Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside VR & AR

Inside VR & AR (May 30th, 2019)

1. Qualcomm unveiled its new Snapdragon XR Smart Viewer reference design. Ahead of the Augmented World Expo (AWE) event in Santa Clara, Calif., Hugo Swart – head of XR at Qualcomm – said the company's strategy was to build a chip, the XR1, with its software, and then a reference design. “When we bring a reference design out, the industry will pick it up and show it in commercial products at a later date,” he continued. The design works with both AR and VR, and is built with the help of GoerTek, which will enable a lot of manufacturers of smart glasses to jump into the space with AR and an VR smart viewers, The glasses also feature a display panel, built with JDI, to enable consumers to be immersed in their favorite content by supporting smooth experiences with 72KHz refresh rate and 2K resolution per eye. – VENTUREBEAT

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

2. Amazon wants to collaborate with users to develop its Augmented Reality systems. The "Amazon Real World Image Study" will go on until June, and is paying members of the public to submit themselves to full body 3D scanning. The work combines artificial intelligence, computer vision, and body modeling, and is being conducted by the Body Labs team, a New York-based startup acquired by Amazon in 2017. The data will be used for applications such as fitting clothing to a person's body shape and might also help train Amazon's Echo Look device. – NEXT REALITY 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

3.  Throwback Thursday: Oculus Acquisition

Oculus was acquired by Facebook for a staggering $2bn price tag (more than it had paid for either Instagram or WhatsApp) back in 2014, which means we're looking at a five-year anniversary for one of the biggest milestones in the immersive tech landscape. 

When this actual anniversary should be celebrated, however, is probably open to debate, because although the deal itself was announced in March, due diligence takes time and it was not until July when it was actually finalized

The social network paid $400m in cash plus 23.1m Facebook shares, with a further $300m in incentives depending on hitting certain milestones. 

There was much speculation at the time about whether this was just a pet project for Mark Zuckerberg, or if it was indeed the indication of a broader market trend. Five years on, it is probably safe to say that although the industry growth has not been as explosive as some pundits predicted, we have seen the emergence of a healthy ecosystem around immersive technology which is establishing itself for the long term. 

As for Facebook, the fact that the company's latest Oculus Quest VR Headset has sold out across many U.S. retailers in its first week since launch seems encouraging, although industry analysts argue that in order to truly take the technology to the next stage - where it will be embraced by the mass consumer market - the company must actually break away from the legacy of the Oculus Rift. 

It has been an interesting ride so far, and it will be even more interesting to see where we are when the company celebrates the 10-year anniversary of that fateful acquisition. 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

4. Viveport Infinity subscription service will become available on the Windows Mixed Reality platform from next month. The $12.99. service, which officially launched last month, currently has around 600 titles in its catalog, 200 of which will work on Mixed Reality headsets starting on June 5th. These include hardware manufactured by Acer, HP, Asus, Dell, Lenovo and Samsung. This latest addition means that the Netflix-like subscription is now available on all major PC-powered headsets, as well as mobile VR devices based on HTC’s own Vive Wave platform, yet still notably absent from Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR headset. – VARIETY 
 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

5. Summaiyah Sohail looks at where Facebook is with the development of its highly anticipated Augmented Reality Glasses. In 2017, Facebook revealed a patent for an AR device which would work under the phenomenon of cartilage conduction audio system (CCAS) to help you detect sound around you. – DIGITAL INFORMATION WORLD

6. Meta’s augmented reality headset is getting a reboot. A new company called Meta View will build on existing display technology with its wide field of view, led by former Qualcomm executive Jay Wright. – THE VERGE

7. Mixed reality itself holds the promise of creating laboratory environments that are more collaborative, safe, and accurate, allowing both scientists and pioneers to focus on innovation. Donovan Alexander looks at how companies such as Holo4Labs.are enabling scientists to better merge data processing information management software with real-world lab work. –  INTERESTING ENGINEERING 

8. Leap Motion has been sold to its British rival UltraHaptics. The San Francisco startup, which develops and licenses gesture-tracking technology, was reportedly acquired for around $30 million - roughly one 10th of its valuation just a few years ago. –  WALL STREET JOURNAL

9. Medivis has received approvals from the Food and Drug Administration and will begin rolling out its service in hospitals around the U.S. The New York-based company has raised $2.3 million in financing so far, and secured partnerships with Dell and Microsoft to supply its hardware. – TECHCRUNCH

10.  Archeologists are mapping a historic quarry which served as a D-Day refuge in France. The cavern, inaccessible to the public but visited by an Associated Press team, is one of the best-preserved makeshift bomb-shelters in Caen. Laser mapping is allowing programmers to computer-generated 3-D visualizations of the underground space and its abandoned objects, and the plan is to post the 3-D models online, allowing viewers to experience the refugees' rat-like existence in Virtual Reality. – MIAMI HERALD

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

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) and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

  • Email gray

Subscribe to Inside VR & AR