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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Mar 7th, 2019)

1. Nintendo VR Labo kits with shareable gaming experiences will go on sale on April 12.  Following recent moves to engage in the immersive tech market, the company today confirmed persistent rumors by announcing the release of a Virtual Reality enabled Labo kit for the Nintendo Switch. The complete set will retail for $79.99 and contain six different cardboard-based DIY projects. –TIME

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2. Charlie Fink concludes his three-part in-depth analysis of Magic Leap. Part one covered the early history of the secretive start-up and its founder. Part two delved into how the company’s vision for what they term ‘spatial computing’ managed to attract $2.3 billion dollars in investment and achieve a $6 billion valuation in 2018. Part three talks about the launch of the device and the company’s long-term plans for building a developer community and content ecosystem to create the so-called ‘Magicverse.' –FORBES

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3. Valve Founder Gabe Newell confirmed that the company let go of 13 full-time employees and terminated several contractor agreements last month. There is speculation that the move has been prompted by the fact that most major headset manufacturers are now opting for self-contained sensors built into HMD's. As inside-out tracking technology quickly advances SteamVR's solution which relies on external 'lighthouse' sensors could become obsolete. – UPLOADVR

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4. The city of Austin has awarded a five-year contract to Augmented Training Systems to develop training programs for first responders. They plan to invest $100,000 to annually train around 200 new workers in dealing with emergency scenarios. The company previously built an AR model of the city's AmBus (a vehicle designed specifically to cope with acute disaster situations) to allow first responders the chance to familiarize themselves with it and rehearse possible scenarios prior to deployment. According to Texas State University Associate Professor Scott Smith, those who trained using that tool were 45 percent more accurate and nearly 30 percent faster in performing the real-life tasks. – NEXT GOV

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5. The SYFY channel will debut a new immersive storytelling experience at SXSW. Set on an island planet in which an extinction-level event is just 11-minutes and 11-seconds away from oblivion, the cinematic experience 'Eleven Eleven' will be showcased at the Austin festival from the 8th to 17th March and then be made available for tethered (PC) VR, mobile VR, and AR devices. – VRSCOUT

6. A newly released study by Alberta University details a technique that combines medical imaging with immersive technology. It overlaps Virtual Reality imagery onto the patient’s body to help clinicians to better understand and locate problems and can be accessed via commercially available VR Goggles. – CTV News

7. The London College of Fashion’s Innovation Agency collaborated with Augmented Reality Company HoloMe to create an AR version of its MA Graduate show. Viewers were able to see the models superimposed on their own real-world surroundings, in real-time as the show unfolded in London. – FORBES

8. Psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman argues the benefit of exposure therapy to help victims of conditions such as PDST and believes Virtual Reality can be a useful tool broadening access for patients. – THE NEW YORK TIMES

9. Immersive Technologies are more effective than traditional training methods because they engage our brains differently. Experiential learning simultaneously triggers both cognitive and behavioral learning systems, building situational awareness improving retention. – TECH TRENDS

10. Formula 1 is investing in more immersive content in 2019. Dream VR was awarded a further contract to record immersive content at ten races this year. – INTERESTING ENGINEERING

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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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