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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Feb 27th, 2019)

1. Magic Leap seals its first international deal with SK Telecom, a move that will debut its Mixed Reality Headset in the South Korean market. Although the company stresses that it is currently only targeting developers, it hopes to reach the consumer market much sooner than Microsoft, which has made it clear that the HoloLens 2 is aimed squarely at enterprise customers. Magic Leap doesn’t currently support 5G, yet its Chief Product Officer Omar Khan says that future versions of the headset will incorporate this connectivity, and stressed that the partnership with SK Telecom made sense because the country had proved such an early adopter of smartphones and 4G. - FINANCIAL TIMES


 

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2. Frontgrid is selling its VR paragliding simulator to location-based-entertainment venues around the world. The company which is based in North Wales, UK, has so far had orders for its ParadropVR system from India, Dubai, Malaysia, and Thailand. The experience can already be found at several UK locations – branded as ParaflightVR.Guests strap into a paragliding harness and ride the air currents and score points by pulling handles up and down as air is blown onto their faces to simulate the sensation of speed.  - VR FOCUS

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3Tree is a VR experience that has continued to impress audiences - including at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos - since it first premiered in 2017. Produced in partnership with the Rainforest Alliance by New Reality Company, it takes you through the tree’s lifecycle from germination to being cut down. Now its maker Winslow Porter says his company is working with the University of British Columbia on a new smartphone-based Augmented Reality project. “We want to make it social and explore how, as a community, we can grow virtual rainforests,” he says. - COMPUTER WEEKLY

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4. Reporter Ashley Rodriguez ponders on how interacting with real people makes Virtual Reality both more impactful and less jarring. “Being in a room with tangible objects and a real person, even if that person appeared to me in the form of decaying ghost, grounded the experience,” she writes.  Chained: A Victorian Nightmare is being shown at the  Future of Storytelling’s Story Arcade in New York until March 24, following a three-month run in Los Angeles. Inspired by Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, the 20-minute immersive theater experience uses actors and props to build a multi-sensory narrative that blends the physical and real worlds. - QUARTZ

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5. Following the HoloLens 2 launch at MWC, journalists have had a chance to get hands-on with the device. The verdict so far seems to be that Microsoft has made significant strides in terms of improving comfort, field of view, and usability. - ROAD TO VR

6.  More companies are deploying VR in the workplace. From the now-familiar training scenarios to virtual interviews, a wide variety of businesses are incorporating immersive technology across their HR processes, and some believe it could even help tackle issues of harassment and pay inequality. - CNN

7. The Burbank library will host a talk on the history and future of VR with author author Blake J. Harris, whose book “The History of the Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution that Swept Virtual Reality,” discusses the subject. - LA TIMES

8. Devices like the HoloLens 2 are prompting people to rethink the way we interact with machines. Gaze tracking, voice recognition and even brain wave input technology are fast improving, but what about typing? Catherine Ellis tests Tap - a wearable keyboard that would integrate with immersive tech. - TECH RADAR

9. Columnist William Moore argues that immersive technology is no substitute for experiencing real-world nature. This follows his visit of the VR exhibit “We Live in an Ocean of Air” at London’s Saatchi Gallery. - EVENING STANDARD

10. A newly discovered patent has fueled speculation of what Apple's rumored AR glasses and its features could look like. - MAC RUMORS

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This newsletter was written and curated by Alice Bonasio, a journalist and consultant obsessed with the immersive technology space, including AR/VR/MR/XR and any other acronyms that fit into the realities spectrum. Over the past 15 years, Alice has advised a wide range of start-ups and corporations on digital transformation and communication strategy and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Trends. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Quartz, Fast Company, Wired, Playboy, The Next Web, Ars Technica, VRScout and many others. Follow her on Twitter @alicebonasio

Editing team: Kim Lyons (managing editor at Inside, a Pittsburgh-based journalist with recent bylines in the NYTimes and Columbia Journalism Review.) and Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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