Inside XR - August 22nd, 2016

Inside XR (Aug 22nd, 2016)

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As the launch of Oculus Touch approaches, the company is sticking to its plan to focus on front-facing VR experiences for motion input. While Oculus claims they are "fully capable' of matching the 'roomscale' tracking of the Vive, they're not sure that its "absolutely necessary for VR" or for their customers. – ROAD TO VR

What do you think? Is room-scale VR the only way to go, or can Oculus compete with HTC without it? Hit REPLY and let us know what you think!

Scottish craft-beer brewer Innis and Gunn and rumrunner Havana Club have teamed up to produce VR experiences that take you to the birthplace of the beer you're tasting. The makers claim by taking you to a hallowed beer-making country via VR, they can change the taste of the beer you're drinking. CNET's writer decided to investigate by "going to some bars and drinking a lot" and found the experience charming, and a lot more than some "booze-soaked idea" dreamed up a half hour before last call – CNET

Corey Takahashi, a professor at Syracuse University, has a fascination with VR and needed to see the Six Flags New Revolution VR Roller Coaster for himself. Takahashi admits he felt silly slipping on a VR headset before sliding into the ride car. He recalls "Blade Runner" and "Inception" as the "disorienting and exhilarating" ride runs its course. His only real caveat about the experience - beside the mild nausea - was the sound, which he found to be far less immersive than the visual element.NPR

Road to VR got an early look at a gameplay demo for Sony's Drive Club VR and came away hugely impressed. Of interest is the way that developers Evolution Studios pumped up the original version's native resolution of 30FPS to the eventual 60FPS the VR game required while maintaining the visual style that was so effective for the flat version. The game has been announced as a PSVR exclusive. – ROAD TO VR

Over at the Virtual Reality and the Metaverse subreddit, member facetiousf-g proposes an idea for a "low-cost VR" system: "What if there was a game or virtual environment that could employ the use of x2 Wii Remotes with Motion+? you'd have a poor mans VIVE. 3D tracking of your hands + VR goggles, the possibilities are endless!" The possibilities end right then and there, when user m1llie notes, "Neither the wii nor cardboard have positional tracking without significant drift. It wouldn't be a very pleasant experience." Facetiousf-g, ever persistent, says "You can use the Wii sensor bar to stop drift." m1llie responds, "Doesn't track the headset, and doesn't allow 360 degrees of motion. Cheapest thing to do would be to put fiducial markers around your play area and track them with the phone's camera on cardboard." Perhaps he was just being facetious. 

At the augmented reality subreddit, user FreezersAndGeezers takes a poll of forum members as to whether they would buy an AR shirt.  After some initial confusion as to just what an AR shirt might be, FreezersAndGeezers clarifies: "
I've developed my own positional tracker that uses retro reflective material. It would be three circles put on a T-shirt (approx 2inch/5cm, very well be less - have to try). The tracking is very stable in comparison with QR codes, works over longer distances (4m~ in this case) and doesn't hog phone resources (works with older phones just as well)." Initially quite suspect, member i_give_you_gum says, "The only downside I see to this and every other AR based tech is there isn't a universal AR environment, every AR glyph needs a proprietary app to run it, so all anyone will ever see are the glyphs."
Oculus wants to hire an AR Incubation Lead who will "build, manage, lead and inspire a multi-disciplinary team who will build AR technology"

American Creation, Inc is looking for a Production Assistant to join their AR tech team. 

Matterport in Sunnyvale, CA is looking for an experienced Unity developer

Framestore in L.A. is hiring for the position of Creative Director, VR.

Content marketing agency Animalz, Inc in New York is scouting for a Content Director with an emphasis on VR.
The VR cafe scene in booming in China. Shunwang Technology operates 70% of the nations "iCafes." Shunwang's VR Platform Chief Content Officer, Sky Liu, puts the situation into perspective by explaining that owning a high-end VR set-up is prohibitively expensive for most young Chinese gamers, and they don’t have the room either,” elaborated Liu. “Housing prices in china are really crazy and our population is incredibly high." – ROAD TO VR

California VR startup Variable Labs believes their tech might be able to close the gender pay gap, which is still not on track to reach parity in this country until 2059. They hope their new VR tool, a salary negotiation simulator, can help women speed the process up. Studies show that only 1 in 8 women end up negotiating their salaries in real life, compared to 1 in 2 men. The app was presented at the White House last month as part of Obama's "Hack the Pay Gap" initiative. – QZ

"Vr Noir" is a 360 murder mystery VR film from the Australian studio Start VR. UploadVR's Joe Durbin finds that the show probably wouldn't pass muster as a regular 2D episodic, but he finds the VR element makes the whole thing fairly addictive. (Although both Durbin and Start VR seem to make the same mistake about film noir that many modern audiences do, seemingly reducing the term to apply to any crime story where the men wear hats; the actual post-war film noir cycle of the 1940s has long-night-of-the-soul appeal that goes far beyond surface style.) – VB

UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland is testing the use of VR to distract kids suffering from sickle cell disease from the often excruciating pain that accompanies the illness. In this case, patients are submerged via VR into an underwater world (no sharks) where they drift forward as soft music plays. Patient Briana calls out "Hi, dolphin! Hi, whale!" as she plays, and says of the game, "It calms you down because you're not thinking about the pain and stressing about when it's going to stop." – SF CHRONICLE

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