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Inside AR

Inside AR (Apr 5th, 2019)

1. Nintendo has just announced Super Mario and Zelda titles will be supported in VR. Although there aren’t specific details available yet, in a video posted to the @NintendoAmerica Twitter account which quickly gathered over 20,000 likes, the company revealed that Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be available on the Nintendo Switch. Both titles will receive free VR support from April 25, but users will need to purchase a Nintendo Labo VR Kit which will be available from April 12. Lucas Matney at TechCrunch expressed concern over the "cruddy" user experience he expects when trying to play longer games on the low-spec cardboard devices. – TECHCRUNCH

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2. Immersive Journalist Nonny de la Peña wants to give everyone the tools to easily tell stories in VR. Last month at South by Southwest, she premiered an experience called Border Stories, which was filmed at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas using volumetric capture techniques to show how the construction of a border wall would affect people and the environment. The project was made using the WebVR platform, Reach which was developed by her company Emblematic Group. De la Peña believes this tool will make it very simple for anybody to capture such volumetric content by generating environments where users can simply drag and drop footage of themselves, audio, text, and 3D objects, into a scene. – DIGITAL TRENDS

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3. Oculus CTO John Carmack has confirmed on Twitter that the upcoming Oculus Rift S features lower pixel persistence than the Oculus Quest or the original Oculus Rift headset. David Heaney explains that, in VR, while much emphasis is placed on refresh rates, they are only half the equation in enabling comfortable immersive experiences. Pixel persistence - the amount of time per frame that the display is lit rather than black - is just as important. The goal for hardware developers is to offer "low persistence," therefore avoiding a smearing effect on images as you look around a VR environment.– UPLOADVR

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4. The University of Central Florida is expanding its research and treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder using virtual reality. The treatment of affected veterans works by gradually exposing them to situations that trigger stress responses within VR simulations. A 2017 study conducted with around 100 sufferers found that two-thirds of patients no longer met the diagnostic criteria for PTSD at the end of the program, and that - significantly - this progress still held after six months.  Based on these results, The Department of Defense has decided to expand its funding for the project, which includes a further $3 million to develop new software that can create more personalized scenarios to better fit patients' personal experiences. – WUSF

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Nonny de la Peña

Back in the days before his company was bought by Facebook for $2 Billion, Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey got a job cobbling together some VR headsets held with duct tape, and driving a van full of equipment to the Sundance Film Festival, where the world's first piece of immersive journalism, Hunger in LA, was showcased. Luckey was also the one who nicknamed the author of that piece, Nonny de la Peña, the "Godmother of VR,"  and it stuck. It's not difficult to see why if you're into immersive tech, you should really pay your respects to Nonny, but apart from being one of the best-connected people in the industry, she's still pushing the boundaries of immersive storytelling through the company she founded - Emblematic Group.  You can follow her on Twitter @ImmersiveJourno

Every week we give a shout out to someone worth following. Send your #FollowFriday nominations to alice.bonasio@inside.com or hit reply to this email.

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5. A collaboration between MIT.nano and South Korean video game developers NCSOFT will explore new avenues for immersive technologies. The MIT.nano Immersion Lab is set to run its program for four years, offering grants for research into new approaches to motion capture, sensors, and mixed-reality interfaces, including in ground-breaking work such as the use of sound waves for tactile purposes.  Specific topics the seed-grant program hopes to prompt also include improved detection and reduction of dizziness associated with immersive headsets. – MIT NEWS

6. The Royal Academy of Arts has unveiled a series of installations that show how virtual and augmented reality can change our perception of buildings and spaces. The four installations form the final installment of the Invisible Landscapes  project and were created by architect Gilles Retsin, 3D-scanning studio ScanLAB, Keiichi Matsuda and design studio Soft Bodies. –DEZEEN

7. Microsoft's “immersive classroom” which sits within the company’s French Headquarters in Paris is an example of how the company is hoping to foster digital skills and attract fresh talent into the mixed reality space. – THE NEXT WEB

8. HTC is trying to encourage new users to purchase its HTC Vive or Vive Pro by offering a 12-month unlimited subscription (normally priced at $12.99 a month) to Viveport Infinity, which allows access over 600 apps and games on the HTC VR app store. The offer is only valid until April 8. – TECH RADAR

9. The PSVR latest sports release is gathering positive reviews among golf enthusiasts. Colin Campbell says that Everybody’s Golf (formerly Hot Shots Golf) - due for release on May 21 and priced at $12.99 - is motivating him to unpack his VR headset for the first time in months. – POLYGON

10.  McClatchy New Ventures Lab opened last year to explore the possibilities of volumetric journalism. The first results of that experiment are now on display, such as “What They Carried,” a three-episode AR experience featuring confiscated personal items from undocumented migrants who’d been apprehended trying to enter the US and three-dimensional volumetric interviews with characters such as “dreamer” Karina Ruiz. – IMMERSIVE SHOOTER

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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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