• How To Train Your Dragon VR Swoops Into iFly Skydiving Centers
    How To Train Your Dragon VR Swoops Into iFly Skydiving Centers

    Ready to fly like a dragon? A new How To Train Your Dragon VR experience is swooping into iFly centers in the US.

    iFly offers indoor skydiving using massive fans. In the VR experience instructors drag you around in mid-air while you visit the world of the movie. Inside VR they’ll have a choice of two flights, following either Hiccup or Astrid from the film. You’ll glide alongside Toothless as if you were really with him. The app is designed to promote the latest movie in the franchise, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

    You can check out a trailer for the experience above. It features exclusive content in which the cast of characters use wingsuits to try and fly like dragons. That sounds safe, right? It’s a pretty great way to capture the experience of flying in VR. Exactly what headset is being used with which tracking system isn’t known.

    Don’t expect this to be the type of experience that ends up making it to home headsets, though. It looks like the type of experience that’s heavily dependent on external hardware.

    Trips to iFly start from $86.95 and there are locations across the US. First time flyers will need to undergo two training flights before they can experience the piece. Sadly the experience doesn’t appear to be available in Europe and the UK.

    This isn’t the series’ first brush with VR. Back in 2014 DreamWorks created a New York Comic Con attraction to promote How To Train Your Dragon 2. It was running on an Oculus Rift DK2. Remember those days?

    Tagged with: DreamWorks Animation, How to Train Your Dragon VR

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  • Classic Bill Murray Comedy Groundhog Day is Getting a VR Sequel Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son will be released later this year.
  • WWII Royal Air Force Veteran Relives Gunner Mission In VR

    Geoffrey Payne, a WWII Royal Air Force veteran, steps into the past using VR. Geoffrey Payne was a fresh-faced 19-year-old kid when he found himself serving in the British armed forces as a spare rear gunner on a Royal Air Force Lancaster Bomber during WWII. On his very first mission, the gunnery leader approached Payne

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  • Apple Reportedly Plans 3-lens And Laser 3D Cameras For 2019-2020 iPhones
    Apple Reportedly Plans 3-lens And Laser 3D Cameras For 2019-2020 iPhones

    While it’s hardly surprising that Apple is planning sequels to the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, the specifics of their new features are still the stuff of rumors and speculation. A new Bloomberg report claims, however, that major iPhone camera improvements are in the works for 2019 and 2020, with an iterative bump planned for this year’s models ahead of a more significant improvement next year.

    According to the report, Apple will introduce a 2019 iPhone with a triple-lens camera, adding an ultra-wide-angle lens that will expand the device’s zoom range. Initially exclusive to the iPhone XS Max’s sequel, the new camera system will also apparently be able to draw upon data from more than one sensor at once, using one sensor’s pixels to automatically add detail to another sensor’s shot, and expand the length of Live Photos from three to six seconds.

    Additionally, Apple is said to be working on a new laser-powered 3D camera for the back of a 2020 iPhone, capable of scanning within a 15-foot range from the device to reconstruct the real world — a major jump over Apple’s current front-facing TrueDepth cameras, which have a 25-50 centimeter range. The new laser 3D camera will apparently assist with augmented reality, enabling more accurate placement of virtual objects and greater depth perception, as well as taking superior 3D photos.

    Bloomberg says that the new laser 3D camera was originally intended for its high-end 2019 phones, but was delayed into 2020, and could appear first on a spring 2020 update to the iPad Pro. The report suggests that Apple may change the cadence of its iPad Pro releases, moving them earlier in the year to enable new features to debut on its tablets first, before its phones.

    In addition to the camera updates, the report confirms that Apple will update its entry-level iPad and iPad mini as early as this spring, noting that the company will likely continue to use its proprietary Lightning port rather than USB-C. The distinction would signal that while basic iPads will only use past Lightning accessories such as the original Apple Pencil and prior charging cables, iPad Pros will benefit from newer charging and connectivity technologies.

    It remains to be seen whether Apple will move 2019’s iPhones from Lightning to USB-C. The report confirms earlier suggestions that Apple is considering the transition, but stops short of predicting that it will happen this year. Instead, this year’s models will largely preserve last year’s designs, but include faster processors and improved Face ID sensors. They are expected to ship with iOS 13, which is said to include a new dark mode, a redesigned iPad home screen, and the ability to run multiple instances of a single app.

    This post by Jeremy Horwitz originally appeared on VentureBeat. Featured image a render of the 2019 triple-lens iPhone XS Max via OnLeaks.

    Tagged with: ARKit, camera, iphone

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  • Digi-Capital: AR/VR Investment Stabilized In Q4 2018
    Digi-Capital: AR/VR Investment Stabilized In Q4 2018

    Digi-Capital tracked startups raising over $6 billion across AR/VR/computer vision in 2018, driven by large, late-stage deals in China. A decline in deal volumes (number of deals) during the first three quarters of the year stabilized in Q4, while deal value (dollars invested) returned to a two-year average after large spikes from a few mega-deals (again in China). The next six months will determine whether or not this return to stability is a long-term trend.

    Above: AR/VR Investment Volume (Number of Deals by Stage)

    There has been a gradual decline in overall AR/VR deal volumes in the last two years, with the most recent high well over 100 deals in Q4 2017. The stages which have seen the most variance are pre-seed and seed deals. Q4 2018 saw an uptick to approach 80 deals, although again pre-seed was somewhat limited. While accelerator deals (particularly HTC Vive X cohorts) skew deal volume data, even without them the overall stabilization in the fourth quarter holds true (although to a lesser extent). As expected, there are always far fewer later stage series B through series F deals. We will come back to these when we look at deal value.

    The largest number of AR/VR deals by category in 2018 were in core tech, games, photo/video, solution/services, enterprise and smartglasses. However, there was a broad range of deals across 21 other AR/VR categories last year. Again, the next six months will determine which categories VC and corporate investors focus their attention on going forward. However, the general market narrative last year guided investors towards the crossover between computer vision and AR. There were also some VR investments (such as Varjo raising $31 million and Pico Interactive $24.7 million), despite media coverage to the contrary.

    Above: AR/VR Investment Value (Dollars by Stage)

    AR/VR deal value (dollars invested) has been lumpy over the last two years, with a few, massive later-stage series B through series F deals dominating VC and corporate investment into AR/VR startups (particularly in the record quarters of Q4 2017, Q2 2018 and Q3 2018 – some of which were over $2 billion total per quarter and all of which are outliers). This is not unusual, as later stage deals are typically much larger.

    The scale of deals in the Chinese market has been particularly impressive over the last 12 months. There were individual series C deals over $600 million and one series D in the $1 billion range. Although over $1.1 billion was invested globally across all stages in Q4 2018, the bulk of that was again in later stage series C+ deals. Removing those outliers to focus on accelerator through series B, the market stabilized somewhat to over $300 million invested.

    Above: AR/VR Investment Value (Dollars by Category in 2018)

    By far the largest investment category by value (dollars invested) was core tech, particularly Chinese companies crossing over between computer vision and AR (so not AR pureplays). Even removing these crossover investments from the numbers, there was still significant investment with Chinese companies in AR advertising,

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  • The VR Job Hub: Sandbox VR, Survios, The VOID This weeks theme is all about location-based entertainment.
  • Fans Get A VR Tour Of LA Stadium Ahead Of Super Bowl LIII

    Fans get a closer look at the future home of the Los Angeles Rams. This Sunday the Los Angeles Rams take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Next year however, construction will begin on LA Stadium, a state-of-the-art venue located in Inglewood that will serve as the

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  • Groundhog Day Is Actually Getting A Sequel… In VR
    Groundhog Day Is Actually Getting A Sequel… In VR

    Well, there’s a headline I never thought I’d write. A Groundhog Day sequel is in the works… for VR.

    Yes, really.

    Tequila Works, the studio behind 2017’s excellent The Invisible Hours, today announced Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son. It’s a full VR game headed to Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PSVR later this year. In it, you play as Phil Connors Jr., the son of Bill Murray’s character in the 1993 movie. In the film, the original Connors is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he basically learns to be a good person. It’s set on February 2nd, hence today’s announcement.

    The first trailer for the game is above. It looks like Connors Jr. is going to find himself in the exact same situation as his Dad. That hopefully means plenty of deadpan humor. The game’s even set in the same town of Punxsutawney. As part of the marketing, there’s even a virtual Twitter account for Connors Jr..

    Published by Sony Pictures and produced with the help of Immersive, Like Father Like Son promises over eight hours of puzzles to solve. There’s also a branching narrative, which we’d hope means you can choose how to live out your day.

    Groundhog Day might not seem like the most obvious fit for a VR sequel. But the more we think about it, the more we’re falling in love with the idea. Plus, Tequila Works did great work with branching narratives in The Invisible Hours. Our hopes are surprisingly high for this one, then.

    Tagged with: Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son, Tequila Works

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  • No VRLA Conference Planned For 2019
    No VRLA Conference Planned For 2019

    A large-scale Los Angeles VR conference is “on hiatus” in 2019, according to a co-organizer.

    VRLA grew from a meetup in 2014 to a multi-day conference in 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Around 10,000 people attended the last event on May 4 and 5, 2018, according to co-organizer John Root.

    “VR is in a weird place right now, and we’re taking a break while it sorts itself out,” Root said.

    He said there’s still a possibility of VRLA events in the future but there are no plans right now.

    Layout of the VRLA show floor from 2018 hosted at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

    With VRLA out of the picture in 2019 that likely makes computer graphics conference SIGGRAPH at the end of July the best chance to get a peek at the future of VR and AR technology in the Los Angeles area.

    New games or platform announcements are also likely in connection with E3 in June.

    One of the booths from VRLA 2017 showcasing the interactive “Puffer Fish” 360 display. 

    A wide collection of AR and VR companies appeared at VRLA over the years, and its absence in 2019 is a notable one. There is still a full schedule of events in 2019 which are likely to preview future immersive technologies and software.

    Platform-centric developer conferences Google IO, F8 and WWDC will undoubtedly preview upgraded immersive technologies in Silicon Valley. In addition, Display Week and the Game Developers Conference will be major showcases for new VR technology and games in California. There is also a full film festival circuit where future VR and AR ideas are explored as well as other international conferences.

    Tagged with: los angeles, VR Los Angeles, vrla

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  • Try on Your Next Pair of Trainers Digitally With AR App Wanna Kicks It's the latest AR app from Wannaby.
  • It’s a Dog’s Life When Dex’s Day Out Slobbers onto Standalone Headsets HTC Vive Focus and Oculus Go are first in line.
  • The Messy Truth VR Experience Secures Social Justice Lumiere Award It stars Winston Duke, who played M’Baku in Black Panther.
  • Newly Revealed Microsoft Patent Points Towards HoloLens 2

    Microsoft is set to announce their HoloLens 2 in February. Do these patents show the future of Microsoft’s AR device? There’s currently a lot of discussion surrounding Microsoft’s HoloLens 2, which is rumored to be making its unveiling at Mobile World Congress in February. We don’t know too many of the details around the device

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  • Onward’s v1.5 Update Adds new Map, Game Mode and More It's free on Steam for the next couple of days.
  • Oculus Go Update Adds Expanded Power Options, Audio In Screen Recordings, More
    Oculus Go Update Adds Expanded Power Options, Audio In Screen Recordings, More

    The latest Oculus Go updates bring a new power section to the settings, audio when recording video, and more.

    The Power settings lets you toggle the Battery Saver mode (added late last year) as well as whether you want the headset to turn on automatically when you put it on. You can also set how long the headset should wait before going to sleep after being taken off.

    Videos recorded in the Oculus Go now contain audio. Previously YouTubers had to use the 3.5mm port on the headset to extract the audio separately and sync it up. This is a very welcome change that should make it much easier to record Go content.

    A surprising update is that an option to Report users in social / multiplayer is now pinned to the main menu. At any time you can simply click the Report button and it’ll list everyone you’ve recently played with and prompt to start recording a video clip.

    Confusingly, Oculus Go updates aren’t sent out instantly. Instead, they’re rolled out in “waves”. Even more confusingly, certain features seem to be activated server-side, so getting an update doesn’t mean you’ll get all its features.

    In the past few months Facebook has also rolled out detailed storage settings. Previously you could only see how much storage was remaining. The new Storage Manager breaks down the storage used by each app, video, and image on the device. Given Go’s relatively anemic storage and lack of SD card slot this comes in handy for deciding what to delete.

    The Oculus UI now feels faster too- especially the web browser. Facebook may be hard at work optimizing the OS in time for Oculus Quest‘s release in Spring. With its higher $399 pricepoint, expectations of system responsiveness will also be higher.

    Tagged with: Oculus Go, oculus mobile, Oculus Quest

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