLE

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Snapchat is launching its Custom Lenses AR feature to users. The lenses start at $10 and users can customize them and add captions. The "Create Your Own" feature is an expansion of the company's geofilter technology and lets users create a geofence allowing people within to add the AR effects to Snaps taken at a special event or location. Users select a template, customize the effect, and then select a location from 20,000 to 5 million square feet and when it will be available. The cost is determined by the size of the geofence and the amount of time it is available. Snap Inc. is gaining momentum after reporting user growth and higher revenues for Q4 2017. — TECHCRUNCH

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The media technology company Matterport is opening its 3D Showcase SDK to developers so that they can create apps and websites. Matterport has a platform that includes an immersive capture camera and a partnership with Google Street View. The platform is geared toward real estate, travel and hospitality, insurance, retail, architecture, engineering and construction industries. Early access to Matterport's 3D Showcase SDK is available now for free to select developers. According to Damien Leostic, VP of Product at Matterport, the technology is "truly immersive" rather than just 360 degrees or panoramic. — VRFOCUS

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Quizlet has raised $20 million in funding. The San Francisco-based company makes VR flash cards and educational apps. Quizlet previously raised $12 million in a Series A funding round in 2015 and has 30 million users. The recent funding round was led by Icon Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and Costanoa Ventures. The company will used the funding to expand internationally. Quizlet has a freemium model with a premium subscription that costs $19.99 per year. — TECHCRUNCH

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The world's longest VR roller coaster opened this week in Las Vegas. The attraction is called The Big Apple Coaster and can be ridden at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino. The 4,777-foot long roller coaster features a VR experience that puts riders in the role of a scientist chasing an alien that has escaped a research facility. Users also get to virtually experience various landmarks in Las Vegas and New York City. Passengers must be 4'5" to ride and individual tickets start at $20. — VRSCOUT

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The second VR Diversity Initiative event takes place on Feb. 28 in London. The initiative supports minority groups looking for careers in the VR industry. Organizers say that by the end of the year, 180 participants will get hands-on experience with VR and build a rough prototype. The inaugural event was billed at a boot camp, and the upcoming event will feature a more targeted agenda based on feedback from the 2017 campaign. Applications are available now. — VRFOCUS

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