Inside XR - June 28th, 2019

Inside XR (Jun 28th, 2019)

Jessica Brillhart to lead MxR Lab / Losing Weight With a VR Treadmill / Vivo Previews New AR Glasses

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1. Jessica Brillhart will lead the MxR Lab at the University of Southern California. In an exclusive interview with Jesse Damiani, the Former Google Principal Filmmaker for VR and Vrai Pictures Founder talks about her plan for the University's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), which has been instrumental for the development of immersive technologies since its foundation in 1999 (this was where Palmer Luckey started experimenting with what would later become the Oculus). "What will be crucial in this next stage of the MxR lab is thinking about inclusive and more meaningful experiential design," Brillhart says. "It's not just the content that needs to be considered here; it also involves the tools that we use to create that content and the platforms on which the content will live.”– FORBES

2. Sony has released a new AR app to promote the release of "Spider-Man: Far From Home." The latest Marvel franchise movie is due out on July 4, but fans can already play around in AR with the characters. The app was developed by Trigger, the immersive ad agency that has developed digital marketing for every Spider-Man movie since the original trilogy, and is actually a reskinned version of the app launched to promote "Spider-Man: Homecoming." In addition to what have now become staples with such movie promotional tie-ins (such as the ability to watch the trailer or purchase tickets inside the app) features include Spider-Man webbing the user's camera, taking a selfie with his smartphone, and dangling from the ceiling, as well as an appearance by Spidey's ally/nemesis Mysterio.– NEXT REALITY

3. – Follow Friday: Samantha Kingston

Samantha Kingston is nothing short of a VR creative powerhouse, being active across a number of different spheres. She’s CEO and Co-Founder of immersive marketing agency Virtual Umbrella as well as several other start-ups.

Her latest project is called the Anonymous Project, a multi-faceted initiative that is deeply personal to her. In October of 2018, Kingston lost her mother, who died at the young age of 47 following a life-long addiction to alcohol.  

“The Anonymous Project is a way that I can share my personal story of being a child of an alcoholic with the mixture of my passion for immersive technology. After 28 years I wanted to share my personal story of living with an alcohol-dependent parent, hiding the secret and dealing with the death of that parent. In the film, you will come face to face with me and I will address you as I work through the five stages of grief,” she explains in the Crowdfunder page where she raised the money to produce the 360 Short film. She now wants to create an app for the project to help others share their stories for difficult conversations. This can be used around the world and raise awareness. 

In spite of such personal tragedy, Samantha’s Twitter feed is a very uplifting and humorous mix, and incredibly informative about the immersive industry, so do be sure to follow her @K_Samantha1

4. Considering Apple’s enthusiasm for AR, it’s somewhat surprising that the technology is not more prominently showcased in its stores. In this piece, Michael Steeber explores some of the ways in which the tech giant might bring augmented reality into the physical retail shopping experience. He points towards some early examples of what this might look like, such as the Apple Park Visitor Center’s Exhibition, where the large aluminum model of Apple Park acted as a canvas for visitors to peer into a space that is normally inaccessible to the public, learning about its design in the process. This year at WWDC, Apple brought the same concept to a scale fit for retail with an AR demo of the new Mac Pro. The computer’s empty space frame became the anchor for an exploded view of the Mac’s inner workings. This kind of demo would be perfect to roll out to stores across the world, he argues. – 9 TO 5 MAC

5. Virtual Reality treadmill makers Twisted Reality claim that their product can help you lose a lot of weight. The company's Founder Jake Phillips embarked on a 90-day challenge, spending 1 hour a day immersed in VR using the omnidirectional treadmill to move throughout his virtual environment. Every Sunday Phillips completes a proper weigh-in, and provides measurements for his resting heart rate BPM, shoulders, chest, waist, hips, and thighs. According to the latest video had lost 21lbs. by the 48th day. – VRSCOUT

6. CNN explores how virtual reality is helping scientists discover new drugs. The network's Business Evolved series looks at how chemists at C4X Discovery in Manchester, England, are using the virtual reality technology behind Fortnite (4Sight) to visualize the structure of complex molecules. – CNN

7. Peter Ramsey, who won an Oscar for co-directing the hit animated film “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” will speak at the 2019 View Conference, which will showcase a range of topics around immersive technology and content and runs from Oct. 21-25 in Turin, Italy. – VARIETY

8. Henry Canaday explores how augmented reality technology has steadily become a practical and flexible tool. This is especially true for mechanics professionals, he points out, as it is now possible to create relevant training and troubleshooting support content without the need for specialist 3D design experience as industry tools have become increasingly intuitive and user-friendly. – MRO NETWORK

9. Inside-out tracking technology has investors excited about VR. Travis Hoium writes that headset makers have been steadily transitioning towards devices that use internal cameras to look at the environment around it and create points it can track within a space, eliminating the need for base stations or lighthouses. This makes it easier for consumers and enterprises to set up and regularly use VR, which could become the real game-changer for the industry, as the success of the Oculus Quest points towards. – THE MOTLEY FOOL

10. Chinese tech manufacturer Vivo has previewed its new AR glasses at MWC Shanghai 2019. The device features a dual-screen display and 6DoF Technology, as well as 5G mobile connectivity.  Price and official release dates are yet to be confirmed.– STUFF

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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