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The ‘F8’ of VR, This Week’s VR/AR News

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Act One: Virtual Reality

Boogie with Bowie in Lazarus. Travel ‘round the world via Google Earth VR. Hangout in Spaces. And don’t forget to livestream your adventures in 360, with six degrees of freedom.

Act Two: Augmented Reality: More than just Pokemon Go.

Ever heard of a little thing called the real world? Mark Zuckerberg is betting that the next frontier of modern computing will be augmented reality, mixing digital and real world aspects. Zuck’s endorsement of AR puts all debates to rest: VR is the hot friend, but AR is marriage material. Both are wonderful, and one is the gateway to the other. And just like any modern relationship, this will all begin via smartphones.

And Snapchat? Officially the friend that peaked in middle school. Sorry honey, your World Lenses are so yesterday.


To help make virtual dreams a reality, F8 is calling on developers to help build AR apps. And to help the devs, Oculus is releasing the React VR code to the public while HTC is opening up its Vive code. Tribeca is expanding its VR/AR showcase — the festival will have 30 VR experiences this year. And RSA Films is launching an out-of-this-world VR division.


But we want “happily ever after” now! Chill out and order the Origin, a cocktail that will take you to Scotland. Avoid rush hour by zooming around La La Land via a headset instead of the 405.
Whether you’re on team VR or AR, the markets are about to go from 0 to 100 real quick– catching fire before our very eyes.

Will VR Halt or Catch Fire?
TVREV — Cortney Harding

Looking back to the rise of the personal computer and internet connectivity serves as an interesting case study for making predictions about any kind of new tech. If one thing is for sure, it’s that nobody can ever fully know the future implications of current developments.


Mark Zuckerberg Sees Augmented Reality Ecosystem in Facebook
New York Times — Mike Isaac

At the F8 developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg introduced what he positioned as the first mainstream augmented reality platform. He imagines that AR could eventually replace real-life objects, and called for computer programmers to help by building augmented-reality-based apps to work with Facebook’s Camera Effects Platform.

HTC opens up the code for its VR Vive Tracker
VentureBeat — Stephanie Chan

As a new resource for VR developers, HTC is releasing tutorials and project files for studio-created Vive Tracker projects. HTC hopes that this will enable more developers to make their own controllers and hardware while developing for the Vive VR headset.

Oculus Releases React VR
VR and Fun — SJ Kim

Oculus has just released React VR to the public, allowing people with an understanding of JavaScript to build and deploy VR experiences using standard web tools.

Venues Today —  Kendra Andrews

The Diamondbacks are partnering with Cox Communications and R&R Partners to provide a field-level VR viewing experience to baseball fans.

Hang gliding in Malibu. Touring a Beverly Hills mansion. The Chinese will be able to experience it all before visiting
The Los Angeles Times — David Ng

Chinese digital media company, FansTang, is capturing 360 degree footage of various L.A. experiences in an attempt to make travel marketing more immersive.

Google Earth just made traveling the world in virtual reality even more virtually real
Fast Company — Melissa Locker

Google Earth VR adds Oculus Rift + Touch support, improved search functions, and 27 new locations that you can visit (virtually) from the comfort of your own home.

The Changing World Of Marketing
BW Disrupt — Apurva Chamaria

VR’s advantages as a marketing platform stem from allowing brands to: create engagement, enable customization, boost socialisation, ensure accessibility, and harness innovation.

Report: Oculus Could Show Updated Standalone VR Headset At F8
Variety — Janko Roettgers

Facebook’s yearly conference, F8, begins today and could include a preview of Oculus’s latest prototype: an updated, standalone VR headset labeled “Monterey”. Structural / hiring decisions from Facebook show further integration and overlap between FB and Oculus.

Ridley Scott wants to make VR a reality in cinema
CNET — Jennifer Bisset

RSA, Ridley Scott’s production company, launches a new AR / VR / Mixed Media arm with a 360 degree video experience promoting Alien: Covenant.

Tribeca Expands VR Exhibit To Full Festival Duration
Upload VR — Charles Singletary

Last year, Tribeca hosted a one day exhibit that featured virtual reality short films. This year, Tribeca has expanded its VR lineup to span the full 8 days of the the festival.

London’s One Aldwych Hotel Now Serves a Virtual Reality Cocktail
Conde Nast — Jenny Adams

The hotel bar hints on the menu that the drink will transport the person that orders it, before bringing out a VR headset for a flyover of the Scottish Highlands where the whisky is barrelled and aged. The drink is then prepared by the bartender to be waiting when the goggles are removed.

Microsoft HoloLens delivers first ever augmented reality Easter Egg hunt
Mashable — Adario Strange

Using a pre-mapped physical environment and HoloLens headsets, Microsoft and Flarb debuted an AR experience that had virtual elements interact with the real environment around the user.

VR Delivers 3 Consumer Engagement Opportunities
Media Post — Tara DeZao

People presumably act the same in VR as they do in real life. This information could be distilled as psychographic data for even better ad targeting.  VR also offers opportunities for product placement and complimentary accessories.

Researchers simulate walls in VR by shocking your muscles
Engadet — Steve Dent

Using electrical muscle stimulation in conjunction with VR headsets, researchers have been able to simulate the physical sensation of touching a wall or other heavy objects. The process is achieved through wearable diodes placed on the user’s hands.

Beta Version of New Drag & Drop VR Platform REFLEKT 360 Launches at VRLA
VizWorld — Dean Meyers

REFLEKT allows individuals and companies to create immersive VR experiences without the need for coding abilities. Through intuitive drag and drop controls, users can add their own personal photo / video assets to existing 360 degree video.

Upload LA Officially Opens as a Hub for Multi-Discipline VR Innovation
Upload VR — Joe Durbin

Today, Upload, Inc. is opening its newest VR/AR co-working space in Los Angeles,CA. Upload LA is situated in Marina Del Ray and is aiming to be the world’s premiere VR/AR office space and education facility,  serving as the company’s flagship location for its education initiatives. Upload, Inc. is offering courses in VR/AR development that range from an introductory course in 360 film making, all the way  up to a VR master program.

Visbit launches beta for virtual reality video livestreams
VentureBeat — Dean Takahashi

Visbit calls its product an end-to-end platform with an all-in-one service, which includes a publisher portal, VR cloud, and VR player software development kit. It also supports up to 6K stereoscopic 360-degree videos, advanced business intelligence analytics (including a heatmap and video performance comparison data by VR platforms), and a VR Player SDK that allows publishers to embed a 360 VR video player into their own apps. It also has offline playback and support across multiple VR platforms, including Samsung Gear VR and Android Cardboard.

David Bowie’s musical will be available to watch in virtual reality this month
The Verge —  Lizzie Plaugic

David Bowie’s Lazarus ended its London run this past January, but the musical is returning to the city once again this month as a virtual reality experience. Lazarus will be staged as part of a VR exhibition during the V&A Museum’s Performance Festival.

TheWaveVR Closes $4 Million Round Of Financing And Releases A New VR Experience
VR and Fun — SJ Kim

TheWaveVR has been making a splash in the VR industry by changing the way we experience a live music show. The company has provided a welcoming platform where musicians and fans can come together to share an intimate moment in the VR space. Today, TheWaveVR has announced they’ll be releasing a beta version of their new social platform for shared music experiences in VR with the addition of raising $4 million in capital.


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.