Microsoft launches HoloLens ‘as a service’ with education partner

Microsoft has announced the launch of HoloLens ‘as a service’, with a subscription programme being put in place alongside UK education provider JTRS.

JTRS, which is owned by Econocom, will offer what is being described as ‘mixed reality as a service’, with customers given a HoloLens package from £260 per device, per month for two years. The service includes the device, delivery, swap warranty, and collection and recycling at the end of the term.

Alongside this, users will be able...

By James Bourne, 02 May 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Ecosystems, Hardware, Microsoft.

New report highlights recent trends and threats in the global VR headsets market

A new report by QYResearchReports.com has outlined the challenges as well as trends associated with the global VR headsets market and offered a detailed analysis of the future growth opportunities.

“Global Virtual Reality Headsets Sales Market Report 2018” aims to reinforce the decision-making capacity of readers, potential investors and new entrants in the VR headset market by offering them with financial performance reports of prominent players, their M&A strategy news, the challenges they...

By James Bourne, 25 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Hardware, Research.

Intel cancels its smartglasses

Numerous reports have emerged that Intel is to shut down its New Devices Group, effectively bringing its costly foray into the wearables market to a close for now. The company has made several attempts, and spent several hundred million dollars, trying to break into the wearables market.

All current employees will be relocated to other divisions within the company or laid off, according to the reports.

The New Devices Group’s last major project was the Vaunt smartglasses, which promised to use advanced...

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

Google Chrome browser gets Oculus support

Google has extended the VR support of its Chrome browser to include Oculus hardware. The Windows version (66.03.3359.117) of Chrome will now work natively with both Oculus Rift headsets and Touch controllers.

The news was not publicly announced by either company and was discovered by a Reddit user on the Oculus subreddit. The discovery of the browser flag was later confirmed by a second user who wrote:

“Just tried...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 19 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Developers, Hardware.

VR social network vTime raises $7.6 million in series A funding round, aims to introduce AR version

Virtual reality (VR) social network vTime has secured $7.6 million in a series A funding round that will be invested in the R&D of a new augmented reality (AR) version of the app coming towards the end of 2018.

In addition, the funding will be utilised to speed up the worldwide growth of vTime as well as in product development.

Martin Kenwright, CEO of UK-based vTime, commented: "vTime offers users the most immersive and intuitive way to engage with others in VR from wherever they are. The...

By James Bourne, 17 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, AR, Brands.

Google to use VR to help preserve endangered historical sites

Although they can often appear monolithic and unchanging, many of the world’s priceless historical sites are at risk of irreversible damage. Whether it is the Taj Mahal may be limiting the number of tourists allowed onto the site, or ISIS destroying world heritage sites in Syria, some of our most precious wonders are not as permanent as they may seem.

A partnership between Google’s non-profit...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 17 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

ODG formulates smartglasses for emergency landings in aviation industry

Smartglass manufacturer Osterhout Design Group (ODG) has formulated an all-in-one vision and oxygen solution in the form of a heads-up display (HUD) mask that uses the same AR technology from its smartglasses to help pilots in emergency landings in an unlikely situation where the cockpit is filled with smoke.

ODG has worked with FedEx Express to develop the easy-to-use and reusable prototype mask named SAVED (Smoke Assured Vision Enhanced Display) for their pilots. The smartglass maker aims to market its...

By James Bourne, 13 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, AR.

AR/VR consumer content and apps market hit $3.2 billion in 2017

The AR and VR consumer market swelled by an impressive 72% in 2017 to reach a value of $3.2 billion, according to analysis from IHS Markit.

Key factors in this growth are a steadily increasing user base that is proving happy to put more of their money into the ballooning number of content, apps and location-based VR entertainment. While VR is likely to remain a fairly niche market for the next few years, IHS Markit still sees it hitting 75.7 million users by 2021.

In terms of user numbers though, it seems...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 12 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Devices, Research.

AR can help Parkinson’s sufferers through ‘freezing’

People who suffer from Parkinson’s disease can feel a lot of social fear or shame with regards to their symptoms. A recent study by Parkinson’s UK found that 40% of sufferers feel the need to try and hid their symptoms in public.

The reasons behind this are not wanting to be embarrass others (63%), the fear of being judged (34%) or thinking that their symptoms are not socially acceptable (32%). The...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 11 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, AR.

Leap Motion unveil $100 AR headset prototype

Leap Motion has jumped into the AR pool with the announcement of a platform and headset called Project North Star. The gesture interface company claims that the device would cost less than $100 if it hit large-scale production.

If this is true, the project would cost signifcnatly less than the HoloLens, currently costing $3,000. The company has so far ruled it out of any serious competition with its larger rivals, however, emphasising that it is not a headset company.

Instead, the company sees Project...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 10 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

As VR/AR market grows, legal issues and investment are top startup concerns

New research from CCS Insight estimates that the global market for VR and AR headsets will hit $1.8 billion in 2018. The company is predicting that a massive 50% growth in the device market over the next four years until it hits $9.9 billion in 2022.

At this stage, a total of 121 million units will have been sold. This growth has been mostly driven by VR headsets and a new crop of standalone devices like the Occulus Go and HTC Vive Focus are likely to continue this trend. The coming five decades will see...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 09 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Data & Analytics, Devices.

Majority of parents concerned about VR’s potential negative effects on children

60% of parents that took part in a recent survey by Common Sense reported being concerned about the potential negative effects that VR could have on their children. These concerns are, however, accompanied by a belief that VR will provide children with highly informative and beneficial educational experiences.

62% of surveyed parents think that VR will be educationally beneficial, rising to 84% for those whose children already use the technology.  

According to the study, 20% of parents reported living...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 05 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Case Studies.

US Army reportedly set to test AR system in 2019

The US Army is set to begin testing an AR system called HUD 3.0 sometime in 2019, according to a report in Breaking Defense.

The HUD 3.0 system reportedly consists of a helmet-mounted system that projects a range of different information onto a soldier’s field of view. The concept is based on the heads-up display currently utilised on fighter planes, which was introduced in the late 1970s.

The kind of information that would be shown to soldiers using the system would be their location in relation to the rest...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 04 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

ARKit app downloads hit 13 million in six months, says new analysis

More than 13 million augmented reality (AR) apps have been installed using Apple’s ARKit framework in its first six months according to data from Sensor Tower – with almost half of these coming from gaming.

The figures suggest a steady upward trend since the platform debuted in September last year. Previous analysis from one month after iOS 11 launched saw the number at around three million. Back then, ARKit-only gaming apps represented just over one third (35%) of all installs. Today, the number...

By James Bourne, 03 April 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR, iOS, Platforms.

54% of VR headset owners block ads

The potential of VR for marketing has sparked a race among companies to find the best way to present users with branded content while they are immersed.

But new data from Global Web Index, who surveyed thousands of headset owning consumers, shows that a significant portion of users are not currently receptive to ads. The min use case for VR marketing would be in putting branded content in front of consumers.

Branded content is an increasing instrumental part of the marketer’s toolkit. The Global Web...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 29 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

AR could play a role in helping people understand sign language

Students at New York have developed an app that uses AR and machine learning to translate sign language into spoken words, and vice versa. Unfortunately, many deaf people still feel that they live fairly isolated lives, with things like appointments and going out often massively complicated due to the lack of general knowledge of sign language throughout the hearing population.

The ARSL app uses computer vision models to translate sign language into spoken language and the other way around in real time. The...

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

App brings IKEA instructions to AR

In the pantheon of DIY tasks, putting together IKEA furniture is considered to be relatively straight forward. This doesn’t mean, however, that the process is an easy and satisfying one. On the contrary, even relatively simple IKEA projects seem to involve the ‘rage freakout’ stage that seemingly accompanies every DIY task.

While the act of throwing tools across the room because the kit doesn’t include enough screws (although they are actually under your coat) or yelling about how the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 27 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AR.

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.