Inside XR - March 19th, 2020

Inside XR (Mar 19th, 2020)

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Dear readers,

As a service to all of our subscribers, we are going to temporarily replace our afternoon Daily Brief with an end-of-the-day newsletter covering the facts associated with the coronavirus. Sign up here!

Every day we will start with the numbers: the number of total cases appearing in the United States and around the world, along with deaths and recoveries.

We’ll also take a look into efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus and prepare for an influx of new cases, along with the treatments and vaccines currently in development.

The service will obviously be free of charge. This is a critical and undoubtedly stressful time in the U.S. and around the world – we hope the information we provide in this newsletter can be helpful, illuminative, and provide a window into what we can expect in the months ahead.

Jason Calacanis

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. 

To get the complete, daily newsletter advert-free costs less than $2 a week if you do the yearly subscription, so... 

Click here to upgrade to premium!

Our free subscribers will still get the full newsletter (with adverts) on Fridays. 

Any questions or comments welcome as always, and we really do appreciate your support!

Alice Bonasio


1. The inventor of a Facebook VR Keyboard Trackpad is now working for Apple. Jonathan Ravaszm is listed as the lead invention on a newly granted patent for a Facebook / Oculus trackpad-like device that will allow VR headset users to type out messages or answer emails that use a QuickPath, SwiftKey or Swype-like approach to skating through a virtual keyboard. According to the patent, this invention covers a computing device in an artificial reality system that may present a user with a virtual keyboard that can be typed with a controller in an efficient, intuitive, and convenient way. Ravaszm joined Apple in January 2020 as a UX Prototyper, which chimes with the fact that Apple is broadly expected to be developing products in the immersive wearables space, even though the notoriously secretive tech giant has so far not made any official announcements to that effect. – PATENTLY APPLE  

2. Valve co-founder Gabe Newell talks about how brain-computer interfaces have already brought us closer to a Matrix-like world. 

Newell’s most bleeding-edge project deals with brain-computer interfaces (BCI) which he believes are going to have a huge impact on the kinds of experiences that we can create. To read this story (and our other premium features), click below to upgrade.


3. New iPad Pro’s LIDAR scanner can turn a living room into an Augmented Reality "Hot Lava" game. Based on the childhood pastime where you jump on furniture to avoid imaginary lava on the floor, the popular video game Hot Lava (which is available on Steam, but an Apple Arcade exclusive for mobile) will get an AR mode later this year. Journalists were given a preview of what that will look like at a preview earlier this week. Alongside the AR version of Hot Lava, Apple also showed some other impressive uses of the LIDAR scanner including the CAD app Shapr3D, which scans a room and makes a 3D model of it in the app. Users can then edit that model to add new objects into the room and look at those additions in the real room using AR. – THE VERGE

4. Efforts to stop the spread of infection highlight the usefulness of VR tools in healthcare. 

When Erik Maltais co-founded Immertec in 2017 (a Virtual Reality training tool for physicians which raised $6 million in funding last year) his main focus was tackling infection by instituting best practices. To read this story (and our other premium features), click below to upgrade.


5. Paul Rudd is cast as VR company owner in new Audible drama.

Written by John Lutz of Saturday Night Live, "Escape From Virtual Island" will be available from April 2 and stars Rudd as Derek, an unlikely hero leading a daring rescue in a virtual world. To read this story (and our other premium features), click below to upgrade.


6. Sony has finally released specs for the upcoming PlayStation console, and it confirms backward compatibility.

This applies to VR, meaning that not only will the PS5 be able to play PS4 games, but it will also work with all the peripherals and accessories, including the PSVR. To read this story (and our other premium features), click below to upgrade.


7. Virtual Reality can help to (safely) reduce social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, according to MyndVR CEO Chris Brickler. 

As the Trump administration is strongly advising that nursing homes for the elderly suspend all medically unnecessary visits, this could prove to be a lengthy containment and exacerbate the problems of isolation and loneliness already experienced by the elderly population. To read this story (and our other premium features), click below to upgrade.


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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