Inside XR - March 18th, 2020

Inside XR (Mar 18th, 2020)

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Dear subscribers.

As we continue to transition towards a freemium subscription model to make the Inside Newsletter sustainable in the long-term, you will notice that some of the items on Inside XR are premium-only. 

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Alice Bonasio

@Alicebonasio

1. The coronavirus is hitting VR arcades hard. Most location-based Virtual Reality start-ups have closed this week following far-reaching measures to tackle the spread of COVID-19. On Monday, Disney-backed company The Void announced they would be closing all of their locations in North America, and LA’s Two Bit Circus followed suit on Tuesday. Dreamscape Immersive announced yesterday that it has temporarily closed all of its VR entertainment centers across Los Angeles, Dallas, Columbus and Dubai. “As much as we enjoy sharing virtual reality worlds with you, we cannot ignore what’s happening in the real world,” Dreamscape stated in a post on its site. – TECHCRUNCH  

2. Artists believe that Augmented Reality is unlocking new forms of storytelling.

Michael Steeber reports on a small but growing number of illustrators, designers, and digital sculptors using AR as a form of creative self-expression. Subscribe to premium now and read the full story (and others!) for only $2 per week.

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3. NexTech AR Solutions has signed a letter of intent to acquire remote virtual events company Jolokia.  

"With the spread of the coronavirus, all governments, learning institutions, and corporations are forcing a huge paradigm shift in society to remote work, training and learning creating massive new demand, which should lead to explosive adoption for this platform." Subscribe to premium now and read the full story (and others!) for only $2 per week.

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4. A professor has developed a piece of software that allows him to transform into a virtual anime schoolgirl to attract more students to his online classes. Jiang Fei, a digital art professor at Shanghai Universities Fine Arts College, says that since COVID-19 led to the adoption of digital classrooms, online exams, and virtual flag-raising ceremonies by many Chinese schools, it has been challenging to keep students motivated in their studies and up-to-date on their assigned coursework. Fei developed his own custom software that utilizes a binocular camera to track human bones and overlay them with 3D digital models in real-time. After isolating himself in his home this past January due to the outbreak, he began using the custom software to spice up his live streams and recorded lessons. While Fei is capable of switching between multiple characters such as monsters, robots, and Iron Ma, his students have become fond of an anime schoolgirl model, which has since become his go-to avatar. Since implementing the technology into his lessons, Fei has reported an overall increase in student engagement as well as noticeable improvements to retention. – VRSCOUT   

5. A new test uses a Virtual Reality simulation to detect subtle balance issues in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

The test would potentially allow doctors to identify whether a patient is at risk of falling despite having no apparent problems with walking, according to research published in the journal PLOS One. Subscribe to premium now and read the full story (and others!) for only $2 per week.

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6. A New York strip club is offering free VR dances during the coronavirus crisis.

"Die Happy Tonight" (a.k.a. DHT), which is known for its wholesome, girl-next-door type strippers, is offering free Virtual Reality dances from their performers to help stave off cabin fever. Subscribe to premium now and read the full story (and others!) for only $2 per week.

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7. Computer vision technology company Edgybees has won a contract with AFWERX, an innovation program run by the U.S. Air Force.

Edgybees is one of 21 small businesses slated to receive four-year, fixed contracts with the combined worth of over $550 million through AFVentures' Strategic Financing (STRATFI) program. Subscribe to premium now and read the full story (and others!) for only $2 per week.

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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.

Edited by Beth Duckett, staff writer at Inside.

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