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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Feb 7th, 2019)

1. San Francisco-based biotech company Genentech is using VR to train eye surgeons. The training simulates a procedure that implants a tiny device in the eye to treat age-related macular degeneration, which affects people age 50 and older. The device is still in clinical trials, but if it receives approval from the FDA, the company would train specialists in the implantation procedure using VR. — WALL STREET JOURNAL

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2. Speculation abounds that Oculus VR's next-gen Rift headset will have built-in cameras, so users won't need external cameras for tracking. UploadVR first reported on filenames in the Oculus source code which show the new headset will be called the "Rift S," as well as settings that would support the built-in cameras. If true, this means users could position themselves and the headset in 3D space without using external accessories. THE VERGE

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3. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center are exploring VR as an option for reducing pain during the early stages of childbirth. Women who wore a VR headset that displayed soothing images reported feeling calmer and less stressed. The findings bear out the more general research on VR and pain management, which suggests immersive experiences can distract patients from feelings of discomfort. — WSJ

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4. A new Snapchat ad features LeBron James in augmented reality at a Foot Locker in Los Angeles. When a user scans the Snapcode, a virtual King James appears to step out of the ad and dunk a basketball.— NEXT REALITY

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5. WIRED says Marshmello's live concert in Fortnite is the future of the metaverse. The DJ performed before a live audience in within the RPG, giving participants the feeling of really being at the concert rather than watching a broadcast. —WIRED

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6. Support for VR devices will be included in the next update of the VLC Media Player. Version 4.0, which doesn't yet have a release date, will support the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PSVR and others via OpenHMD. —  VR SCOUT

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7. Open the Shazam app and aim your phone at the label on a Shackelton Whisky bottle and watch the ship "sail" toward you. After it was acquired by Apple last year, Shazam said it would be working on AR promotions for brands. — NEXT REALITY

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8. TIL: People who find emotional and sexual satisfaction with technology and/or robots identify as "digisexuals." Sex with robots is likely to increase as the technology improves, according to researchers Neil McArthur and Markie Twist.—THE CONVERSATION

9. Reviewed: UploadVR says Angry Birds VR is fun, and pretty much what you'd expect if you played the original mobile game. But Road to VR says there's not quite enough meat on its bones yet. 

10. From r/virtualreality: What are some ways to deal with claustrophobia in VR?

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This newsletter was curated by Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist Kim Lyons, whose byline has appeared in The New York Times, Columbia Journalism Review and other local and national publications.

Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at Inside.com, game-master at Screen Junkies) 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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