HCIL: Development of Early VR. “In 2018, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) decided to make its video archives available online…. Between class project obligations, trying to wrangle hundreds of copyright permissions, and digitizing all of the VHS tapes, we’re happy to announce that these pieces of history will soon be accessible to view through the ACM Digital Library. This is a massive treasure trove of 300+ demos which were originally presented at the annual ACM CHI conferences from 1983–2002, and they will soon be viewable online alongside their original papers.”
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.”
EurekAlert: New open-source software aims to reduce cybersickness in VR use. “Cybersickness, or motion sickness during the use of virtual reality, can be a major roadblock to the development and adoption of augmented and virtual reality technology. Now researchers at UTSA have built GingerVR, the first open-source Unity software tool kit that allows developers to use proven techniques and innovative solutions against cybersickness in future extended reality environments.”
TechHive: Going to the movies in Fortnite: I did it for science. “Movie theaters aren’t anywhere near opening here in New York City (a wise thing, if you ask me), and the nearest traditional drive-in theater to Brooklyn is a 60-mile drive—not that I own a car, mind you. But I just did the next best thing to going to the movies: I watched Inception in Fortnite.”
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).”
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.”
CNN: Doctors and nurses are using VR to learn skills to treat coronavirus patients. “As hospitals worldwide face severe shortages of health professionals, people are being called off the sidelines to help COVID-19 patients — even those with little to no experience in treating infectious diseases. To train thousands of doctors and nurses with expertise in other areas such as knee surgery or neurology — and retired practitioners reentering the medical field — some hospitals are implementing an unlikely method: virtual reality simulations.”
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.”
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.”
Mashable: Extremely cool teacher runs math lesson from home within ‘Half Life: Alyx’. “Extremely cool teacher Charles Coomber —who works for California’s Springs Charter schools, at the Otay Ranch Academy for the Arts — taught a lesson in angle vocabulary from his apartment set within the long-awaited new virtual reality first-person shooter from developer Valve. Half Life: Alyx dropped on Monday, years after the iconic original game was released in 1998, and its sequel in 2006.”
Hypergrid Business: Best Places To Learn AR and VR Development Online in 2020. “There are quite a handful of platforms that allow you to develop virtual reality and augmented reality apps and content, but it is not easy to find an offline virtual reality school or academy with which to train for those interested in developing AR and VR apps. Udemy may be the popular place to learn VR and AR, but there are other free or cheaper subscription options.” I liked this one a lot. Extensive, lots of annotation.