Inside XR - March 5th, 2019 |

Inside XR (Mar 5th, 2019)

Touring the Universe With Stephen Hawking / VR Used as Painkiller / Google Virtual Pins

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1. Facebook is making its move for the enterprise market, actively working on enterprise editions of its Oculus Go and Oculus Quest VR headsets. This is evidenced by a job listing for a software engineer position on Oculus' AR/VR Enterprise team recently discovered by Variety. The listing suggests Facebook is working on partnerships with other software platforms and ecosystem to create business-specific features and states its aim to launch the new headsets in 2019. — MASHABLE

2. Google’s AR pins at Mobile World Congress showed off AR navigation possibilities. For almost a decade, MWC attendees have coveted the collectible Android pins distributed by Google at the show. This year, however, the company has also added virtual pins to the game, which can only be collected via their Android Partner Walk app. — DIGITAL TRENDS

3. VR is being used to alleviate pain among pregnant women during breach procedures. So-called VR intervention works on a deeper cognitive level to provide distraction during the procedure where breach babies are turned around in late gestation. Of the 50 patients who have participated in a trial at Monash University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Australia, nearly 85 percent said they wanted to have it again and 90 percent would recommend it to their friends in subsequent procedures. — 9 NEWS

4. Tech journalist and influencer Jesse Damiani debuted his new talk show Tech Tock. Every week he will virtually host guests on AltspaceVR to ‘peer into the world that immersive technology is creating.’ The inaugural episode featured author Blake Harris on a discussion about this latest book The History of The Future: Oculus, Facebook, and the Revolution That Swept Virtual Reality. — TWITTER.

5. A recent patent awarded to Harman (a Samsung subsidiary) claims that “sounds outputted by stationary speakers may not accurately reflect the distance, direction, and/or motion between the user and a virtual object included in the virtual environment.” It proposes the idea of mapping out sounds from VR content to robotic speakers which move dynamically around the user.—

6. Professor Stephen Hawking will guide viewers on a VR tour of the universe. Atlantic Productions had been working on a location-based Virtual Reality experience with the physicist before his death last year. The immersive experience which will feature narration from Hawking is entitled Black Holes and is due for release in 2020. — UPLOADVR

7. The Culture Industry will drive VR growth. Henry St. Leger talks to some leading arts figures about the role of public venues in getting consumers to adopt the medium and what sort of creative immersive content we can expect to emerge in the near future. — TECH RADAR

8. New leaks suggest that Google is still working on Google Glass Enterprise Edition. The company is rumored to be adding new specs to the device including an upgraded camera, increased RAM, and USB-C port which would give it the ability to charge much faster than the existing magnetic charger, as well as Snapdragon 710, with onboard LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi for connectivity. - 9TO5GOOGLE  

9. A cafe in the U.K. town of Brighton is trying to make Virtual Reality more accessible. Many people find VR too complex, intimidating, and expensive, so gaming enthusiasts Mark Mansour and Gian Manfredi founded GOVR to allow people to access the technology in a more casual setting. —THE ARGUS

10. Holograms are transforming live entertainment. In a recent industry panel, Digital Nation Entertainment CEO Craig Evans spoke of how audiences were increasingly expecting technology to augment their concert-going experience. He described how the process of volumetric rendering - which involves capturing extremely high-res 3D images which can then be projected on stage - is enabling a number of upcoming tours featuring deceased artists such as Roy Orbison and Frank Zappa, whom he described as a futurist who “was talking about holograms 40 years ago,” and would likely have approved of the concept. — BEAT

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 (managing editor at Inside, a Pittsburgh-based journalist with recent bylines in the NYTimes and Columbia Journalism Review.) and Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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