CNET: Google Search puts AR dinosaurs in your backyard. “As 3D objects become more searchable on phones, Googling up an animal to drop into your home is becoming a thing. The latest augmented reality object to pop up: dinosaurs.”
Malta Independent: Through virtual reality, the general public can now visit underwater cultural heritage sites. “The project features 10 sites, where each site is given a detailed description and videos which show the sites in great detail. The project is in collaboration with the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), the University of Malta and Heritage Malta, with an investment of €100,000 over three years.” I can’t find a link to the actual site in the article! It’s at https://underwatermalta.org/ . Also, the headline kind of makes it sound like you need a VR headset to use the site. You don’t, it’s a great explore even without.
Mashable: Facebook reveals the future of VR headsets, and it’s more ‘CSI Miami’ than ‘Tron’. “Immersing yourself in virtual reality can feel like a sci-fi fantasy come true, but bulky, cumbersome VR headsets almost make it more trouble than it’s worth. There have been various attempts to slim down VR headsets, such as Dlodlo’s lightweight V One headset and Panasonic’s prototype goggles shown at CES 2020. Now Facebook has revealed its own glasses-like prototype headset with a display measuring 8.9 mm thick — about the same thickness as a smartphone.”
CNET: Google’s new AR update adds depth without needing lidar like Apple’s iPad. “This week’s AR news has been focused on Apple’s augmented reality updates to iOS 14, many of which lean on the depth-scanning hardware only on the recent iPad Pro. Google announced its own AR news this week, too, and you won’t need specialized hardware to use its depth-sensing tools.”
Design Week: How designers are bringing virtual museums and galleries to life. “As COVID-19 shut down institutions, art galleries and museums have made pushes to be virtual. Could it be part of a bigger shift in the cultural sector?”
CNET: Grandma can travel in virtual reality and rent a grandkid when you’re not around. “Virtual reality is one of many technologies that can be used to reduce loneliness and social isolation in senior citizens, which researchers have called an epidemic in and of itself. Nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered socially isolated, according to a 2020 study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Research shows older people who report feeling lonely are more likely to face anxiety, depression, suicide, heart disease, stroke and dementia, a risk rivaling smoking, obesity and physical inactivity.”
The Next Web: This German town replicated itself in VR to keep its tourism alive. “Tourists may soon be able to explore the picturesque cross-timbered houses and historic churches of Herrenberg via virtual reality (VR), thanks to a digital twin developed with the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS).”
ZDNet: Social distancing: Google’s new tool lets you see a two metre gap with AR. “Sodar draws a two-metre radius around you by placing markers in AR onto your real-world environment. Through your phone screen, you can visualize exactly where your two-metre bubble starts and ends, so that you can immediately see if someone dares come in a little too close.” This is experimental, and getting to use it seems a little Byzantine.
EurekAlert: New device simulates feel of walls, solid objects in virtual reality. “Today’s virtual reality systems can create immersive visual experiences, but seldom do they enable users to feel anything — particularly walls, appliances and furniture. A new device developed at Carnegie Mellon University, however, uses multiple strings attached to the hand and fingers to simulate the feel of obstacles and heavy objects.”
PR Newswire: Virtual Meetings Help Overcome Social Distance; Spatial Makes Platform Accessible For All With Free Service (PRESS RELEASE). “Spatial, the leading VR/AR collaboration platform that allows people to work over distance as if in the same room, today announced that in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s opening up unlimited access to its premium services to everyone free of charge, for the coming months. In addition to access via major headsets, Spatial can now be used by the masses via a web version on your desktop or iPhone/Android, allowing anyone to enter a Spatial AR/VR meeting by simply clicking on a meeting link – no downloads required. The company is also announcing a much-improved experience and general availability of Spatial on the leading all-in-one VR headset today, Oculus Quest, previously only available in private beta.”
Google Blog: Now that we’re at home, bring the great artists to you. “Google Arts & Culture puts the stories and knowledge of over 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries in your home. It immerses you in a world of culture through augmented reality, virtual reality, Street View and AI. New tools recently added to the Google Arts & Culture app allow you to bring the world’s culture into your home, whether you’d like to hang a virtual Van Gogh in your kitchen or experience a classical concert in Beijing’s Forbidden City on your couch.”
CNET: Google hides real Easter eggs for Easter, delivers AR Easter bunny. “Users who search for ‘Easter,’ ‘Easter 2020’ and other Easter-related topics will see a banner in the top-right corner of their search results page that illustrates some of the adorable animals associated with the holiday, including a pink bunny and a chick hatching from a decorated egg.” There’s also an AR bunny.
BetaNews: Grand National goes virtual to give fans their racing fix. “The Grand National is a highlight of the British sporting calendar. An event that prompts people who never normally bet on a horse race to venture a few pounds at the bookies or take part in a workplace sweepstake. With this year’s race canceled due to the coronavirus it looked like they might miss out, but virtual reality is coming to the rescue.”
South China Morning Post: Hangzhou park security uses AI-powered smart glasses to detect people with fever. “Roving security staff at Hongyuan Park, part of the Xixi Wetland preserve in Hangzhou in eastern China, now have the power to quickly detect the body temperature of all park visitors from a distance of up to 1 metre, thanks to ‘non-contact thermal augmented reality’ smart glasses supplied by AI start-up Rokid Corp.”
CNET: Hospital uses VR to show how the coronavirus impacts the lungs. “Earlier this month, doctors at George Washington University Hospital encountered their first patient with COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus. Now they’re using VR technology to see into the patient’s lungs, the hospital demonstrated in a video posted to YouTube last week.”