Immersive News Round-Up August 2019 (part 1)

The schools might be out but the immersive community are definitely in!  Everyone is working hard to bring us some action packed updates this month!  There’s actually so much going on that I’ve decided to split this monthly round-up into 2 parts – a mid-month update and then another end of month update.

(AR Hardware) NReal AR glasses due to launch early 2020

(VR Market) BigScreen VR to launch on Playstation VR in 2020:

(AR Content) DoodleLens 1.2 is released so now you can animate your drawings in AR too!  Nice work!

(AR Content) A really cool looking AR Book Effect

(Health VR: Research) VR Memory palaces – “We found that virtual memory palaces in HMD condition provide a superior memory recall ability compared to the desktop condition.” I (Suzanne)  quoted this research paper in my Springer Series contribution called Biomedical Visualisation volume 3 which is due for release later this month.  Its such a fascinating area and my VR for dementia work that I do with Pivotal Reality falls into this perfectly.

(Virtual Reality equipment/hardware) VR bungee is now a thing and it looks like fun!

(VR Content Creation) YouTube’s VR Creator Lab is open to applicants!  I looked at this when it came to London last month.  Note that one of the conditions is that you need to 10k subscribers to apply…  On that note… don’t forget to check out & sub my YouTube channel…!  ;-D ty

(Immersive Market) 5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry [Infographic]

(AR Hardware) Leap Motion’s North Star is the DK1 of AR: hands-on preview and how to buy it!

(AR Filters/content) Body Tracking AR filters

(VR Hardware Market) Zuckerberg to Shareholders: ‘Quest is selling as fast as we can make them’

(AR design/hardware) AR Glasses could offer hands-free communication without saying a word

(VR Software) Couple of months ago a metaverse working group did a field test for traversing disparate virtual worlds to see how they interconnect.  I absolutely love this and think it is an important design mechanic that we should be looking at for connectivity & accessibility purposes!  It’s a fascinating read []-)

(VR Event) OC6 registration is now live!  I can’t go so if you are going to attend then make sure you all tweet content out for me… pretty please!  I’ll look to see if there will be a VR event somewhere to cover the livestream and join in that way for now perhaps…

(VR Event) So Tenacious D went a played a live concert in VR thanks to Oculus Venues and I went along!!!  What a belter, loved it and yes, I will be going to more concerts & events like this in VR.  So should you too!

If you are interested in a re-cap of the Tenacious D concert then I create this YouTube video.  No actual concert footage was allowed but I felt it was important to document this special moment in history in some fashion so that was the rationale behind this video.

(Immersive Resources & Insight & advertising) The Immersive Directory launched the first wave of their blog series!  I am totally honoured to report that I was one of the first contributors alongside so many talented others!

(AR Developer Support) I honestly like the personal touch of this next piece.  The MagicLeapers are lending out a helping hand to the developer community by providing their Open Hours with Developer Relations Programme.  I know of some others who could perhaps benefit from adopting that style of relationship building and support.

(VR Design) Embodying taller avatars can make us feel more confident in real life

(AR content creation) Facebook wants Quill to be a one-stop shop for VR animators

(VR use case) The Future of Virtual Reality in the Workplace – a topic close to my heart!  The ability to connect with people as an embodied presence within a virtual environment is pretty magical.  That’s the reason I am such an advocate of social VR!!  Being able to connect with you wherever you are whilst I am sitting in Scotland is mind-blowingly awesome!!!

(AR Content) AR being used at the Tate Museum to help bring the stories about the pieces of art to life for attendees

(AR Content) Can we bring back famous scientists from history as virtual tutors telling us about how they thought about their discoveries?  Sooooo cool right?!

(Immersive Market Insight) Apple has posted job vacancies for AR & VR positions!  Speculation is for Apple branded AR Glasses to be released in 2020/2021 but we will see… 

(AR Hardware) Startup Human Capable’s ‘Norm Glasses’ AR Smartglasses Are Like Google Glass in a Regular Pair of Shades

(VR Content) A VR comic experience coming soon! I’m interested in seeing this a) because I think the idea of a virtual comic experience is ace and b) because they  mention that they use Quill 2.0 and I only recently found out about Quill from the tweet quoted above in  this blog.  So that’s quite exciting!

(VR Health: Research) How VR is helping a girl with chronic pain in having a better life

(VR Content) Man oh man, I love this next one.  Differently Fast is a competitive game that you need to check out.  It is indeed different but absolutely beautifully different in that you are competing to be the fasted at wheelchair racing.  I love this so much and don’t even get me started on the inclusive side of things ❤

(Immersive use cases) How AR VR will disrupt the travel & photography industry via Tech for Travel’s How Smart Tech is Improving Your Travel Blog

(VR Health: Research) Surgical Training Validation Study at UCLA

(VR Market) Sad to hear that Vreal has shut up shop.  Wishing everybody involved all the best with their next steps.

(VR Creation, Design & Developer Resource) VR Production considerations, questions to consider, UX, costs

(VR Showcase/Use Case) Acadicus is a virtual learning platform that allows anyone to teach and learn in VR by providing everything needed to access, create and share content created by instructors.

(VR Health: Research) Future of Neuroscience & VR report that was compiled by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

(VR Hardware/Controllers) The etee VR controllers from a company called TG0 can detect where a user’s fingers are and how much pressure is being applied

(AR Market / Use case) Google AR Maps has started rolling out on Android and iOS

(VR Metaverse / Software / Design) Kim Nevelsteen wants to create the Metaverse by offering the glue to connect already existing online virtual worlds

(VR Research / publication opportunity) Submit your research to a forthcoming special section of the British Journal of Educational Technology

(AR Market / Insight) Snap to raise $1 billion to invest in AR, possible acquisitions

(AR Hardware) Moving beyond traditional fitness trackers that you wear on your wrists, the FORM Swim Goggles actually bring AR to you during your swim

(AR Content / Creation) Create a VR tour of your classroom using a regular phone + Google Street View App + Google Tour Creator

I told you this month has already been action packed!  Is there anything here that particularly caught your eye?  I purposely embedded the tweets to share my sources with you so that you can pursue more out for yourself.  If, however, you ever want to get in touch so that readers can hear about your immersive product, service, tools, tricks, resources, publications then by all means please do get in touch!  I am here to showcase the immersive industry after-all, well VR is my passion but I do love it’s cousins too and to be honest, I don’t see too many other places helping to shine a light on immersive tech so why not me, right?!

Thanks for tuning in, take care & see you all again in 2 weeks time.
Suzanne

The UK’s First Full Motion VR Racing Centre – VR Simulators Glasgow

You all know me by  now and know I am a complete virtual reality idoliser, if not, where have you been?!  So when I first read that a virtual reality racing car centre was opening close to my home I experienced instant fan girl syndrome…

First Impressions
Thankfully they heard my plea and invited me along.  Now the time has come for me to share that marvelous experience with you all.  Where to begin?  I won’t lie, I was giddy just standing outside looking in to the place!  As soon as I stepped in I felt as if I had travelled into the future, past and present all at the same time.  I think it was their Matrix colour scheme and the build up of sheer excitement that transported me into this mesmerising moment of euphoria.  Time stood still in there.

chairs main

The place looked the business.  It wasn’t like any traditional ‘arcade’ I had ever visited.  This looked and felt upmarket.  The details were well thought out.  The colours, the branding, the chairs, the headsets, the steering wheels, the pedals, the sounds, the smells, the works.  Everything looked and felt shit hot!  There are 11 chairs for racing drivers to race simultaneously in a race of 23 drivers in total (the other 12 are AI/computer controlled racers).  Spectators from large groups who attend who don’t make the 1st cut of racing drivers can watch the action live on a TV screen.  It genuinely looks like you are watching the F1 on that tv except it’s your mates or co-workers!  It’s so awesome!  The technology used has the ability to target any dramatic battles for positioning or overtaking as you would expect in real life races too.  Adding to the realistic experience.

User in chair setup

Game On
Nothing compares to BEING the driver though!  I’m a gamer who’s played racing games before and would class myself as ‘decent enough’ at them so I was feeling up for the experience.  When I approached the seat, saw the equipment and listened to my tutorial I felt a little out my depth.  It felt like I was about to step into a car, even before the VR headset has been touched.  I was given a racing driver balaclava to wear – this was getting seriously exciting!  I had eaten a Ginger Nut biscuit and put on anti-sickness wristbands – I was told to expect to feel the G-Force and movements when racing thanks to the seat motion as well as VR visualisation.  The seats are fully adjustable to the customer’s height to help with that real life experience further.  The steering wheels are also adjustable for the same reason.  Your foot pedals are exactly as you would expect in a gear controlled car.

chairs

Screechy Wheel time
I was sat in my seat, balaclava on, strapped into my harness (eeeek!) and ready to go post tutorial instructions.  I pulled the headset on and immediately brimmed ear to ear.  I could see my VR hands clutching the VR steering wheel in front of me whilst holding the real world steering wheel.  I looked and saw the car’s dashboard, the mirrors, the road in front of me, the side windows, the passenger seat, the rear seats, my lap.  This was cool and as you would expect in VR but still cool.  However, when I was given that green light, applied the accelerator and experienced the sensational rumble of my hasty take-off I was in hysterics.  I was like the child who longed to be tall enough for their first big rollercoaster ride, finally being tall enough to take their seat and whooping down the first steep drop my friends.  I couldn’t help myself!  Trying to keep control around the bends that I was driving way too fast for, shuddering over the chicanes with my ass cheeks knowing I was off course along with my eyes thanks to the 20 degrees of seat motion at a speed of 20 degrees per second!  The belief that I had to make time back up for going off the track slightly, the determination to do better on the next bend to win the race in a new world record time to match my new pro racing driver persona!  Except only to spin wildly out of control at the next bend and feel the full G-Force throwing me about in my chair thanks to the realistic motion matching my competitively aggressive driving style and I don’t even know which way is forward anymore.  Slip my headset off, quick check, yes it’s ok, I’ve not really damaged a Mitsubishi Evolution VI.  Headset back on, finish the race with the sounds of my engine roaring a little less furiously than before.  Race over.  “How was that? Ready for the Porsche 911?”

Cool Features
The hardware and software are absolutely in sync with each other.  The chair, the steering wheel, pedal, visual and sound all provide a realistic immersive experience.  There’s auto-drive function for when you pull into the pit-stop – acting as an ideal time to swap drivers if your group is larger than the 11 seats can host at the same time.  Just a tap on the shoulder to let you know to pull in next time is all it takes communication wise to make that happen.

This is the sort of gift I could buy my husband instead of a race track experience and know he was going to be alive at the end of it…  With over 50 cars and tracks to choose from you can’t go wrong!  In fact, the selection of racing tracks are marked out EXACTLY as they are in real life and encourage local Knockhill drivers enough to become regular customers!  John, the owner shared a story of his friend visiting in a real world Lamborghini looking to try out VR Simulators VR Lamborghini and said afterwards, “wow, it’s just like the real thing!”.  His brother sat in the real world Lamborghini and said, “wow, it’s just like VR!”.

talladega
source: redbubble.com

I would encourage you to go try it out for yourself, girls this is one you will enjoy as much as the lads, I promise!  Don’t worry if you don’t feel confident as you can activate auto-gears so that all you need to do is accelerate, steer and brake.  There are green and red arrows to guide you on when you should brake too.  You’ll receive a full brief of equipment and tutorial – no driving license required for VR races either!  Not forgetting that you are in safe capable hands of the staff.  There’s even a podium winners celebration at the end so you can truly enjoy the winner’s bragging rights!

Check out VR Simulators website for full details or to make an enquiry – let them know Suzanne sent you!