Recapping the top stories covered on the VRScout Report, a weekly live video show and podcast discussing the best in VR, hosted by Malia Probst. You can enjoy the full audio recording below:
Episode 28 of the VRScout Report, we got new 360 toys on iOS, Hololens is helping elevator technicians, VR might help you control your dreams, Apple CEO Tim Cook on augmented reality, VR/AR industry funding wrapup, and more…
iOS NOW CAN TAKE 360 PHOTOS WITH GOOGLE CARDBOARD CAMERA, TOO
Android users have been able to take impromptu 360 photos with their phone since late last year with the Google Cardboard Camera app, and if you’re a jealous iOS user like me then you’ll love this: now Apple lovers can take a quick panorama photo with the Cardboard Camera app, too. Also recording the sound, it’s a fun way to take fast and easy 360 degree snaps of the moment. Although certainly not high-quality, the photos can be viewed in any Google Cardboard-style headset and you can easily share your shots via link on social media platforms. As a sidenote, your content will show up on Twitter (which does not yet natively support 360 content) and Facebook (which does) as a link, which directs you to the content hosted on the Cardboard Camera app. Makes you wonder: how soon will platforms like Twitter (and Instagram!) support 360 degree photos?
HOLOLENS HELPS SPEED UP ELEVATOR REPAIRS
When a device helps get tasks done 6x faster than without the device, it’s a HUGE deal for a company’s bottom line. Based in Germany, ThyssenKrupp is a European national conglomerate that just announced a partnership with the Microsoft Hololens. One of the world’s largest producers of steel, they also manufacture systems and parts for the automotive industry as well as escalators and elevators. 24,000 of ThyssenKrupp’s elevator technicians are equipped with the Hololens augmented reality device, increasing efficiency with a digital overlay on their real word. Techs can connect with elevator experts all over the world with holograms and Skype, and this nascent program has already had a huge impact on ThyssenKrup’s service calls – sometimes decreasing repair time from 2 hours without the Hololens to 20 minutes with the aid of the Hololens and remote, live expert guidance. That is a lot of time– which means a lot of money saved.
A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM…
Game Transfer Phenomenon, aka the Tetris Effect (incidentally a great name for a band), is a documented reaction that occurs when elements from video games are woven into real life events, and even dreams. As the virtual reality medium is physically more immersive than traditional video games, the potential for this real world overlap is significantly higher. A psychologist well-versed in GTP has turned her research to virtual reality and its effects on consciousness – starting with dreams. As it turns out, heavy Oculus Rift usage is linked to increased dream lucidity; the more time people spent in virtual environments, the higher their ability to dream lucidly. This research is one of the first to examine how VR could alter our consciousness… welcome to Inception?
WILL APPLE RELEASE A VR OR AR DEVICE FIRST?
It’s a (not very well-kept) secret that Apple has been working on mixed reality technology, and recent comments from CEO Tim Cook might indicate that we can look forward to an augmented iOS device. During an appearance on Good Morning America (not exactly known for their breaking tech news), Cook commented that augmented reality probably has a higher eventual commercial interest, and when comparing AR to VR, “augmented reality is the larger of the two, probably by far.” Apple also recently stole some hot talent from Oculus as well as Magic Leap, so it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see a beautifully designed mixed reality product that will take iOS fanboys by storm. AppleEyes, anyone?
MONEY, MOVES, AND FUNDING
INSTAVR: $2M – After working with 3 major clients (Smithsonian American Art Museum, transcosmos Inc., and AECOM), InstaVR announced a $2M Series A funding round, led by the Virtual Reality Fund. Specializing in authoring, publishing, and analysis, InstaVR enables anyone to easily create web-based 360-degree VR apps for desktop and mobile.
ISTAGING: $5M – iStaging caters to service providers in the home market, most notably furniture makers and real estate agents, also making AR/VR products such as a comprehensive set of tools – from platform-centric apps on mobile devices to VR glasses for visualization. The company announced its $5M pre-Series A funding, which was led by WI Harper.
RAZER: ZVENTURES VC FUND – Starting as a hardware company and evolving into a software company as well, Razer is now also growing into an investing company. Announcing zVentures, a $30M venture capital fund, Razer will be strategically funding companies in the ioT, big data analytics, AR/VR, robotics, and Android gaming areas.