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Inside AR

Inside AR (Jun 24th, 2019)

1.  Jordan Wolfson’s Real Violence is an art installation meant to confront the viewer with the ethics of VR interactions in Virtual Realit.  The two-minute immersive scene depicts the artist beating a defenseless man as passersby and cars go about their business without interfering. Although the avatar is not real, the implication of the piece, which premiered at  Tasmania’s Dark Mofo festival this month, is that by choosing to watch such violence we become participants by endorsing the act. – THE GUARDIAN

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2. Peter Rubin argues that Lion King director Jon Favreau has created a new genre of filmmaking. This category, which Rubin tentatively names Virtual Action (VGI) flexibly allows for new kinds of solutions: one purely virtual, the other purely human. All the locations from the original Disney cartoon now exist inside a 360-degree virtual environment. Headsets on, filmmakers had access to all the tools of the trade, just in virtual form. A matrix of 3D sensors tracked the signals and translated the viewfinders’ positions back into VR, using handheld controllers to move the virtual equipment around like chess pieces. Then, real-world camera operators in the real-world volume would “shoot” the virtual environment by moving their tracked real-world viewfinders around—movements which were mirrored by the virtual cameras in the virtual environment, creating two layers of reality. – WIRED

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3.  By the Numbers: "Pokémon Go!" versus "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite"

Niantic, the studio behind the most successful immersive IP to date, "Pokémon Go", released its latest game last week. There were understandably high expectations for "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite", especially since the Augmented Reality technology which powers both titles has evolved quite a lot in the three years since people started endangering life and limb in order to Catch 'Em All in the real world. But how does it compare so far? Here are some numbers to mull over:

$100 Million - Projection by mobile research group App Annie of how much "Wizards Unite" would make in its first 30 days

400,000 - first-day installs in the U.S. and U.K. for "Wizards Unite", an estimated $300,000 in revenue, yet only about 5 percent of the installs that "Pokémon Go" had, and 15 percent of the revenue

7.5 million - the number of day one installs for "Pokémon Go", grossing $2 million in revenue

#104 - The debut place that Wizards Unite earned in the top grossing app charts ("Pokémon Go" debuted at #1)

15 - number of hours it took "Wizards Unite" to reach No.1 position on the iOS App Store in the U.S.

807 - The total number of Pokémon (although not all are available on "Pokémon Go") 

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4. Creative digital studio Squint/Opera has worked with BIG and UNStudio to create a working prototype that allows architects and planners to collaborate in VR. Hyperform, which the studios have been developing for two years, is a virtual desktop that can be used to digitally view models of buildings within the environments that they are being designed for. The tool is accessible from computers, tablets, smartphones, or VR headsets. VR allows for a more efficient, sustainable and portable workflow.according to UNStudio Founder Ben van Berkel. "It will allow us to create more relevant, purposeful designs that are more user-centric, where form follows effect."– DEZEEN

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5. Virtual Reality simulations have proven more effective than traditional alerts in convincing people to prepare for a hurricane. A study by researchers at Hofstra University in New York found that participants who saw a storm in virtual reality were more likely to say they would make home preparations or evacuate than those who saw only text alerts or traditional weather maps. The results, published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, showed that nearly 90 percent of those who watched the simulation said they would evacuate, compared to 70 percent who saw traditional media. –YAHOO NEWS

6. A Netflix hack transforms mobile phones into haptic devices. Project Rumble Pack emerged from one of the company's hacking days and effectively makes your phone vibrate in response to content such as movies or TV shows.  – ESQUIRE

7. While Tom Mainelli is enthusiastic in this piece about the Oculus Quest - writing that it represents an impressive merging of next-generation technology and smart design that leads you to stop thinking about the hardware and truly embrace the experience - he notes that the device is still missing the mainstream content and must-have apps to bring in the average consumer.– TECH.PINIONS

8.  Kyle Melnick kicks off a two-part tutorial series on the VRScout YouTube teaching how to shoot and edit professional-quality VR180 immersive videos that "won’t make you want to vomit all over your VR headset." The techniques shown were gathered over the past three years while the team worked with YouTube on their VR Creator Lab initiative. The advantage of the format is that it provides similar levels of immersion to a full 360-degree environment while minimizing distraction through the viewer's more limited ability to look around.  – VRSCOUT

9.  The sixth edition of Oculus Connect, Facebook's VR-focused annual developer conference, will take place on September 25-26, 2019, at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. Following the major hardware launches at F8 in May, OC6 will likely revolve around developing content and software for the fledging Oculus Quest Rift S ecosystems. – SHACK NEWS

10.  Microsoft Education and NASA collaborated to create lesson plans to inspire students to be more interested in space. Geared toward middle school and high school students, the curriculum includes Virtual Reality experiences and data analysis lessons, with eight initial online plans ranging from designing Astro Socks for protecting astronauts' feet in microgravity to designing your own space station.– CNET

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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), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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