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Inside AR

Inside AR (Jun 6th, 2019)

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1. Google has struck a partnership with Hello TeamSolar to create location-based augmented reality experiences. As part of the deal, Google will own a 5 percent stake in the company which has a post valuation of $10 million. The startup is creating a platform to deliver content via multiple devices with Google Cloud Anchors, and the funding will primarily go toward developing a platform for branded custom AR experiences to be played in large-scale settings across multiple devices in real time. – VENTUREBEAT

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2. Ellen Degeneres is tapping into augmented reality to help save endangered animals. Together with her wife, actor Portia de Rossi, the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund teamed up with San Francisco AR studio Krikey to launch "Gorillas!" an app that takes users to the forests of Rwanda. Once there, you interact with a cute AR gorilla, either by yourself of in a two-player mode in which a friend can play the game with you remotely. There is also an option that allows you to record a video for social sharing, which is hoped will help spread empathy for the conservation message. –NEXT REALITY

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3. Throwback Thursday: D-Day

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and since every year the number of people who actually experienced this epic event dwindles, one of the most important use cases for immersive technology becomes evident: To convey to future generations the lessons of the past in a truly relatable way.

That is what the BBC hopes to achieve with one of the more ambitious projects to come out of its VR Hub. Back in 2018, it launched an experience which combined real-world recordings of the 1943 Berlin Blitz with virtual reality to place people inside one of the iconic Lancaster Bombers. 

To mark today's occasion, they have now released a new 360-degree video in the BBC VR app, for the Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR, and which people can also watch on entry-level VR devices such as Google Cardboard.

Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, describes it as one of their most powerful and profound experiences: "Nothing can compare to being there of course, but this gives you the chance to gain something approaching an understanding of just what our forces went through at the time. That’s why we wanted to celebrate the D-Day anniversary by bringing the film to as many people as possible – by launching it as a 360 film on the BBC VR app and YouTube, and by taking it out on our hugely successful tour of local libraries.”

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4. Mojo Vision claims it has produced the world's smallest and densest dynamic micro display. The display clocks in at 14K pixels-per-inch, a pixel density 300 times higher than current smartphone displays, powered by MicroLEDs which require approximately 10 percent of the power of current LCD displays, and at 5 to 10 times higher brightness than OLED. The company, which is based in Saratoga, California, and has so far attracted significant funding from the likes of Google's Gradient Ventures has an ambitious vision for what it calls "invisible computing" — a world where relevant and timely information is simply placed, seamlessly and contextually, within your real-world surroundings. – TECHXPLORE

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5. PwC's latest Global Entertainment & Media Outlook Report indicates VR is still the fastest growing sector for the third year running. While VR gaming leads the way in revenue, VR video is the fastest growing sub-sector and PwC expects it will contribute to the industry as a whole being worth £294 million (about $374 million USD) by 2023.– INSIDER

6. Healthcare technology company Medivis has obtained FDA approval for its AR platform SurgicalAR. It uses AR, AI and computer vision to help surgeons gain new perspective into procedures, and the company plans to make the solution commercially available in the United States immediately. – RADIOLOGY BUSINESS

7. Apple's youngest developer is only 10 years old, and he attended WWDC this week. Ayush Kumar won a scholarship contest staged by the company with his physics-based app which fires projectiles using a catapult lever. He says he's excited about coding with AR and says that the new ARKit 3 tools that Apple has just announced will make that a lot easier. – PHYS.ORG 

8.  "Robe," a new opera dramatizing the relationship between virtual reality, official history, and raw, personal experience - will make its world premiere at The Place in London on August 6.  – OPERA WIRE

9. "Population: One," a battle royale game built specifically for VR, confirmed it will support cross-play between Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality. This will make it possible for users of standalone headsets to enjoy the same experience as those using tethered devices. – UPLOADVR

10. "Rick and Morty" creator Justin Roiland was asked about making a virtual reality adaptation of "Roy: A Life Well Lived." He told reporter Andrew Whalen "I really think it should happen. Yes. Someday." "Roy" is a fictional video game introduced in a Season 3 episode of Rick and Morty, in which players experience the full span of Roy's life, making decisions like whether to go back to his terrible job at the carpet store or burn all of his ID cards and get off the grid. – NEWSWEEK

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

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