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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Feb 11th, 2019)

1. Google Maps is rolling out AR navigation to its Local Guides. It won't be available to all users until it's been tested, but the AR function is walking- not driving-focused, according to the Wall Street Journal. Maps will still use your smartphone's GPS to locate you, and will provide a 3D view via your phone's camera. To prevent people using Maps AR from walking into each other, the screen will nag users to lower the device and dim the screen after prolonged use. — ENGADGET

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2. Plans for Oculus Quest's Touch controllers have been submitted to the Federal Communications Commission ahead of the platform's anticipated launch. The company unveiled the Quest platform last fall, with a price tag of $399 and a spring launch date. The FCC has to certify the Touch controllers before Oculus can launch them; this is usually one of the last steps before a product comes to market.—  ROAD TO VR

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3. A new app by fitness startup YUR will let you track those calories you're burning while playing inside virtual reality. The YURfit plug in, a provisional app that devs would implement into their games, includes a mobile app to sync data to Apple Health. Think of it as FitBit for VR games. —  VR SCOUT

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4. As anticipated, it looks like Microsoft will be launching HoloLens 2.0 at the Mobile World Congress later this month. The device's creator Alex Kipman posted a short teaser to YouTube with little detail. Several industry watchers predicted Microsoft's return to MWC, its first appearance in several years, indicated it was unveiling the new headset. — VR FOCUS

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5. WIRED magazine has a look at how location-based VR has become the most commercially viable consumer virtual reality technology. After IMAX's bet on VR theaters failed, smaller movie chains have stepped into the space, with the launch of Spaces' "Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future" VR experience launching to rave reviews recently in San Jose.  WIRED

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6. Snapchat has introduced immersive lenses and an AR gallery experience featuring black millennial artists to mark Black History Month. Snapchat's black employee group SnapNoir was behind the idea, to "celebrate the black history of now." 

7. Valve has made updates to SteamVR's tracking code because some Beat Saber players were straining its limits.

8. With no need for extra equipment and broader everyday uses, The Next Web argues that AR is better/more practical than VR. 

9. The BBC has a video of how VR is being used to train nuclear engineers.

10. Boston University researchers are exploring the use of VR to treat recurring nightmare syndrome. 

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This newsletter was curated by 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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