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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Apr 9th, 2018)

Leap Motion announced a new AR platform based on its hand tracking system. The system is called Project North Star, with Leap showing off a design for a headset that it says can cost less than $100 at large scale production. Project North Star is not a consumer headset, nor will Leap sell a model to developers. Instead, the company is releasing the necessary hardware specifications and software under an open source license next week, where companies can develop their own AR headsets. Leap Motion says it's not a headset company and is more interested in getting its software running on as many systems as possible. — THE VERGE

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Creative developer Jean Helfenstein is launching a $99 AR headset. Unlike competing devices, Ghost delivers an AR experience completely powered by a smartphone. The device consists of a compartment where users can insert a compatible smartphone. It differ from smartphone-based VR kits, like Samsung’s Gear VR, as users are not supposed to look at the phone’s screen. Instead, they view the content through a detachable, transparent visor onto which the images are projected. The end result is an affordable way for developers to build AR apps and for users to experience AR. — UPLOADVR

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Pixvana is creating an in-house VR production studio. The startup, which serves as a video creation and delivery platform for mixed reality, announced the creation of WunderVu, which will be a new independent consultancy for clients needing help with VR and AR storytelling projects. WunderVu will be led by Scott Squires, a Pixvana co-founder and a veteran of Lucasfilm. Last November, Pixvana raised $14 million in a Series A round, from investors including Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital. —  GEEKWIRE

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VR horror-mystery adventure “Dead Secret” is coming to PlayStation VR. The game, designed by Frame Interactive and Robot Invader, will be available on the platform on April 24. The game is not new to the VR scene, as it has been available on Gear VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. “Dead Secret” has been a bright spot in the VR game space, and puts users in the shoes of a 1960’s era reporter looking for their next big story. In the game, players find items, solve puzzles and collect evidence to name a murderer. The game will be released in both VR and non-VR modes. No pricing details are available. — ROAD TO VR

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One startup is working to fill downtime during baseball games. Virtex Arena is an AR app that uses a 3D stadium models to overlay games and other forms of entertainment onto the field directly in front of a viewer’s seat. The app debuted this functionality during the Super Bowl earlier this year, but now hopes to expand this to fans at Major League Baseball games. Virtex has modeled stadiums in New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and St. Louis and will be adding the rest of the MLB stadiums as the season goes on. MLB has yet to officially buy into Virtex’s vision, although the league has integrated AR into its in-stadium app. — SPORTS TECHIE 

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BUZZ: As Facebook faces the wrath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, The Verge wonders how much VR user data Oculus is giving to Facebook. “Oculus does not share people’s data with Facebook for third-party advertising,” a spokesperson told the publication, although the Oculus privacy policy has a blanket clause that lets it share and receive information from Facebook and Facebook-owned services. — THE VERGE

LISTEN UP: The Smart Kitchen Show talks to professional chef Jenny Dorsey on interesting ways that augmented and virtual reality are changing food. — THE SPOON

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