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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Mar 6th, 2019)

1. Magic Leap’s new CNN app has failed to impress. The app allows users to stream CNN shows directly onto the ML One headset. Yet critics have pointed out that having a roving TV set tuned to one network is hardly the best way to showcase a supposedly transformative technology such as Mixed Reality.  – ZDNET

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2. VR is becoming ever more popular in applications such as design, training, and collaboration, but the medium's ability to generate empathy makes it ideal for teaching so-called 'soft skills'. Avatar-based virtual simulations powered by AI are becoming increasingly sophisticated and companies are now adopting them in earnest across leadership, communications, and HR applications. – WIRED

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3. A new T-Rex exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History will let visitors learn more about the predator in Virtual Reality. In addition usual life-sized models, fossils and casts, '. rex: the ultimate predator' will feature a multiplayer VR experience where people will be transported back in time to build a T-Rex skeleton bone-by-bone and then watch it come to life. The project is a partnership between the museum and HTC VIVE arts, and opens to the public on March 11.  – DESIGN BOOM

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4. VR could help astronauts mentally prepare for extreme isolation during Mars missions. Using avatars and Virtual Reality scenarios would allow people to cope with the psychological challenges such as being separated from family for several years. HTX Labs has produced VR content for training as well as to help tackle loneliness with elderly people and its Director of Innovation Javier Fadul believes NASA could take this a step further in mentally equipping astronauts for the psychological challenges of a mission lasting over 21 months. as well as providing comfort through simulations during the journey. "Through a virtual reality headset, the astronaut could potentially be transported into a VR copy of his or her home to eat a meal with their partner or walk into their children’s rooms and read a bedtime story,” he says.  –  TMC NEWS 

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5. The Nreal Light AR glasses unveiled at Mobile World Congress impressed reviewers. The device manages to be only slightly bulkier than a normal pair of glasses due to the fact it draws computing power from a smartphone. This means the device (which has no release date or set price yet) weighs only 85g, but users do have to connect a cable between the glasses and their phone. – UPLOADVR

6. Set to open on March 11 in Mid-Market, Black Box VR will offer 30-minute gamified workouts incorporating resistance and cardio. To access the immersive training, members will need to buy a 'Hero Access Pass' which will include the use of HTC Vive headsets with built-in sweatbands to prevent fogginess and replaceable covers, which are cleaned between uses. The company is also exploring options for a home-based version of the system. – ABC NEWS

7. Immersive Technology Columnist Charlie Fink gained exclusive access to Magic Leap’s Headquarters and its Founder Rony Abovitz. In the first of a three-part article which forms a chapter of his upcoming book on Augmented Reality he sheds light on the secretive company's history and vision for spatial computing. – FORBES 

8. Cybershoes are a gadget literally gaining traction in VR circles. While many have tried to tackle the problem of allowing free movement inside virtual worlds while avoiding issues like motion sickness, no single device has emerged dominant. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign and positive media reviews, the company has now made the devices available for order on Indiegogo. –  TWITTER

9. Bobby Carlton does a deep-dive into the history of haptics and telerobotics with a demo of the HaptX glove. The device's precision motion tracking and force feedback lets users remotely feel and remotely control a robotic hand. They are now looking at ways to convey pain in order to safeguard the devices from damage, as well as VR headset integration and 5G connectivity to build fully immersive experiences. –  VRSCOUT

10. A campaigner is using VR to convince people that solitary confinement amounts to torture. The Rev. Ron Stief, executive director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, asks attendees at religious events around the country to put on virtual reality glasses and a pair of headphones and experience for nine minutes what it’s like to be locked in a 6-by-9-foot cell. “It does an amazing job of educating you, Nobody can put those on for those nine minutes and walk away with any thought that this is not torture,” he says.  –  RELIGION NEWS

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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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