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An Augmented Life: This Week’s VR/AR News

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Samsung Sold 782,000 Gear VR Units in Q1 2017
GSM Arena

Samsung is the absolute leader in VR headset production in 2016. The company sold over 782,000 units, compared with 375,000 for Sony’s PlayStation VR that comes in second. The top 5 in terms of sales numbers is completed by Google Daydream View – 170,000 units, HTC Vive – 95,000 and Oculus Rift – 64,000.

Augmented Reality Software Market to Reach $35.22 Billion by 2022
IT Business Net

The augmented reality software market was valued at USD 2.13 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach USD 35.22 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 57.36% during the forecast period. The increasing demand for AR-based software applications for 3D visualization in the medical sector, growing interest of large tech companies in AR, and increase in demand for AR in the e-commerce and retail sectors are the major drivers for the augmented reality software market.

Childish Gambino Releasing Virtual Reality Vinyl for “Awaken, My Love!”
Prefix Magazine  — Jared T.L.C.

A cardboard virtual reality viewer will come with the package. What will you watch with this cardboard viewer you ask? Well, for the diehard Gambino fans, perhaps the most exciting feature here is the 360° footage shot at the PHAROS festival last summer.

‘Alien: Covenant In Utero’ Virtual Reality Lets Users Burst Through Chests
The Wrap — Sean Burch

In “Alien: Covenant In Utero,” available today on all major virtual reality platforms, users get to experience the evolution of a Neomorph — the series’ famed creature seen in its infancy in “Alien: Covenant.”

Snapchat And Diminished Reality
Benzinga — Jayson Derrick

Munster said that augmented reality allows a user to add content to the real world, diminished reality gives users the ability to remove content from the real world. In fact, he expects the concept of diminished reality to gain in popularity over time and coupled with augmented reality gives a “strong mediated reality offering.”

Ad-tech Startup Chymera VR Raises Funds from Anupam Mittal, Others
VC Circle — Shruti Jain

The San Francisco and Bangalore-based startup offers technology solutions to advertisers who want to use VR as a way of storytelling and brand building.

McDonald’s Launches BeatQuiz to Keep Visitors Entertained While Dining
Adweek — Brandy Shaul

McDonald’s and Soundtrack Your Brand, a music streaming service for brands, launched BeatQuiz, a new feature within the McDonald’s mobile application that allows users to compete in an augmented reality quiz game while dining at one of its locations.

AR Visionaries Learn to Cope With the Limits of Today’s Tech
VentureBeat — Dean Takahashi

Augmented reality may be the future of games, but there are some huge problems that stand in its way. So we decided to gather three of the biggest AR visionaries and product makers to show us the path to the future at our GamesBeat Summit 2017 event last week.

Verizon Digital Media Services to Exclusively Power Gravity Point TV’s All-New Virtual Reality Hub
Broadcasting & Cable

Verizon Digital Media Services today announced that it has been selected by Gravity Point TV, a leader in the worldwide virtual reality (VR) services space, to exclusively power the all-new VR viewing hub, Gravity Point VR. Already a user of Verizon’s Uplynk Video Streaming service, Gravity Point TV will now also utilize the Edgecast Content Delivery Network (CDN) to ensure that Gravity Point VR content creators, publishers and providers — in sectors from video entertainment and gaming to retail and distance learning — can distribute quality content at scale and ensure a seamless viewer experience.

Soundwave Augmented Reality Tattoos Let You Listen to Your Body Art
Designboom

Be it the voice of a loved one, a special song lyric, or a poignant quote, soundwave tattoos let you immortalize meaningful sounds in tattoo form. the interactive body art is the first product by LA-based startup skin motion, and work with an app that creates tattoo designs from audio clips. All you need do is record the sound of your choice in the app, which then translates it into a scientific piece of body art. Once inked up, the augmented reality tattoos can then be scanned and played back using the same application, recreating the sound exactly as it was recorded.

Meo Launches Live TV ‘In VR Environment’
Digital TV Europe

Telecom operator Telecom/Meo has laid claim to have become the first operator in Europe to offer live TV channels in a virtual reality environment through Samsung Gear VR headsets powered by Oculus.

‘Guardians 2’ Cinematographer Talks Marvel, James Gunn, And Virtual Reality
Forbes — Scott Mendelson

“Right now, I’m just working on a virtual reality project that is a fascinating, fascinating thing. I love innovation… Because it’s a dramatic piece, it has completely opened my mind to the possibilities. But because these are very early days in an entirely new medium, what I love doing is thinking different about what we do, and thinking originally about it. It’s a great opportunity to do that.”

Will Smartphone AR Stunt Virtual Reality’s Growth?
TechCrunch — Lucas Matney

Smartphone-based augmented reality is going to pick up steam in a major way over the next couple years as the largest tech companies on the planet throw their full weight behind it. While virtual reality is sure to continue growing, the VR “killer apps” that many hoped would become evident soon may end up popping up on the camera-enabled smartphones that billions already have in their pockets.

Milwaukee’s War on ‘Pokémon GO’ Could Change Tech Forever
Inverse — Jordan Zakarin

Wasserman proposed that A.R. developers be required to apply for a permit if they want to direct people towards Milwaukee’s parks. The Board of Supervisors ultimately voted to approve the ordinance, creating an event application and review system for location-based A.R. apps.

VR Could Be The Future Of How Doctors View Cancer
Huffington Post — Nick Peel

I’m in a virtual lab, projected through a headset. And I’m experiencing the future of how scientists and doctors might one day view, study and understand tumours. This world is the brainchild of Professor Greg Hannon, from our Cambridge Institute, who’s leading a team of international scientists looking to change the way we see cancer.

Consumer Virtual Reality EXPO 
is a Celebration of All Things Red Pill
Beatroute — Willem Thomas

Virtual reality, that omnipresent futurist idea, is shifting ever closer to becoming a household reality, and has been for some time. Skeptical? Allow the Consumer Virtual Reality Expo a chance to assuage those doubts. The expo, now in its second year, is taking place at the Vancouver Convention Centre from May 5 – 7.

Facebook Is Killing Its Virtual Reality Film Studio
Fortune — Jonathan Vanian

The social networking giant said Thursday that its Oculus virtual reality unit would shut down Story Studio, a virtual reality film studio that debuted in 2015 with hires from big entertainment companies like Pixar. The studio’s closure is effective as of Thursday, said an Oculus spokesperson. With the studio closure, Facebook will no longer make in-house VR shorts and animations, and will instead “support more external production”.

It’s A Mad, Mad Augmented Virtual World
MediaPost — Alison Hill

While AR has found great success in gaming and advertising, VR is being explored more for amusement parks and the big screen. For example, Knott’s Berry Farm just unveiled a new VR experience entitled “VR Showdown in Ghost Town,” and IMAX and Warner Bros. recently announced that they’ll be partnering on the creation of VR experiences for Justice League and Aquaman. In addition, Ridley Scott announced the opening of a new VR division for his company, RSA, which is working on a VR experience for his film, Alien: Covenant in cooperation with 20th Century Fox’s new FoxNext Innovation unit and Technicolor.

Beauty Marketers Buck Broader Downward Trends as Digital Innovation Blooms
MarketingDive — Rachel Brown,
5/3/17

While AR has been widely adopted, beauty marketers are just starting to dabble in 360-degree video and virtual reality, which could transport customers to stores to peruse makeup aisles without being there and allow them to virtually interact with their favorite social media influencers.There’s a ton of potential with VR in the beauty business. Demonstrations of VR and 360-degree video in beauty are mounting. Touted as the first of its kind, makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury premiered a virtual-reality film with Kate Moss connected to the launch of its fragrance Scent of a Dream.

Facebook Discusses The Future Of Oculus Rooms And The Monetization Of Spaces
Upload VR — Joe Durbin

Facebook’s Michael Booth took the stage at F8 this year to announce a publicly available beta-version of a software called Spaces that Oculus Rift owners could download. Booth stated that he was told to “figure out social VR, make it fun and engaging and we’ll figure out how to monetize things in a friendly way later.”

A Possible AR Future: Pokémon Go 10 and $500 Glasses
VentureBeat — Giancarlo Valdes

With AR, developers can project data and other useful visualizations in the real world without obstructing a person’s view. But a few steps — both technical and ethical in nature — need to happen before everyday people can start buying their own hardware.

‘North Korea VR’ is an Extraordinary Glimpse of the World’s Most Oppressive Country
Mashable — Gianluca Mezzofiore

A Swedish startup has produced a fascinating virtual reality experience that parachutes you straight into the streetlife of urban North Koreans. From the outset, it is clear that North Korea VR is more than your simple 360-degree video. Using the SceneThere platform, users have the chance to interact with the video and stay longer in that world, to explore at their own pace.

‘Blackout’ is a VR Love Letter to NYC’s Subway Riders
Engadget — Devindra Hardawar

Developed by the NYC VR studio Scatter, Blackout is meant to shine a light on stories from everyday subway riders. The company used DepthKit, its volumetric capturing technology, to record New Yorkers in three dimensions as they told their tales. Their models were then dropped into a virtual environment, which you explore in a VR headset while walking around a physical subway car replica.

 

Each week, we bring you the most relevant stories covering the business of virtual and augmented reality, which we produce with our partner Vertebrae, the native ad platform for VR/AR.