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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Mar 4th, 2019)

1. Facebook is considering using ‘cartilage conduction’ technology in its Augmented Reality headsets. In a recently filed patent, the company details a solution which would allow users to hear digitally generated sounds without wearing headphones. This involves building a ‘transducer’ that produces sound by vibrating behind the user's ear, therefore not blocking ambient audio from the real-world environment. - BUSINESS INSIDER

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2. Virtual Reality is proving popular with Australian Farmers. Some of the country’s biggest agriculturalists are using VR in applications such as inspecting and selling stock, recruiting, and staff training. "With trainers in the US and Europe and everywhere else, we can interact with them on a live basis and look at product," says Scott Jericho from farm equipment supplier Case IH. The company is working with start-up Farm VR, which was founded by a former dairy farmer and now specializes in producing 3D videos for the agriculture industry. - ABC NEWS 

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 3. A ball-shaped gadget could provide an alternative to VR headsets. The spherical display called Crystal is a 24-inch ‘mixed reality globe’ that projects 3D content overlaid onto the physical world. Four projectors are calibrated to provide customized viewing experiences for two users simultaneously, encouraging more social and collaborative virtual experiences. - TECH RADAR

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4. Google Maps is piloting its AR feature with Local Guides – here are first impressions from one of them. After first announcing the feature at last year’s Google I/O, users at Local Guide levels 5 and above will now be able to try out Augmented Reality in live navigation. Concerns over safety and distraction levels have kept this first release to walking directions only, however. - SLASH GEAR

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5. The UK’s Royal Mail has started using Virtual Reality to train its Posties on how to avoid dog attacks. James Barton, Royal Mail’s online learning manager, says the ‘dog byte’ system – which provides 360-degree street view scene and advice on how to deal with aggressive pets on their rounds – was developed in an attempt to tackle the problem where 2,275 pet attacks occur on staff every year. It has been used nearly 750 times since November, and no attacks have occurred in more than half the areas where the units have been tested. - THE MIRROR

6. Back in 1991, Sega attempted to create the world’s first consumer VR headset, but it never made it to market. What went wrong? - DESIGN NEWS

7. Kevin Carbotte reconsiders a harsh review of the Pimax 5K Plus Ultrawide VR headset. He acknowledges that the company has done a remarkable job of improving rendering performance and image distortion. The HMD is now, according to the site’s current verdict, a choice worth considering for showcasing peripheral vision in VR.  - TOM’S HARDWARE

8.  Some of the most compelling features of Microsoft’s new HoloLens 2 device turn out to also be the simplest. Who knew reading a list of instructions could be this much fun? - VRSCOUT

9. The ‘Screen Door Effect’ is one of the most common glitches in VR experiences. As the name suggests, SDE is a common glitch in VR headsets makes it seem like you’re viewing content through a mesh screen and is caused by the appearance of black – or empty – spaces between pixels which become visible up-close. This article gives a nice overview of what causes it and a few tips on how to cope with it - HOW-TO GEEK

10. In as little as 10 years’ time, AR glasses could replace smartphones. In this deep-dive essay in Augmented Reality technology, Soeren Steudel – head of displays research activity at R&D hub Imec –  explains why he believes the devices will prove the next big trend in infotainment. - ELECTRONICS WEEKLY

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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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