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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Feb 28th, 2019)

1. The Weather Channel is using immersive storytelling to keep ice fishers safe. With global warming, there has been an increase in the number of fatalities caused by people breaking through thin ice in frozen lakes. To drive home this safety warning message, the weather channel is using a Mixed Reality experience - WASHINGTON POST

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2. Virtual Reality will help astronauts test out Einstein’s time-dilation hypothesis in space. The theory dictates that “time seems to speed up in microgravity,” and the International Space Station is currently traveling at 17,895 mph (28,800 km/h). Because the virtual environment remains consistent whether the astronauts are on Earth or in space, scientists are using VR headsets to help eliminate variables in an experiment to test this out. Astronauts are asked to record how long objects which appear in the virtual world remain within their field of view. - ECN MAGAZINE

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3. Toy manufacturers such as LEGO are enhancing their physical products with Augmented Reality content and interaction. This was a big trend at the industry’s largest event – Toy Fair 2019 – which happened in New York earlier this month. With many companies developing or announcing AR apps, immersive tech looks set to play a bigger role across the board. At Mobile World Congress this week Mattel’s CEO took to the stage during Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 launch to show how Mixed Reality could help optimize the creative design process for companies like his - TECH RADAR

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4. Taipei Medical University claims it has opened the world’s largest virtual reality (VR) anatomy lab in 2018. It allows multiple users to use the VR space simultaneously and currently has 10 sets of VIVE Pro Headsets loaded with 3D Organon VR Anatomy software. The new software supports dynamic anatomic models and contains more than 4,000 realistic human body structures, organs, and physiological animations. By reducing the cognitive load required to interpret 2D information into experiential 3D, “VR delivers an accurate visual multi-dimension representation of the human anatomy,” says Edward Chang, HTC President of the Healthcare Division. - R&D MAGAZINE

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5. VR can help train first responders to better deal with dangerous situations. Companies like Flaim Trainer specifically target firefighters with their platform, and local fire departments are increasingly trying virtual training. - CBS SACRAMENTO

6. Multimedia artists Laurie Anderson and Hsin-Chien Huang introduce their VR piece “To the Moon” in this video. The intention, according to Huang, is not merely to stun people, but to also “touch their hearts” with a deeper story that asks tough philosophical questions. - YOUTUBE

7. Virtuleap is using Artificial Intelligence to develop more intuitive interfaces for immersive tech. The Portugal-based startup that has just come out of stealth mode is developing biometric algorithms that will allow machines to better understand body language. - VRSCOUT

8. Sam Rutherford complains about Microsoft’s mixed messaging around the HoloLens. While the second iteration of the company’s Mixed Reality headset is aimed at enterprise customers, its emphasis on an open ecosystem hints at a consumer offering down the line. - GIZMODO

9. The U.S. Navy is using Virtual Reality to help recruit young people. "To be able to reach out to this generation, you have to be able to connect with them,” said Mike Johnson, electronics technician 2nd class with the U.S. Navy at a recent high school event where they used custom wearables and an Oculus Rift headset to give students an idea of what the Navy does and offers. - FOX 10 PHOENIX

10. Business use cases will be the main drivers for immersive technology market in 2019. According to an IDC report, AR/VR for commercial use should grow at over 100% over the next few years. Training spend is forecast to be about $1.8 billion, online retail showcasing about $550 million, and industrial maintenance $400 million. - MOTLEY FOOL

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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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