News of the Week

WED 9 MAY 2018

New Headset from Oculus/Facebook compared to new headset from Lenovo/Google
Magid: Finally, two free-roaming virtual reality headsets
Lenovo Releases First Standalone Google Daydream VR Headset, VR180 Camera (Variety)

“Major Innovation” on Oculus Go
There’s one crucial, major innovation in Facebook’s new VR headset that will set a new precedent

Next-Generation Oculus
Oculus demos ‘Half-Dome’ Rift prototype with 140-degree FOV and moving varifocal screens

Innovations
Facebook wants weird ‘VR memories’ to take you back to your childhood
Kanova: flexible VR sculpting (cool video)

Microsoft “Mixed Reality”
Microsoft Layout lets HoloLens users design a floor plan with holographic furniture (Verge)

“Facebook Reality”
Oculus Research is now the ‘Facebook Reality Lab’

VR / AR getting Real?
Report: VR and AR Device Market to hit $1.8 billion in 2018 (Medium post)

WED 2 MAY 2018

Facebook / Oculus launch their standalone headset TODAY
Amazon reveals Facebook’s $199 Oculus Go headset hours before unveil at F8 developer conference (Daily Mail)
Oculus Go standalone VR headset launched in 23 countries starting at $199
OCULUS GO REVIEW: MOBILE VR, MINUS THE PHONE (Verge)
Amazon

Apple is building a 16k VR headset for 2020
Apple is reportedly building an insane ’16K’ VR headset
What We Know About Apple’s Reported Plans for an AR/VR Headset (Slate)

Snap remakes Spectacles
Meet Snapchat Spectacles 2.0 (USA Today)
We spent the day with Snapchat’s revived Spectacles (USA Today)
WHY SNAP NEEDS ITS SPECTACLES (Wired)

More VR haptics
Disney’s haptic VR jacket lets you feel snowball impacts and snakes slithering (Popular Science) (video)
Spread your arms like a bird and control a drone with this exosuit
This Fitness Suit Turns A New VR Game Into An Intense Workout
Roto VR Chair

More VR porn
COMING ATTRACTIONS: THE RISE OF VR PORN (Wired, major article)
How VR Porn Is Secretly Driving The Industry (VR Focus, with data)

VR with live actors
At Tribeca Film Festival, Virtual Reality With Real Actors Steals The Show
Oculus is developing an immersive theater VR experience with real actors

Tech
A new JPEG format for virtual reality

Privacy
Oculus is adding a ‘privacy center’ to meet EU data collection rules

WED 18 APRIL 2018

Cool Applications
SkydiVR
Leap Motion designed a $100 augmented reality headset with super-powerful hand tracking
DIGITAL LIFE: creating accurate 3d models of life on earth

VR Dating & Porn
VR KANOJO, ADULT VR DATING SIM AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD ON STEAM
Bunny Ranch brothel gives punters VR headsets so they can see porn stars while they romp with prostitutes

Dark Crit
How much VR user data is Oculus giving to Facebook?
Oculus work culture

Good Crit
How VR Can Get To A Hundred Million Headsets By 2024 (nice images)
9 ethical problems with VR we still have to solve

MONDAY 9 APRIL 2018

Ready Player One
Spielberg’s ‘Ready Player One’ Lends VR Timely Marketing Boost (Bloomberg) (video)
How ‘Ready Player One’ Compares to Today’s VR Technology (Variety)

Facebook
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Will Testify Before Congress Next Week (Time)
Facebook users find out if their data was shared with Cambridge Analytica, starting Monday (USA Today)
Mark Zuckerberg Can Still Fix This Mess (NY Times OpEd by Harvard Prof)

Hardware News
VR camera maker Lytro is shutting down, and former employees are going to Google (The Verge)
Kopin Is First To Market Stylish AR Glasses
Oculus Patents For Haptic VR Glove Surface Online

Avatars and Cartoonishness
Facebook updated its VR avatars to look more ‘lifelike’

MONDAY 26 MARCH 2018

Big Players, New Headsets
Oculus’ $199 Go headset feels pretty good so far (video) (more video)
HTC drops Vive to $499 and opens preorders for $799 headset-only Vive Pro
Magic Leap opens ‘creator portal’ for augmented reality app developers (Verge)
Google is reportedly buying light-field camera startup Lytro (Verge)

Festivals and New Content
VR headsets have become the new arthouse—the best of SXSW’s fantastic VR festival
French VR Outfit Atlas V to Bring ‘BattleScar,’ ‘Spheres,’ ‘Vestige’ to Tribeca (Variety)
Kobold Horror Film (tech) (video)
Oculus Open Applications For VR For Good Program
CNN To Launch News In Virtual Reality On The Oculus Rift
The VR Concept Opens Arcade In London’s Elephant & Castle
An open letter to the theme parks of the future (on Disney’s VR)

Eye Tracking and More New Tech
LG Patent Eye-Tracking Technology For LG UltraGear VR
Qualcomm’s new headset with eye tracking ships to developers later this year (Verge)
Oculus GO Will Use Foveated Rendering to Save GPU Power
Skywalker Sound and the challenges of making audio for VR films
Oculus could be aiming to make VR a bit more real with these haptic gloves
Vicon real time avatar rendering demo at GDC 2018 (video)
Google’s Linkage Of The Unity Engine With Google Maps Is A Game Changer (great video)

Facebook Trouble!
Mark Zuckerberg Lost $10 Billion in One Week After Facebook’s Privacy Scandal
Top Security Execs at Google, Facebook, and Twitter Announce Departures
Zuckerberg’s ‘secret police’: how Facebook’s ‘rat-catching team’ spies on employees (Mercury News)
VR startup Upload shuts down its offices as funding from Palmer Luckey runs out

Some Great Big Picture Articles
Behold The Next Generation VR Technology: Part 5 — Locomotion (excellent weekly series)
Field of View: Google and LG set to reveal crazy-sharp VR display (Wareable’s excellent own VR/AR news of the week)
3 RULES FOR DESIGNING PRIMO VIRTUAL REALITY (Stanford’s Jeremy Bailson in Wired)

FRIDAY 16 MARCH 2018

Oculus Dies for a Day
Is Your Oculus Rift Currently Not Working? This Might Be The Reason Why
Oculus brings Rift VR headsets back to life with a software fix

AR News
Five Breakthroughs Behind Facebook’s Augmented Reality Play
Facebook launches AR effects tied to real-world tracking markers (short video)
AR porn is already a thing and you really shouldn’t be surprised
Bose’s augmented reality glasses use sound instead of sight (something new!)

Google’s Light Field Camera
Experimenting with Light Fields (Google blog)
VR is still a novelty, but Google’s light-field technology could make it serious art (Tech Review, coolest photo)

Google’s Super High Res next VR Display
Google’s upcoming VR headset to feature an OLED display with twice the resolution of HTC Vive Pro
Google is Developing a VR Display With 10x More Pixels Than Today’s Headsets

Novel Tech
The First Mind-Controlled VR Game Will Hit Arcades In 2018
Health & Fitness In AR & VR: The Best Apps For Mind And Body
Creators Can Touch Their CAD Designs With Exiii Inc’s EXOS Haptic System

Content News
Tribeca Film Festival unveils 2018 Tribeca Immersive programme
Virtual Reality Lets Rare Works of Art Take a Field Trip (NY Times)
‘Wedding VR’ Offers an Uncanny Peek into the Wild World of Anime Marriage Simulators

Ready Player One
YOU CAN’T SEE READY PLAYER ONE YET, BUT WITH VR YOU CAN DANCE IN IT (Wired)
Could ‘Ready Player One’ Awaken the Sleepy VR Market? (Variety) (good analysis)
Spielberg’s New Sci-Fi Movie May Play Well With Chip Investors (Bloomberg)

Business Surprises
Skyrim VR Reaches The Top 10 Hottest Selling Games List On Steam In Less Than 24 Hours
Second Life Web Traffic Still Far Outpacing Oculus, Vive & VRChat Traffic
OCULUS RIFT OVERTAKES HTC VIVE IN STEAM SURVEY
The Challenges Oculus And Google Lawyers Expect For AR, VR Projects (good analysis)

WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH 2018

Rift over Vive
Oculus Rift Overtakes HTC Vive In Steam Survey For First Time
Oculus Rift passes HTC Vive in the Steam hardware survey for the first time

Facebook News
Facebook hiring skyrockets with a focus on Oculus VR

AR News
ARCore to Reach 100M Devices, Amazon Rolls Out AR Tool
EVAN SPIEGEL IS DOUBLING DOWN ON SNAPCHAT’S BIGGEST FAILURE (Vanity Fair, long article)

Financial Projections
Virtual Reality Market to Reach at a CAGR of 59.14% by 2022 (what’s wrong with this?
These companies will propel the AR and VR markets to $95B by 2023
Global Virtual Reality Market Size Worth US $ 23.40 Billion | 2023

Novel Uses
Serious Labs brings immersive VR to equipment industry (video)
Microsoft Research Developed VR For Visually Impaired People (video)
This VR Girlfriend Simulator Is About More Than Cybersex
New Releases: This Week In VR Fitness Games 2/26/18
VR Technology Called to the Stand in Beijing Court (thank you Maike)

WEDNESDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2018

Best VR cameras (but includes mono as well as stereo)
The Best 360º Cameras: VR Professionals Weigh-In

Best empathetic VR experiences
In Their Shoes: 10 empathetic VR experiences

VR and the Olympics
How We Achieved an Olympic Feat of Immersive Journalism (NY Times)
Experience the men’s cross-country 15km in virtual reality
Intel’s Olympic drone light show just set a world record and looked awesome

Silicon Valley is still “Tone Deaf”
Like Peter Thiel, Tech Workers Feel Alienated by Silicon Valley ‘Echo Chamber’ (WSJ)
YCombinator blog discussion of the WSJ story
Facebook Pulls VR First-Person Shooter Game From Demo at Conservative Political Conference (Variety)

Excellent podcast with Mary Lou Jepson, OpenWater (brain beanie)
Mary Lou Jepsen | Neural Imaging and … TELEPATHY!

New Ready Player One Trailers
The new Ready Player One trailer is trying so hard to make VR headsets look cool (The Verge)
The Prize Awaits (0:54) (Feb 26)
Come with Me (1:56) (Feb 15)
Final Trailer (4:34) (Feb 15)
Official Trailer (2:25) (Dec 10)
Teaser (Jul 22)

MONDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2018

New York Times uses (mobile) AR
The New York Times puts Olympic athletes in augmented reality
Augmented Reality: How We’ll Bring the News Into Your Home (New York Times)

Olympics skiers use VR (and then some!)
Winter Olympics : US skiers use VR goggles & brain zapping headphones

Intel’s new smart glasses
INTEL MADE SMART GLASSES THAT LOOK NORMAL
Intel Reveals First Look at Stylish, Lightweight Smart Glasses (video)

Apple headsets
Apple Patent Revealing VR And AR Optical System Unearthed
Apple smart glasses patent details a lighter, comfier head-mounted display

Facebook releases (Tilt Brush like) Quill
Facebook’s Quill tool now lets you animate VR

Social VR
VR’s new magic ingredient: Friendship

Location Based VR
Most teens can’t afford a virtual reality headset, so they’re going to VR arcades instead

Yaw update 🙂
Yaw VR Motion Simulator Hits Kickstarter Funding Goal [Update]

VR Porn
Pornhub is the latest platform to ban AI-generated ‘deepfakes’ porn
Reddit bans ‘deepfakes’ AI porn communities
Virtual Reality Porn: The Next Greatest Threat to the Church?
Reality Lovers Rolls Out 5K VR Porn

VR titles on sale
Humble Store VR Sale Offers up to 66% off Top VR Titles This Weekend
Discounts Galore As Oculus Introduces 4 Discount Bundles And February Free Weekends

Commentary
Hey virtual reality, can you figure yourself out already?

MONDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2018

Niche markets
500K People Have Used These Augmented Reality Smartglasses That You’ve Never Heard Of
W&M’s Highland launches nation’s first wearable augmented reality tour
Top 5 VR Fitness Trends To Experience In 2018
THIS PASTOR IS PUTTING HIS FAITH IN A VIRTUAL REALITY CHURCH (Wired)

Low end tech
Zeiss VR ONE Connect, an affordable approach to VR gaming
Meet the Swiss startup with a VR glove that wowed CES (video)

High end tech
Light Field Labs : 3D Holograms no glasses Deep Dive

Linear & interactive
Unity Gets Stereo 360 Image And Video Capture Support
How Oculus Plans To Fund And Inspire Great VR Content This Year

Leak
Oculus Go: Leaked Image Shows 1,000 Apps, Movies and Games At Launch

More on Sundance
Sundance Film Festival and the Rise of Indie VR (Rolling Stone)
Virtual Reality Gets Social: At Sundance, Proof that the Future of VR is Shared Experiences

New book
Experience On Demand: Stanford Researcher’s New VR Book Is Required Reading

MONDAY 29 JANUARY 2018

Public visibility
Spielberg on ‘Ready Player One’ and the future: ‘Virtual reality will be a super drug’ (video)
They Have Seen the Future, and It’s Wasting Zombies at the Arcade (NY Times)
Robert Redford shaken up by virtual reality film
A VR MOVIE SET IN SPACE JUST LANDED A 7-FIGURE DEAL AT SUNDANCE (Wired)
The best VR and AR from Sundance 2018 (The Verge’s Adi Robertson’s annual review)

Tech
Facebook Invented a New Unit of Time
Introducing The Vuzix Blade™ World’s First Augmented Reality Smart Glasses
Oculus Research make a compelling case to go work for them (video)
When Your Eyes Move, So Do Your Eardrums

Big and small product news
Intel Opens Los Angeles Studio for Volumetric VR/AR Video Productions (video)
Meet Yaw, the most affordable VR motion simulator (video)

++++++++++++++++++  2017   –   2018   ++++++++++++++++++++++++

WEDNESDAY 13 DECEMBER 2017 (FINAL FALL SEMESTER ENTRY)
(hat tip to Bishka for some of these!)

Jaunt Goes Interactive
Jaunt Announces XR Platform (sort of: branching)

Headset News
Google is Developing a VR Display With 10x More Pixels Than Today’s Headsets
OCULUS FILES PATENT APPLICATION FOR CURVED DISPLAY IN VR HEADSETS
PSX 2017 Showed Why Sony Is Leading The VR Race With PSVR

Content News
Daydream Impact is Google’s new philanthropy program for VR
Sundance Film Festival announces 2018 New Frontier program
Explore virtual reality at the National Museum of Singapore this weekend
Oculus revives its Wolves in the Walls virtual reality story experience

Perception
Virtual reality users must learn to use what they see

Advertising
How Virtual Reality Is Changing The World Of Advertising

Tombstones in AR?!?
Phones for urns: Hong Kong turns to virtual reality to honor ancestors

WEDNESDAY 6 DECEMBER 2017

New Tech
5 AMAZING NEW VR PRODUCTS AWARDED IN CES 2018 VIRTUAL REALITY CATEGORY
The ZED mini camera brings an AR twist to your VR headset
Amazon’s Sumerian Is A Web-Based Development Service For VR/AR Apps
Apple’s most powerful iMac is arriving this month
3 practical ways that VR is improving health care

Big Content
Computing Clout Helps Hollywood Tap Potential of Immersive Content (Variety)
Nat Geo Brings the Ocean to Times Square
BBC Launches VR Studio

The Dark Side
Game over for virtual reality? (The Economist)
The Promise and Disappointment of VR: A Cultural History (Lithub)
Drone Maker D.J.I. May Be Sending Data to China, U.S. Officials Say

MONDAY 27 NOVEMBER 2017

Cool Hacks
How a High-Tech Stationary Bicycle Can Help Patients With Dementia
Smellable VR is coming whether you want it or not (video)
The AR-powered fighting MekaMon robot goes on sale at Apple Stores (video)
Apple acquires AR headset startup Vrvana for $30m “truly opaque blacks” (vrvana.com)

More Location-Based “Out of Home” VR
Theme parks are blurring the lines between physical rides, movies, TV and virtual reality
China is opening a massive VR theme park next month (Guiyang)
Paramount Has Created a Completely Virtual Movie Theater; Is This a Game Changer? (In Home)

End of Year Reflections
The VR Fund: Entertainment VR investments jump 79% in second half of 2017 (big “who’s who” poster)
10 virtual reality experiences that stood out in 2017
A CONVERSATION WITH JARON LANIER, VR JUGGERNAUT (Wired) (See also NY Times article)

End of Year Projections
Virtual and Augmented Reality Markets Expected to Show Strong Growth
I gave up on VR, but I believe again. Sort of

This Means You
Is Virtual Reality’s Steven Spielberg Still in College?

WEDNESDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2017

What Happened to Snap Spectacles (and what will happen to them?)?
Snapchat loses $40m on flop Spectacles
What’s Going to Happen to All the Unsold Snapchat Spectacles?

More Better VR Headsets
HTC reveals standalone Vive Focus VR headset and cancels Daydream plans (cool video)
RideVR Is A New Standalone Headset Designed For Theme Parks

Social VR
Social VR Platforms Proliferate in the Next Digital Land Grab
Will blockchain help make Virtual Reality more social?

What’s Wrong with this Forecast? (clue: how many significant digits?)
Virtual Reality (VR) Market Size Projected Reach $26.89 Billion by 2022: Zion Market Research

WEDNESDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2017

Corporate News

Corporate Optimism & Corporate Cynicism
Why Samsung Is Ramping Up Its Virtual Reality Campaign
Empathy – the latest gadget Silicon Valley wants to sell you

Success
Pimax Kickstarter Nears $3.5M With Less Than a Week Left, Free Eye-tracking Module Unlocked

Failure?
Why Snapchat Spectacles failed

New Tech
Sony’s Big Bet on 3D Sensors That Can See the World
Exclusive: Inside Europe’s Amazing New Volumetric Capture Studio, Dimension

VR Content (High & Low)
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s incredible VR experience is getting a special Oscar award
Use Your Expensive VR Set-Up To Milk Cows

VRarcades (and China!)
Shanghai is Building the World’s Largest Planetarium
VR Arcades in Shanghai: A Red Ocean Looking for Innovation
China’s £1 billion virtual reality sci-fi theme park
Can VR Save The Movie Theater, Or The Mall?

WEDNESDAY 25 OCTOBER 2017

Hardware News – Cameras
Samsung’s new camera has 17 lenses and costs $10,500 (from Samsung)

Hardware News – Headsets
Pimax 8K VR Headset Surpasses $2 Million On Kickstarter
Review: Google Daydream View’s virtual reality is something to see
Further Information About LG VR Headset Revealed

Cool Content
Felix & Paul Studios Launch The Confessional VR Comedy Series On Daydream
Jaunt VR Releases Experimental Experience Through You

Cool Hacks
Developer Uses ARCore To Bring Positional Tracking To Gear VR
The Latest On VR Locomotion (from Oculus)
Lytro Announces VR Light Field Rendering Software ‘Volume Tracer’
Facebook Collaborates with Mettle for 360° Depth Related VR FX Software
Adobe’s Project SonicScape lets VR film editors see sound

Not Gossip
Snap May Have Hundreds of Thousands of Unsold Spectacles
Regina Dugan, the head of Facebook’s secretive hardware lab, is leaving the company

MONDAY 16 OCTOBER 2017

AR vandalism makes the NY Times

More big content
Here’s the trailer for the new Star Wars VR experience coming to Disney parks
Pixar Announces First VR Project ‘Coco VR’, a ‘Next level social experience’

Facebook Oculus announces 2 new VR headsets, both standalone

Bad Content
Oculus will start refunding users for bad VR content

Good Content
Discovery, Google Launch Multi-Part Virtual Reality Trip Around the World
‘Everest VR’ Hits PlayStation VR Today
TRIPP Raises $4 Million to Develop ‘Mood Altering’ VR Experiences

Hardware Wars
Sony Isn’t ‘Entirely Comfortable’ With PSVR Market Lead By Current Margin
Google, Facebook and Microsoft Line Up For VR Standalone Push
How to get the new Microsoft and Samsung ‘mixed reality’ headset
Snap CEO’s Focus on Spectacles Underscores Hardware Ambitions

Hardware Innovations
A Finnish VR startup is developing a ‘human eye-resolution’ headset that is ’10 years ahead of its time’
Jaunt VR’s 6DOF Interactive Experience Free The Night Debuting Exclusively For Windows Mixed Reality
The Basslet: a wearable subwoofer for your body

Surprises (or maybe not)
Artist virtually vandalises Jeff Koons’ Snapchat artwork to protest “AR corporate invasion”
Go ahead, try to guess what Magic Leap does based on this video

MONDAY 25 SEPTEMBER 2017

Pimax Kickstarter exceeds $1M (+ “scent modules” and “eye tracking models” for “foveated rendering” via partners)
Standalone VR Headsets Are On The Way! (note source)
Ars Electronica opens VR Lab
Oculus tweaks VR audio to seem closer and more realistic
China’s Largest Messaging App ‘WeChat’ is Creating its Own AR Platform (HT to Jack Hua Zhu)
Google signs $1.1bn HTC smartphone deal (money goes to HTC VR dev?)
3 things you need to know about augmented reality in China
VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

MONDAY 18 SEPTEMBER 2017

ARKit and ARCore will not usher massive adoption of mobile AR (The “AR Cloud” Will)
Report: Magic Leap To Cost Between $1,500 And $2,000, Limited Shipping Soon
Google Earth Integrates With Street View In New Update
https://vr.google.com/earth/ (still clunky)
Apple shows off breathtaking new augmented reality demos on iPhone 8 (tabletop game)
Adobe to introduce 360 VR editing, character animation to CC (video post-production ++)
Chinese Pimax has an 8K VR headset coming to Kickstarter soon (impressive!)
Felix & Paul’s ‘The People’s House’ 360 Video Wins an Emmy (cinematic VR)
This Robot Disarms Bombs Through Virtual Reality (HT to Bishka)
THESE CRAZY HEADPHONES LET YOU RECORD IMMERSIVE 3D SOUNDSCAPES ANYWHERE (Binaural)
Eye-tracking is virtual reality’s next frontier
The Everything Simulator (Thoughtful Medium story by VR VC)

MONDAY 11 SEPTEMBER 2017

Here’s the first of weekly “News of the Week” posts. I monitor lots of blogs and newsfeeds, so this is a no-brainer for me. If you have any news items, please email me before Monday classes and I’ll give you a HT for it 🙂 .

This first batch is actually a week old. I’ll catch up next week.

Notes:
– AR, particularly “mobile AR,” is heating up.
– Magic Leap is still attracting attention, even with no product yet to show.
– VR in medicine (note “Snow World”) and sports (especially STRIVR).
– “Naming problem” is an issue for location-based “big” experiences.

Links:

Apple shows off new AR apps just as Google launches ARCore
Google’s ARCore is the answer to Apple’s ARKit
ARCore: Augmented reality at Android scale
Made with ArKit

Check out these smartglasses designed by $4.5 billion startup Magic Leap

3 Ways Virtual Reality Is Transforming Medical Care
VR Is Changing Sports: More Than 30 Teams Use STRIVR Training While SyncThink Diagnoses Concussions

Immersive entertainment has a naming problem