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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Jan 24th, 2019)

1. Intel has revealed a new RealSense depth tracking camera which now provides 6DoF tracking for VR/AR, robotics, drones and more. It performs this inside-out tracking via Intel’s proprietary “V-SLAM” system, which the company is using to provide location information in warehouses and other areas where GPS coverage is spotty, if available at all. The new T265 (not related to the T-1000) opens for pre-orders today and is expected to ship at the end of February. — NEXT REALITY

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2. Oculus Story Studio alumni Fable have announced they will pivot from immersive storytelling to creation of AI-powered, persistent characters who can interact with viewers. The company is working to imbue “Lucy” from last year’s “Wolves in the Walls” with AI and some kind of “natural input” system that could let future interactions with viewers reflect the character’s memory. “Lucy is always Lucy if she’s in AR or VR. She’ll carry that across platforms, across worlds, across technology,” said Jessica Shamash, the director of Lucy’s upcoming VR experience. — ROAD TO VR

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3. Taipei Municipal Wan Fang Hospital will use HTC’s Vive Focus headset in its new multi-user patient education room. According to the president of HTC’s DeepQ healthcare division, the headset will be used as a tool for doctors and patients to better communicate about vital, complicated and difficult-to-display medical concepts like nerves, vessels and lymph nodes. “In the past, it has been difficult to educate patients on the impacts of a procedure or medical need. Through VR, physicians can now easily talk to patients about human organ structures and treatment plans in a shared environment,” said the dean of the hospital. — VRFOCUS

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4. A new SuperData report shows VR hardware outperformed optimistic sales expectations in 2018, with annual revenues at $3.6B. That’s higher than the firm predicted in its late 2018 forecast, and represents a 30 percent year over year increase in revenues, thanks in part to high sales of PSVR. SuperData also predicts the next-gen standalone Oculus Quest headset will sell like gangbusters, forecasting sales in the neighborhood of 1.3 million units. — VENTUREBEAT

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Throwback Thursday: VR gaming, training, simulation and the future

One year ago today, Inside VR & AR included a news item about how Olympic athletes were doing some of their training using VR rigs. The athletes were working with VR training company STRIVR (who we’ve seen named in other VR training scenarios, such as Walmart’s Black Friday training last year) to review routes over and over before actually competing.

It reminds me of an item we included this week about how astronauts preparing to travel to the International Space Station were using VR/AR to train. ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano and NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan shared via Instagram that they were using the Magic Leap One headset to help prepare for extravehicular activity, which is undoubtedly a nerve-wracking experience for which any advance training is very much appreciated.

But the connection between these two news items, merely a single year apart, makes me wonder about the future. One year from now, will the standalone Oculus Quest have made such high-intensity simulation and preparation more ubiquitous with consumers? Will we hear about surgical patients using VR to help better understand the operation they’re facing? Will folks using VR to train for public speaking be something we've heard so many times it no longer seems novel?

No crystal ball here at Inside VR & AR, sadly, but I’d bet this trend will only accelerate as the hardware makes its way to more and more homes and offices. It may not replace in-person training, but hey, it sure sounds better than imagination alone. Bring it on.

— Eric

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5. Road to VR has updated it's "Can your PC handle VR?" tool to include specs for HTC Vive Pro and Pimax headsets, as well as updated info for the Oculus Rift. — ROAD TO VR

6. Professional gaming is eyeing VR (pictured below): “For the first time in generations, we’re witnessing the birth of a new major sport, and it’s happening with unprecedented speed,” said ESPN The Magazine's Senior Editor. The push to VR has experts asking if gaming will lead to consumer adoption of VR. — VRSCOUT

7. Novel VR escape room experience "Last Labyrinth" heads to Kickstarter to help fund marketing efforts ahead of release. — VRFOCUS

8. Blockchain and VR are likely destined to intermingle, and a modern imagining of 1999's "BeachHead 2000" aims to push that into the mainstream. — FORBES

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9. Allowing an architect to step into their design sounds revolutionary to me...

"Getting ready to use VR w/ architecture classes. Great way for students to get a perspective of dimensions by standing inside their designed space. #changing #207Learn" - @stewart934

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10. I've seen this sentiment more and more lately, and I think it holds some water, particularly as it pertains to VR/AR...

"There’s a great deal of discussion as of late about 'remote' being the future of work. Remote is the future of everything. Education. Fitness. Experiences. Medicine. Relationships. Community. The technology is finally cohesive enough—VR will simply accelerate this trend." - @BrianNorgard

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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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