Inside XR - April 23rd, 2019

Inside XR (Apr 23rd, 2019)

VR Stroke Treatment / XR "Hardwear" / Tribeca Shared Immersive Experience

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1. Tej Tadi, founder of medical startup MindMaze, is using Immersive Technology to rehabilitate stroke patients. Virtual reality therapy, according to Tadi, has several advantages compared to traditional methods, including providing motivation through gamified activities that survivors find fun to engage with, helping them repair broken connections in the brain that occur after a stroke. MindMaze, the company he founded in 2012 is now valued at over $1 billion. Following FDA approval in 2017 they are preparing to launch in the U.S. shortly, having helped over 1300 patients across Asia and Europe where it is already deployed in many hospitals. – THE GUARDIAN

2.  For XR wearables to become mainstream, we must tackle the issue of "looking silly," says Darragh Dandurand, who used her background as a photographer to create an edgy photo shoot for the Magic Leap One Mixed Reality Headset. This concept of  “styling for inclusion” involves the industry to design hardware that can be worn with different hairstyles without ruining them, with or without glasses, over hijabs and make-up. This ethos was embodied in Dandurand's choice to cast a female model of color as the protagonist. “I wanted her to be intense with clear eyes and an unapologetic stare as if she were an oracle seeing what is to come,” she explains.  – VRSCOUT

3. AT&T stores are currently showing off virtual and mixed reality "Game of Thrones" experiences. Featuring the HTC Vive and Magic Leap HMDs, the two games on offer to visitors at select store locations are quite different. The VR experience includes haptic effects like a fan blowing cold air in the viewer's face and vibrating floor mats linked to the narrative. The Magic Leap experience, on the other hand, is shorter and somewhat more casual as the viewer is not fully transported into Westeros, instead experiencing holographic augmented reality items blended with a real-world set in each store.– ZDNET 

4. From April 26 to May 4 at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, virtual reality company Parallux is premiering a new experience that 16 people can watch simultaneously, but each from a unique viewpoint. Cave is a tale set 12,000 years ago, and uses a technology developed by a company founded last November called Parallux, which allows VR headsets to be linked together in this way. According to chief creative officer Kris Layng this presented enormous creative challenges as they had to take into account each individual viewpoint.  – TECH RADAR

Spotlight: Women in VR

By Alice Bonasio

Lilian Mehrel and Mary Evangelista are premiering their latest film called Water Melts at this year's Tribeca Film Festival which opens this week in New York. The story combines live action with moments of hand-drawn animation to tell the stories of people taking care of loved ones who are terminally ill. 

“Beyond the innovative narrative approach in 360 Cinema, we believe that audience could connect to -and even find solace in - this beautiful moving story that tries to express inexpressible pain through humor and love,” says producer Ting Liu, who also points out that the key creatives on the project were mostly female, including Co-creators Lilian Mehrel and  Mary Evangelista (pictured)

The film, which will be shown at the Tribeca Festival Hub from April 26th  to May 4th, 2019, is a live-action animation in s stereoscopic 360.  It explores a poignant narrative arc in a mini-series format about people who know time with their loved one is limited, as they grapple with the sense of helplessness that comes with facing bereavement. The immersive medium is particularly suited for exploring this narrative, as it immerses viewers in both the mundane and overwhelming aspects of something that cuts through the core of human experience. "People get lost in the nonsense of living. What else do you do while you’re waiting?"

Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio

5. Australian immersive artist and film director Lynette Wallworth believes that VR has much in common with Renaissance art. Paintings like The Last Supper pushed the boundaries of artistic expression and prompted the creation of new rules in much the same way as immersive technology is allowing creators to tell stories in entirely different ways. – COLUMBIA SPECTATOR

6. According to a new report entitled Augmented and Virtual Reality in Education, immersive and interactive experiences stimulate student’s motivation and increase engagement, but the price point of AR/VR devices currently presents a major roadblock to adoption in the classroom. – THE JOURNAL

7. Krikey is an Augmented Reality Platform which is making immersive technology more accessible and social. It was founded by sistersJhanvi and Ketaki Shriram after graduating from Stanford, where Ketaki worked on her doctoral degree at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL). – THE STANFORD DAILY

8. Japan Airlines created a VR experience that lets people feel the warm breeze on their skin and smell tropical flowers as they stroll through Hawaii. Developed in partnership with Tokyo-based VR firm Sooth, the experience uses a treadmill and simulates the experience of being led around the island by a guide.– THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

9. Melbourne-based OD1N are making a Blade Runner VR game. N1NE: The Splintered Mind will be available initially on Oculus Rift. followed by HTC Vive. It is a narrative-driven cyberpunk detective game set in 2099. – VENTUREBEAT

10. Luxury Drinks brands  Rémy Martin, Hennessy, and Martell are offering Virtual Reality tastings. The experiences will combine seeing, smelling, and sampling various samples at the Cognac Show takes place during 26-27 April in London. – CAMPAIGN LIVE 

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); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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