THIS WEEK’S (10/31/17) TOP5 VR&AR NEWS

THIS WEEK’S (10/31/17) TOP5 VR&AR NEWS

This week we talk about some of the best scary content out there, a VR experience just won an honorary Oscar, Jaunt launched their app on Windows Mixed Reality platform, a VR headset called Pimax just overtook the Oculus Rift as the most crowdfunded VR headset ever, and the WXR Fund (Women in XR) opens submissions to their inaugural Pitch Showcase on Jan 6th - https://womenxr.com/

VRScout Report: Discover the Best in Virtual Reality PLUS Interview w/ Cas & Chary, VR YouTubers

VRScout Report: Discover the Best in Virtual Reality PLUS Interview w/ Cas & Chary, VR YouTubers

This week's show features very special guests: two of our favorite YouTubers, Cas & Chary (@CasandChary), join us in the studio for an impromptu interview. We discuss some of the highlights of OC4, new and upcoming VR tools from Adobe, and the Windows Mixed Reality VR headsets. Based in the Netherlands, Cas & Chary were traveling in the U.S. so they swung by and shared some of their favorite VR experiences with us. Check their YouTube channel at http://bit.ly/CasandChary

 

Funding the Future of VR/AR with Amitt Mahajan, cofounder of Presence Capital

Funding the Future of VR/AR with Amitt Mahajan, cofounder of Presence Capital

This week’s episode features an interview with Amitt Mahajan, co-founder of Presence Capital-- a $10M early stage fund focused on VR and AR that launched in December 2015. We chat about Amitt’s past experience building the mobile game FarmVille for Zynga, and how that story could be a lesson to VR content creators about early-mover advantages on emerging platforms. We talk about a few of the companies in Presence’s portfolio like Baobab Studios (the seemingly omnipresent content studio), STRIVR (immersive training-- for NFL quarterbacks to Walmart cashiers), and Sky Lights (making flying on airplanes less painful)-- and the reasons why Presence invested. Amitt also addresses augmented reality, the limitations of mobile AR, and the advantages and limitations of ARKit for iOS - www.presencecap.com/  

THIS WEEK’S (10/12/17) TOP5 VR&AR NEWS

THIS WEEK’S (10/12/17) TOP5 VR&AR NEWS

In this week's news update covers all the breaking news from Oculus Connect 4, Google spends $1.1B to acquire HTC’s smartphone talent and IP, Google’s ARCore bring augmented reality to Android, Microsoft Acquires VR Social App AltspaceVR, the investment & funding wrap-up, and more….

Talking VR Content with Jenna Seiden, Head of Content Acquisition & Partnerships of Viveport at HTC Vive

Talking VR Content with Jenna Seiden, Head of Content Acquisition & Partnerships of Viveport at HTC Vive

Jenna Seiden is Head of Content Acquisition & Partnerships at Viveport for HTC Vive, and we talk about Viveport as a content platform (also in relation to HTC Vive in context of Valve’s Steam store), what defines good content, and how the company sources that content. Jenna goes in depth on the Viveport Arcade program, how she thinks about branded content, and shares some great VR experience recommendations as well - https://www.viveport.com

VR/AR + Emerging Tech for Good: Interviews from Esalen, at Digital Raign's Reality Summit

VR/AR + Emerging Tech for Good: Interviews from Esalen, at Digital Raign's Reality Summit

This week's episode is a series of mini-interviews from Digital Raign's Reality Summit at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA in September 2017. United around the common thread of emerging technology, social impact and mindfulness, the episode features Dr. Tom Furness (aka "Grandfather of VR" and founder of the Virtual World Society), Cassandra Vieten (President, Institute of Noetic Sciences - IONS), Marco DeMiroz (investor, Venture Reality Fund), Melissa Sutor (Dragonfly Healing Center), Joanna Popper (Singularity University), Sari Stenfors (cyborg anthropologist, Augmented Leadership Institute) - www.digitalraign.com/ and www.esalen.org/ 

VRScout Report: The Health & VR Mixer - Discover the Best in Virtual Reality

VRScout Report: The Health & VR Mixer - Discover the Best in Virtual Reality

This week's episode is a live recording from the panel conversation at VRScout's most recent monthly mixer, which was all about Health & VR. This is a fascinating conversation showcasing a variety of perspectives on the huge range of healthcare and wellness applications utilizing immersive technology. Guest hosted by Kristi Hansen Onkka (founder at HealthiAR), the panel features Carrie Shaw (founder at Embodied Labs), Dr. Brennan Spiegel (Director of Health Services Research at Cedars-Sinai), Shauna Heller (founder of Clay Park VR and Executive Director of VR Med Tech Initiatives), Jacki Morie (founder and Chief Scientist at All These Worlds), and Dr. Wen Dombrowski (Chief Convergence Officer of CATALAIZE).

THIS WEEK’S (8/23/17) TOP5 VR&AR NEWS

THIS WEEK’S (8/23/17) TOP5 VR&AR NEWS

1. PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER FOR A PRICE BREAK ON THE VIVE

Oh baby, it might be time to finally break down and get yourself that sweet roomscale VR (right out of the box!... well, sort of. You still have to set it up). After much recent speculation of a possible price drop, the HTC Vive has joined the Oculus Rift in the discount club -- cutting $200 off the previously $799 cost. Heck, even if you wait a bit, it seems like HTC is setting themselves up for some nice sales numbers this holiday season.
 

Related Stocks:  Facebook, Inc. ($FB), HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)

 

2. CLASH OF CLANS PARTNERS WITH FACEBOOK TO BRINGS AR TO FANS

I have to admit I’ve never played the game, but regardless if you’re a fan or not -- the numbers are undeniable: Clash of Clans is one of the top grossing mobile games. Supercell, the company behind the addictive little world of the Builder, raked in $2.3B in revenue last year -- and they just partnered with Facebook to use the AR Camera Effects platform in a unique celebration of the Clash of Clans’ 5th birthday. Although the execution seems almost standard to anyone who has enjoyed Snapchat for any length of time (you can augment your face to look like the Builder character, or turn the camera around to place a 3D Builder in your real world environment), it’s significant in a couple of ways. One is the social sharing implementation-- you can share your Builder creations directly to your Facebook Timeline. Another one is numbers: Clash of Clans has 100M daily users. Will all those players try it? That is an unlikely possibility, as this activation is not featured or accessible via the Facebook Camera -- you have to go to Clash of Clan’s page to find this post linking you to Facebook’s Camera Effects page which auto-launches the AR camera. It seems likely that Facebook will take another page out of Snap’s playbook eventually, and offer brands the option to have their AR app featured within the Facebook Camera itself.
 

Related Stocks:  Facebook, Inc. ($FB)

 

3. CONTROL VR WITH YOUR THOUGHTS

Brain computer interfaces… so hot right now. Early one-way BCIs have been around since the 1920s in the form of EEGs, and studies in the 1970s showed that brains can be used as controllers -- or at least in monkeys. Although not a new concept, BCIs are getting a lot of attention recently with high-profile entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Bryan Johnson forming brain-focused companies, and even the 2015 Disney Accelerator included a hardware company making wearable brain devices. Not one to be left out, Facebook is in on the action too--  announcing this past spring that they’re building BCIs for “skin hearing” and typing with your mind. With that being said, BCIs are typically not very dependable outside of controlled lab settings when distractions, lack of expertise, and other factors come into play. With all this being said, maybe we can expect to see mind-controlled VR games come to arcades next year… if a BCI VR/AR company called Neurable gets their way. 
 

Related Stocks:  Facebook, Inc. ($FB) , The Walt Disney Company ($DIS)

 

4. NEW PREDICTIONS FOR GLOBAL VR/AR SPENDING & INVESTMENT OVER NEXT 4 YEARS

A new report from International Data Corp is now live, predicting that the immersive technology market will rise by 100%+ over each of the next four years. Predictably, the retail and manufacturing segments will be the starting leaders for adoption as well as investment -- but IDC sees education, government, and transportation as big embracers of VR/AR solutions. The report also looks to regions like Canada, Central/Eastern Europe, and Western Europe to be the fastest-growing areas, and also says the US is be the largest in terms of spending total -- at least in 2017. 

 

5. INVESTMENT & FUNDING WRAPUP

Based out of Erfurt, Germany, software company Fayteq has been acquired by Facebook for an undisclosed amount. Selling tools to video editor software companies like Adobe, their plug-ins empower video editors to track objects -- and then use that tracking data to add or remove desired objects. Facebook recently launched its Camera Effects platform for augmented reality, so this acquisition of talent/patents/IP could help their near-term uses for Fayteq’s technology. It could also be useful for adding objects to live streaming in real time, or for Instagram Stories (remember, Facebook paid $1B to buy Instagram back in 2012 -- which some people predict would have been worth somewhere in the range of $25B-$50B if it was not acquired).

Related Stocks:  Facebook, Inc. ($FB)
 

Emeryville, California-based immersive ad company Immersv announced $10.5M in funding. The company provides a platform for advertisers in 360 video content and VR, and says they are generating revenue. Rogers Venture Partners led the Series A round, with participation coming from the Venture Reality Fund, Foundation Capital, Initial Capital HTC, Gree, East Ventures, MCJ, i-mobile, Metaps, and angel Gigi Levy.

 

Based in Edmonton, Canada, virtual reality training company Serious Labs has raised $5M in Series A funding for their work in immersive training solutions for the heavy industry/construction industry -- like cranes, backhoes, and forklifts. United Rentals and Brick and Mortar Ventures provided the equity financing, and the company has secured $3.5M in new development contracts.

 

Chinese tech platform HiScene, based in Shanghai, has raised a $14M Series B investment round. The company is an SDK, cloud, and management platform for augmented reality -- enables AR companies to build for iOS, Windows, and Android. HiScene focuses on the education, healthcare, and marketing industries, and also has image recognition tech and AR hardware devices. The round was led by Chinese investment firm Shanghai Cableway Investment, with participation from Vstar Capital, Sincere Capital, and Meitu Inc.

 

Based in the US with offices in San Francisco and New York, financial technology company Lampix has raised $14.2M… via blockchain. The company is creating a blockchain-based “image mining” network for computer vision systems -- and augmented reality. Lampix was founded in 2015, and is building an ecosystem (from database to software to hardware) that they descibe as a “new blockchain that will hold data-sets of real world objects” and aims to transform any flat surface into a smart surface. Want more details? Knock yourself out, the company wrote an 85-page whitepaper on the project.

 

...and just a few more

 

Mario Kart VR in Japan looks amazing

 

Has social vr pioneer Altspace been brought back to life?

 

New omnidirectional solution Strider VR uses a treadmill, rotating ball array, and a Kinect sensor

 

UPS is using VR to train its drivers

 

Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s new virtual reality film is showcased at LACMA

 

This AR headset helps the hearing impaired… with subtitles