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Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (Mar 15th, 2019)

1. Google has announced the closing of its in-house immersive studio Spotlight Stories. In a statement, the company said that staff working at the studios would be offered other jobs at Google, but declined to give any reason for the decision. Over the past six years, Spotlight Stories has released 13 films and pursued a series of successful tie-ins. The news caused dismay among VR creatives such as former Googler Jessica Brillhart who has since left the company to found her own immersive content studio - and Marcie Jastrow who heads Technicolor's Experience Center.  –  THE VERGE

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2. Magic Leap Partnered with Across Realities to launch collaborative Mixed Reality Design tool. The Spatiate app was launched on Thursday through Magic Leap World for $9.99 and will be made available soon on iOS and Android. It has since gathered rave reviews from artists and designers enthusiastic about the idea of having tools similar to Tilt Brush that can be used to paint within real-world surroundings as opposed to VR. The cross-platform integration is another interesting aspect of the announcement, as it would allow creators to collaborate remotely on artwork using iPhones, iPads and Android devices as well as the Magic Leap One headset. – NEXT REALITY

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3. Jesse Damiani delves into the Future of StoryTelling pop-up exhibition in New York. The experiences which will be on offer until March 24 cover an impressive range of subjects, approaches, and techniques. There are multi-sensory experiences that incorporate scent, audio and temperature such as Cosmic Sleep, an immersive audio, haptic, and olfactory experience, where participants journey through the solar system underneath a thermal-haptic blanket. Tickets also include access to a showcase of augmented reality art powered by Artivive. –  FORBES

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4. Rumors are increasingly being confirmed that Apple is likely to start mass production of an Augmented Reality headset between the fourth quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020.  According to IDC reports, AR headset shipments are expected to witness CAGR of 214% between 2018 and 2022 to reach $21.6 million. Analysts believe that Apple will opt to connect any wearable device to the iPhone as opposed to making it a standalone HMD. – NASDAQ

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5. The Royal Air Force Museum London has a new VR experience that lets you ride along with the Dambusters. Users can see both the interior and exterior of the classic Lancaster Bomber airplane and wear haptic vests that replicate the vibrations of its Merlin Engine. – AOL 

6. An Indonesian start-up is launching a franchise retail model in VR. For as little as $18, users can buy the right to sell products from established brands in virtual stores. – FINANCE ASIA 

7. VR is being used by the University of South Australia to attract talent to the mining industry. Project Live-MM hopes to tackle the growing skills gap problem in the sector with its immersive outreach and education program. It uses a combination of extremely high-quality panoramic shots, detailed outcrop images, and 360° video to take prospective future workers on a journey to visit outcrops across Australia and around the world. – MINING TECHNOLOGY

8.  Adventurous is a family-oriented scavenger hunt that requires some serious commitment. The latest startup to graduate from Y Combinator offers location-based AR adventures which cost $15 per person. These are currently only available in San Francisco, and it is necessary to book them in advance, as they involve the participation of live actors in full costume. – TECHCRUNCH 

9. SYFY officially unveiled its new Virtual Reality experience Eleven Eleven at SXSW. As part of the festival's Virtual Cinema exhibit, 20-minute demos were offered, although the longer, 90-minute sessions had to be scrapped due to "overwhelming interest." – SYFY

10. The Texas Department of Transportation is shipping spring breakers off to a VR jail. As part of its  “Plan While You Can” campaign to get partygoers to make plans to ensure they have a sober ride home. The experience features a “Plan to Win” game where players of the VR game will answer three questions on Texas driving laws. – KVEO

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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 (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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