Inside XR - July 29th, 2019 |

Inside XR (Jul 29th, 2019)

MacGyver VR Escape Room / Bionic AR Glasses / Mixed Reality Rave

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1. A MacGyver escape room VR experience is being developed by  Imverse in collaboration with its creator Lee David Zlotoff and “Lawnmower Man” director Brett Leonard. MacGyverWorld is being produced by Mark Rickard from Leonard’s Studio Lightship outlet, and is slotted for release in 2020. The experience will make use of Imverse’s 3D capture technology, which scans participants as they enter a location-based VR venue so that - according to the company's CEO and co-founder Javier Bello Ruiz “when you look at your friends, you can see their holograms”. Rickard added that the MacGyver franchise was an "easy fit" for VR escape rooms, as the character's penchant for getting out of seemingly impossible situations was already established in people's expectations. Imverse will be showing off some of its technology, which aims to make volumetric capture available to consumers, at Siggraph in Los Angeles this week. –  VARIETY

2. The Oculus Go can now be bought for $159 at major U.S. retailers. Both Best Buy and Amazon have marked down the Go-- which Lucas Coll of Digital Trends calls his favorite budget VR headset-- by 20 percent. At less than half the price of the Oculus Quest, the Go is still a standalone headset that performs admirably for seated experiences that don't put too much strain on its relatively limited tracking and orientation capabilities. – DIGITAL TRENDS

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3.  Adobe's new mixed reality display claims to blend interactive digital content with physical objects in a much more intuitive way.  "Project Glasswing" would allow users to take media assets created across the adobe suite of design tools - such as Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro and Dimension - and experience the mixed reality results without any special glasses such as Magic Leap or HoloLens, creating the illusion of a layer appearing in front of the 3D real-world object  In a blog post announcing the release, Adobe listed some interesting and practical use cases for the technology, such as in vending machines or shop display windows, or where the glass in the case in a museum could allow a clear view of the artifacts while overlaying dynamic graphics with information about its history on top. – CNET

4.  A wireless sub-retinal implant could work together with AR glasses to help restore some sight to macular degeneration patients. French company Pixium Vision has developed a system that uses miniaturized wireless photovoltaic sub-retinal implant, which essentially involves the conversion of light into electricity. A clinical trial of their system involved implanting the 2x2 millimeter wide, 30-micron thick photovoltaic chip into five patients suffering from atrophic age-related macular degeneration. Preliminary results indicate that most subjects were able to identify patterns, numbers, and letters where they didn't before. A larger-scale study is planned for 2020 and the company's goal is to market the product in Europe and the US in the mid-term.– TECHXPLORE

5.  Immersive technologies are disrupting the classroom, but this presents an opportunity to democratize learning. In this opinion piece,  founder Andrew B Raupp argues that educators need to find creative and low-cost methods of scaling mixed reality (which he uses to refer to the entire spectrum of technologies encompassing both AR and VR) to more classrooms, and gives several examples of where this is already happening. "The future of STEM education can be built on the shoulders of the mixed reality revolution. Simply put, when traditionalism fails, innovation flourishes," he says. – SILICON REPUBLIC

6. A futuristic immersive rave was staged at the Manchester International Festival last weekend. In this video we can see how grime MC and rapper Skepta worked with a team of engineers, musicians and performers to deliver DYSTOPIA987. The project used mixed reality to merge the real and virtual worlds in real-time while "staying true to rave culture." –  HIGHSNOBIETY

7.  A free webinar will take place this Wednesday to explore how immersive technologies are already transforming training practices and education. "How VR & AR are Changing Training, Education & Worker Guidance" will stream live on July 31 at 9:00am PT, but users who register will be sent a recording afterwards even if they cannot attend the live event, which is being run as part of the buildup to the VRX Conference & Expo, which takes place on December 12-13, 2019 in San Francisco. – TECH TRENDS 

8.  The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has developed a VR experience for this year's state fair. The energy company located in Jefferson and Harrison counties wanted to give visitors at the Ohio State Fair the opportunity to take a virtual tour of their well pads and learn about the industry and, hopefully, be inspired to work in it. – WTOV9

9. Psychologists have used VR to test how inhabiting the body of an animal can change human behavior. Researchers at the The University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany surveyed 37 volunteers to study their reaction to the illusion of virtual body ownership (IVBO), measuring how they responded to the experience of embodying animals such as scorpions, rhinos and birds in Virtual Reality. Researchers see great potential in these findings, not only to fuel the "empathy machine" but also for immersive entertainment and gaming (apparently humans can have great fun intuitively inhabiting the body of a bat) even leading to a new “beastly” VR game genre. – VRSCOUT

10.  Harvard Law's Access to Justice Lab researchers hope that a VR simulation will persuade more young lawyers to work pro bono.  Modern law practices mean that it is getting more difficult for newly qualified attorneys to get courtroom experience, and that can discourage them for volunteering for such work, explains Gloria Chun, the director of pro bono services for the San Francisco Bar Association's Justice & Diversity Center. The virtual reality program was filmed in the actual San Francisco courtroom where those pro bono cases are heard, and researchers will look at whether attorneys who get that VR experience are more likely to actually commit to a case after training, and whether the VR-exposed attorneys are more likely to obtain successful outcomes for their clients. – LAW 360

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


Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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