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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Sep 12th, 2018)

1. Amazon Sumerian, the company’s platform for user creation of VR experiences, will get new courses from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). The university will offer “short courses” in AI, AR and VR, all adapted from the Amazon Web Services Educate program, according to VRFocus. “RMIT is also testing use of AR and VR to enhance the student experience by using an AI Digital Assistant and the institution is said to be ‘very conscious’ that VR and AR are heading towards mainstream success,” VRFocus reported. “What we see in all of our industry conversations … everyone is saying the thing that will hold us back is a skills shortage,” RMIT’s CEO said. “My team’s mission is to build a community of lifelong learners, successfully navigating the world of work…yes, sometimes your degree is the right solution education wise for a person, but throughout our lives, certainly I know in my digital career, constantly we need to be updating our skills and understand the new, emerging technology and talk with experts.” Ain't that the truth… -- VRFOCUS

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2. Recent advances in motion control technology have brought us closer and closer to effective programming by demonstration (PbD) for industrial robots. Sisu and Sixsense hope to capitalize on this by teaming up for “an intuitive way to program robots,” according to ZDNet. “Packaged under Sisu's VUDU System for industrial robot programming, the technique employs motion tracking and a handheld controller to direct an industrial robotic arm in order to teach it tasks.” This is a big deal, since most industrial robot programming requires “300-page user manuals...you have to know algebra and matrix transformations to still be able to do anything,” an expert in PbD told ZDNet. But should this solution work, it would have grand implications for robotics adoption by “small- and mid-sized manufacturers.” Add to that VR/AR advancements pulled from the gaming sector, and that easy PbD training looks even closer. -- ZDNET

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3. VRFocus has a thought-provoking look at the Magic Leap One through the eyes of a mixed-reality startup. Holo-Light is one of “Europe’s lading MR startups,” and gathered for a long-weekend hackathon with the AR glasses. “Our first impression of the Magic Leap One’s hardware was quite positive overall. The different components are substantial enough to convey that they are made of quality materials, and the system appears attractive and fully thought-out,” Holo-Light’s lead developer said. The team divided their analysis into three categories: visualization, interaction, and developer environment. “All in all, the developers at Holo-Light are impressed with the Magic Leap One. Following the first intensive testing, the impression arose that the demos available up until this point had not come close to showing the device’s potential. Many traits of the Magic Leap One are better than previous devices on the market.” It’s an interesting account, particularly in the context of recent, high-profile criticism of the device. If anything, this is a good reminder that the AR market is still very young, so even flawed magic is still magic. -- VRFOCUS

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4. A new video playback technique that debuted earlier this year has been adapted to mobile VR headsets, resulting in the kind of visuals previously reserved for headsets attached to powerful PCs. The technology was developed by Oculus CTO (and “Doom” guy) John Carmack, and “involves rendering individual strips of high resolution footage depending upon where the user is looking. Doing so allows more of the device’s video decoding power to be put to work where it matters most (where the user is looking) rather than spreading evenly everywhere,” Road to VR reports. Developer Cubicle Ninja added that technique to its “Guided Meditation VR” app, resulting in “a major leap in visual fidelity...Not only does the new approach bring 3D to the table (which is already a big step forward for immersion over monoscopic video) but the scenes now look nearly as if they’re being rendered in real-time, except with graphics which Oculus Go could never hope to deliver with its limited processing power.” This is the kind of thing that will hasten widespread adoption of standalone VR headsets like the Go--consumers will be a lot more likely to drop $200 on a VR device if they know the visuals can look this good. -- ROAD TO VR

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5. House with No Steps shows the power of VR-enabled education with a VR training prototype for disability support workers. -- VRSCOUT

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6. The Void has announced new Marvel and Disney LBE VR experiences. -- FAST COMPANY (ht ROAD TO VR)

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7. 360 video from Nuclear Blast Records: SOULFLY - Ritual (360° OFFICIAL TRACK VIDEO)

"Official 360° video for the title track off SOULFLY's eleventh studio album, RITUAL, out October 19th via Nuclear Blast Entertainment" -- YOUTUBE (ht VRFOCUS)

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8. A VR tour of some promising futuretech...

"The @Wysscenter's demos use augmented reality to show their vision of how brain controlled electrical pulse generators could, in the future, activate paralysed muscles. You can also lose yourself in a #VR tour of the brain at #NSLive... https://bit.ly/2uwhjyU" - @newscientist (The best place to find out what’s new in science – and why it matters. To subscribe go to: http://bit.ly/2FmKOXZ )

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9. Congrats, indeed! Paying attention, America?

"Congrats to #VivEdu on rolling out pilot programs with the full @htcvive #Focus classroom and integrated VR rack! NextGen #VR #Education is coming." - @AGraylin

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10. Like I've been saying, it's new medium we're dealing with here...

"“‘#VR allows you to have the empathy of films, the agency of games, and the motivation of real life,’ says Maureen Fan, co-founder and CEO of Baobab.” — @signe" - @misssarasays 

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Written and curated by Eric Skalac, who is a hands-on IoT and VR/AR tinkerer, former NPR affiliate news director and eternal learner. He's based in central Illinois where the waves of grain are amber.

Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at Inside.com, game-master at Screen Junkies), Krystle Vermes (Breaking news editor at Inside, B2B marketing news reporter, host of the "All Day Paranormal" podcast), and Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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