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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Apr 10th, 2018)

Google will open up VR180 to hardware and software developers. VR180 is a format created by Google that allows creators to shoot immersive photos and videos for VR headsets, but still give a normal perspective when viewed on a phone or computer. Now, the company will create publishing tools that "help with writing appropriately formatted VR180 photos and videos and playing it back.” The move could potentially create low-priced devices that can take VR videos, while also making it easier to create devices that can capture VR content. — ENGADGET

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YouTube will exclusively steam Coachella in VR. For the eighth year in a row, YouTube will be streaming the popular music festival on the platform during its first weekend, from April 13 to 15. This year, YouTube will also be adding a full-time VR180 channel that will allow users to experience the festival in VR. VR180 is the aforementioned format that will also give non-VR users the ability to also experience that channel. Interested viewers can visit Coachella’s YouTube channel to experience the festival. This year’s festival headliners include Beyoncé, The Weeknd and Eminem. — BILLBOARD

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The Weather Channel is teaming up with The Future Group to create more mixed reality experiences for live broadcasts. Norway-based Future Group uses Unreal Engine to power AR experiences for television shows. Unreal Engine is typically used by the video game industry, with popular games like Fortnite using the platform. Now, the television channel plans to combine 360-degree video, augmented and virtual reality to better illustrate weather patterns and create more enriching weather broadcasts. The Weather Channel has toyed with AR broadcasts in the past. TWC was recently acquired by Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios for a rumored $300 million. — NEXT REALITY

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The developer of an AR app titled "SeeWorld" has raised the ire of the amusement park. Sid Dobrin of the University of Florida created an AR app that offers a “counter tour” for users who visit the theme park. The app serves as a protest of Sea World's business practices and treatment of animals. In the app, users can overlay a handful of locations within the park. Shortly after publicizing the app, Dobrin seemed to have a trademark issue regarding the use of “SeeWorld.” The theme park and the app’s developer have not commented. — ORLANDO SENTINEL 

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Technology research firm CCS Insight believes AR headsets will sell better with consumers than businesses. The firm estimates that just 24,000 AR smart glass units were purchased by businesses in 2017. Enterprise developers have envisioned AR being used for job training and other related purposes. CCS sees consumer smart glass sales as a larger market, with a predicted 4.5 million in sales by 2020. CCS Insight predicts total sales of 22 million VR and AR headsets and glasses in 2018, which also includes mass market, smartphone-powered units like the Samsung Gear VR. — ZDNET

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