VR could be big in schools, but teachers want more content

Say goodbye to school libraries that are little more than dusty rows of books. Slowly but surely, they're becoming “maker spaces” where kids learn through hands-on tools and technologies. Schools are stocking these spaces with everything from Raspberry Pis to 3D printers to LEGO building stations.

The latest technology to find its way into schools’ maker spaces? Virtual reality. Without leaving the library or classroom, students using VR can take “field trips” across the world and...

By Melissa Pelletier, 26 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Applications.

L’Oreal makes big move into AR with ModiFace acquisition

French cosmetic giant L’Oreal has announced that it has bought Canadian AR company ModiFace, signalling its intention to make a significant move into AR in the near future.

ModiFace has developed technology that allows for 3D virtual make-up, colour and skin diagnosis by tracking facial features and colour. The company’s proprietary technology is already utilised by almost all of the major beauty brands, which means this is a big move by the French company.

The company’s 70 employees will...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 22 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

HTC Vive and IGT announce casino VR deal

Slot machine maker International Game Technology PLC (IGT) has announced that it will be teaming up with HTC Vive to bring VR technology to casinos. The partnership will see the IGT, which is one of the world’s largest ‘gaming solutions providers’ leveraging HTC VIVE Studios’ content within a ‘Virtual Zone’ on casino floors.

This is not, however, a way for fatigued gamblers to gain some respite by checking out virtual experiences. Rather, the Virtual Zone is a competition...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 21 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise, eSports.

Magic Leap releases AR SDK

After years of speculation and secrecary, the last few months have seen Magic Leap spring into action. First it unveiled the Magic Leap One headset in December and now the company has opened the headset up to developers with the release of a new SDK.

A blog post on the company website states:

“These tools and resources will be the first opportunity for creators to dive...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 20 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

Scots council is first in UK to provide VR headsets to schools

VR is coming to the 30 primary and secondary schools of East Renfrewshire Council in Scotland as part of a new scheme. The announcement marks the first time that local government in the UK has specifically earmarked funding to provide VR hardware to schools.

The £250,000 investment will see pupils in the region gain access to VR via ClassVR headsets. The hardware, designed by educational technology company Avantis, the headsets are specially designed to provide pupils with hundreds of virtual and...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 19 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Devices.

Tobii and Qualcomm bring eye tracking to VR/AR headsets

Qualcomm has announced that it plans to integrate Tobii’s eye-tracking technology directly into its Snapdragon 845 VR headsets. The two companies will create a full reference design and development kit for the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform.

The development kit is based around the 845 processor, which was first used in the Samsung Galaxy S9 that launched in February. Qualcomm’s head mounted display will include Tobii’s proprietary EyeCore eye-tracking algorithms and hardware design.

The...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 16 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Hardware.

Zara introducing AR displays to stores

Fashion chain Zara, which is owned by the world’s biggest clothing retailer Inditex, has announced the introduction of AR displays to some of its stores from April.

The technology will be introduced across 120 of the brand’s flagship stores and will allow consumers to view products and purchase them using their phones.

Customers who download the app can access a range of content by pointing their device at the specialised display surfaces. They will be able to see a virtual representation of a...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 14 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Brands.

Microsoft details four ways it's experimenting with haptic VR

VR has gained so much traction in the last couple of years that its futuristic, sci-fi sheen has been diminished in the eyes of a lot of consumers. Most people now expect that they will be interacting with the technology in some form within the next decade.

The area of haptic feedback, having the ability to touch and feel virtual objects, is still likely to elicit shocked gasps from consumers. Unsurprisingly, there are currently a wealth of companies racing to trying to create the killer piece of haptic...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 13 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Hardware.

Bose takes innovative approach to AR with smart glasses prototype

Bose may be primarily known for their audio products like headphones and speakers, but the company is looking to make waves in to the AR market as well.

The company surprised attendees of SXSW with an announcement that it will be launching an AR platform that will be accompanied by smart glasses. Fittingly, Bose AR was described as being the “world’s first audio augmented reality platform”, highlighting the key distinction between the Bose glasses and others emerging into the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 12 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Devices.

Uber files application for VR vehicle experiences

Uber is looking to bring VR to the world of driverless cars, so that commuters can immerse themselves in virtual experiences on their daily commutes.

According to Motherboard, the company filed two patents in August 2016 relating to VR experiences for vehicles. The patents have been published by the US Patent and Trademark Office

The applications say:

“Most people travel the same routes at the same times of day over and over again and are interested in using their travel time for something other than looking at...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 09 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Enterprise.

Jurassic Park goes full Pokémon Go with AR game

It is safe to say that Pokémon Go was, however briefly, a phenomenon and the closet thing that AR has had to a breakthrough, killer app so far.

But you know what is arguably cooler than rooting out Pokémon in the real world? Dinosaurs, that’s what.

As the Jurassic Park franchise rumbles on with latest instalment Fallen Kingdom, developers Luda have teamed up with Universal to create an AR game for both iOS and Android.  

In terms of mechanics and gameplay, Jurassic World Alive will seem very...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 08 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

AR company Upskill adds Accenture and Cisco as high-profile investors

Upskill, a company focused on creating AR platforms that facilitate employee training with smart glasses, has raised a mammoth $17.2 million in its latest round of funding.

The company also added some very high-profile investors to its current roster. Accenture and Cisco Investments now join the links of Boeing HorizonX, GE Ventures and New Enterprise Associates as backers of Upskill. The company raised £11.3 million last year.

The latest round means that the company has now raised an impressive $57.4...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 07 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Enterprise.

What is the scent of virtual reality?

The following article is authored by Avery Gilbert, with contributions from Jacki Morie and Saskia Wilson-Brown

Dogs are renowned for their keen sense of smell, but the human nose is no slouch. It’s capable of distinguishing more than 1 trillion different scents, according to Rockefeller University scientists.

In fact, although that’s far more than the 10,000 that decades-old research indicated, the Rockefeller University study concludes...

Researchers test whether VR can treat phantom pain

Phantom pain is a strange phenomena whereby someone who has recently lost a limb continues to feel pain that seems to be coming from the missing limb itself. The condition can often compound the anguish that can come when a person loses part of their body.

As well as trying to understand why phantom pain occurs, scientists have been trying to find an effective way to treat the condition. Researchers at the University of Brunswick’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering are studying whether VR can help...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 02 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Research.

MWC2018 – Experts think VR/AR will really benefit from 5G

The theme of this year’s MWC in Barcelona may have been sustainability, but it was definitely unofficially 5G. All over the mammoth conference space, there was excited talk of how the emergence of 5G networks would affect everything from IoT to smart glasses.

In a panel on the future of immersive experiences on Monday, HTC Vive’s president of Viveport Rikard Steiber said that 5G will really enable the integration of AI into a range of services. With the spread of intelligent computers, Steiber...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 01 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, AR, Developers.

MWC2018 - Deutsche Telecom and ZEISS show how close smart glasses are to the mainstream

At this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Deutsche Telekom and ZEISS unveiled the design of their smart glasses to attendees. The pair also brought in some friends to help show the wide range of applications that this technology is likely to have in the next few years.

Here are the key details from the presentation.

Partnership details

The two companies announced a joint venture, tooz technologies Inc., in order to expand their smart glasses partnership in early 2018. The underlying...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 28 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

UK police launches first VR training programme

Gwent police force in Wales, UK has launched a VR training programme to try and get officers to think about the different options available to them in difficult and complex situations.

The programme represents the first time that a police force in the UK has officially announced the use of VR to train members of the police force. There have been four sessions since January, each of them focusing on different scenarios that require skills to identify controlling and coercive behaviour.

The training does not...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 23 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Case Studies.

Samsung to use AR at Mobile World Congress product launch

Samsung is planning to use AR to wow attendees at next week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona when it unveils its new smartphones. However, details both of the phones and the promotional tactics planned have been leaked ahead of the event.

The company recently released its Unpacked 2018 app on the Google Play Store. The app is intended to for registered and invited users at events, and also for people that want to view the live stream of the MWC event.

It seems that Samsung didn’t...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 22 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Samsung.

MIT and Cornell combine AR with 3D printing

A joint project from MIT and Cornell is looking to change the prototyping game by combining AR with robotic modelling and 3D printing.

The Robotic Modelling Assistant (RoMA) allows users wearing an AR headset and using two handheld controllers to build 3D models with a computer programme. A robotic arm gets to work building a skeletal model using a 3D printer mounted on its hand.

Project leader Huaishu Peng described the benefits of the project as allowing users to “integrate real-world constraints into...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 20 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

Magic Leap reveals elements of its business plans for the next few years

After seemingly hoovering in investment without giving much away about what it was actually up to for years, the last few months have seen a flood of Magic Leap-related news activity.

Just before Christmas, the company finally unveiled its highly-anticipated AR headset.

Now, CEO Rony Abovitz has revealed a few key aspects of the company’s strategy going forward. The comments were made at the Code Media conference.

So, with Magic...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 19 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.