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Liberty Island is a federally owned island in Upper New York Bay in the United States, best known as the location of the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World).) The island is an exclave of the New York City borough of Manhattan, surrounded by the waters of Jersey City, New Jersey. Long known as Bedloe's Island, it was renamed by an act of the United States Congress in 1956.
Liberty Island became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1937 through Presidential Proclamation 2250, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1966, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island. (More)

EXTRA 5K 360 VR Video RockeFeller Center Manhattan New York Downtow Manhattan 2018 USA NYC 4k (More)

Don't forget that this is 360 video: you can change the angle of view. The Solovetsky Islands are the biggest archipelago in the White Sea. Hope you enjoy our new 360 video from the North of Russia. (More)

Owlchemy Labs to Release Anticipated VR Title ‘Vacation Simulator’ on April 9

Owlchemy Labs, the award-winning virtual reality (VR) studio behind Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, today announced the highly anticipated release of their next multi-platform VR title, Vacation Simulator.

The studio’s follow-up to smash hit Job Simulator will be available April 9th on SteamVR and Oculus for $29.99. The game will release on PlayStation VR in Summer 2019. Announced alongside the game’s release date are the vacation destinations featured in the game: Vacation Island’s Beach, Forest, Mountain, and Resort.

In the year 2060— after record enrollment in the wildly successful Job Simulator— robots decided to uncover what else humans did besides ‘job’. After years of balancing buoyancy levels, cataloguing campfire chronicles, and securing ski slope safety protocols, their research led to the creation of a rough approximation of ‘not jobbing’: the Vacation Simulator.

Built from the ground-up for VR, Vacation Simulator presents a humorous, fully-interactive experience to rediscover the true meaning of ‘time off’! Explore the vibrant world of Vacation Island and make real memories of a simulated vacation with feature-rich destinations, a colorful cast of Bots, and endless interactions. Reallocate your bandwidth and get ready to splash, s’more, snowball, and selfie your way to optimal relaxation!

“Vacation Simulator is bigger than anything we’ve done before, and we’re excited to see how everyone experiences ‘vacation’ in their own way,” says Devin Reimer, Chief Executive Owl at Owlchemy Labs. “The sheer interactivity and connected world we’ve built with Vacation Simulator makes for truly mind-boggling possibilities. It’s VR— there is no wrong way to play.”

The destinations of Vacation Island let players experience RECREATION beyond the theoretical limit. Beach, Forest, Mountain, and Resort destinations offer players typical vacation activities with a not-so-typical twist thanks to robot misinterpretations of human pasttimes. Fans of the tongue-in-cheek humor from the ‘Bots’ of Job Simulator will rejoice in expanded interactivity with the large cast of characters that inhabit the world.

“To interact with Bots in Vacation Simulator, all you need to do is wave,” explains Andrew Eiche, Chief Technology Owl and Cable Slinger at Owlchemy Labs. “You don’t need a button, you immediately go to wave and it just feels natural. It’s a simple, powerful interaction that allows players to interact with characters and connect with the VR world in a very personal way.”

In addition to innovations in character and world interactivity with Vacation Simulator, Owlchemy placed a focus on representation with the introduction of a robust avatar customization system. In a recent blog post, the studio shared the various customization options for avatars— skin tone, visor color, hair style, hair color, facial hair, and glasses— as well as the intensive research and development hours put in to make an inclusive avatar system in VR.

“We believe everyone should be able to enjoy VR and feel like themselves,” Reimer says. “At Owlchemy we strive to make VR for everyone, and I believe we’re taking huge steps towards achieving that with Vacation Simulator.”

About Owlchemy Labs
Owlchemy Labs is a creative studio with a passion for polished and unique VR experiences and games. Founded in 2010 and based out of Austin, TX, we believe that interaction and using your hands is what truly makes virtual reality the most incredible place to build unique content that blows players minds. We love building experiences oozing with style and full to the brim with our unique brand of humor. Our titles include the award-winning VR triple launch title “Job Simulator”, the Emmy-nominated “Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality”, and our upcoming original VR title “Vacation Simulator”.

The post Owlchemy Labs to Releasing Anticipated VR Title ‘Vacation Simulator’ appeared first on Virtual Reality Reporter by VR Reporter

The 91st Academy Awards take place this Sunday, a time to celebrate the very best achievements in filmmaking. To help get you in the red carpet spirit, we suggest checking out some of the best in cinematic VR available on Viveport and Viveport Subscription that push the boundaries of storytelling. From surreal dreamscapes that delve into the human mind to colorful and cartoony adventures into the cosmos, there are tons of immersive filmic experiences to be had on Viveport!

In this recently released cinematic adventure, you join protagonist Astra on an experimental journey into the psyche of her ailing mother. Memories and imagination swirl within her mindscape, as Astra explores in search of answers and closure. The developers of this imaginative and moving story sought to “create an experience that celebrates life, even in the face of sadness and loss”. We think they succeeded with flying colors (be sure to bring some tissues though).

Experience Lucid today as a Viveport and Viveport Subscription exclusive. Not a member? Start your free trial today.

The critically-acclaimed interactive narrative series The Gallery has been a must-play since the first episode debuted on Viveport. Using all the immersive tools at their disposal, Cloudhead Games are crafting an engaging, nostalgia soaked episodic story with a rich universe to explore as players search for their missing sibling in a fantastical unknown realm. Find out more about why this is a don’t miss experience directly from the developers.

The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed and Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone are both available now on Viveport and as part of Viveport Subscription

Letting go of a loved one is one of the most challenging things a person will do. The development team at NSC Creative sought to create a raw, emotional VR experience that captured the torrent of feelings that goes along with the grieving process. With surreal visuals, powerful audio, and breathtaking moments, Vestige distills complex experiences and emotions in a way that highlights the human experience in this autobiographical documentary-like narrative.

Vive and Oculus Rift users can experience this emotional journey on Viveport and Viveport Subscription today

Life on the seas can be a lonely and surreal one. Doubly so when you’re a sentient fisherman puppet!  Stuck inside the tiny cabin of a lighthouse, you’ll need to navigate a humorous, twisty turny world of challenges in order to seek safety as a storm approaches. Featuring mind-bending puzzles and a compelling and metaphorical narrative, A Fisherman’s Tale feels like an independent animated short sprung to life in VR.

Check out A Fisherman’s Tale on Viveport and discover for yourself what exists at the top of the lighthouse…

What are we made of? Where did it all come from? These are the huge questions that We Are Stars attempts to tackle with tons of charm and a colorful aesthetic in this Pixar-esque virtual science documentary that will expand your mind and make you smile. Featuring narration by Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), you’ll be whisked away on a 13.8 billion year adventure to unwrap some of the biggest mysteries of the universe.

Discover that We Are Stars today on Viveport and Viveport Subscription today!

MANIFEST 99 is an ominous and eerie story about finding redemption in the afterlife. Set on a mysterious train inhabited by a murder of crows, you assist four travel companions on a journey to their final destination. Controlled with just your headset, you gaze into the eyes of crows to move to their perch, viewing the world from their scale and perspective. Look into the eyes of your travel companions and uncover the reason why they – and you – are on this train traveling into the great beyond.

Experience this stylish and moody mystery today on Viveport and Viveport Subscription

Based on the Philip K. Dick’s short story of the same name, The Great C is a cinematic VR narrative featuring a thrilling storyline, stunning environments and a powerful soundtrack. The viewer is transported to a post-apocalyptic landscape in which the remnants of humanity are ruled by an all-powerful supercomputer known as the Great C. Each year, the nearby village is forced to send a young person on a pilgrimage to appease the mysterious machine – a journey from which no one ever returns. Leaving the safe confines of your village, you must decide whether to accept the rules of this harsh society or fight against the oppressive reality of the world.

Take part in this award-winning experience from the creators of Transpose and Blasters of the Universe on Viveport and Viveport Subscription today!


What are some of your favorite cinematic VR experiences? Swing by our community forums and share with us your favorite movie-like moments with Viveport.

The post Experience Oscar worthy stories with these cinematic Viveport titles appeared first on VIVE Blog.

Nintendo Labo VR Kit – Announced and First Look on Nintendo Switch

Experience a new dimension ofNintendo Labowith the launch of theNintendo Labo: VR Kiton April 12, which combines the innovative physical and digital gameplay of Nintendo Labo with basic VR technology* to create a simple and shareable virtual reality experience for kids and families.

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit is the fourth kit in the Nintendo Labo series, providing the tools tomakeDIY cardboard creations called Toy-Con;playa variety of games with these creations; anddiscoverhowNintendo Switchtechnology brings it all to life.

“This new kit builds on the core tenets of Nintendo Labo – Make, Play and Discover – to introduce virtual reality in a way that’s fun and approachable for both kids and kids at heart”

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit offers six new Toy-Con creations to build, including the Toy-Con VR Goggles, which combine with the other creations to allow players to interact with the virtual world through imaginative real-world actions. Fend off an alien invasion with the Toy-Con Blaster, visit a colorful in-game ocean and snap photos of the sea life with the Toy-Con Camera and so much more.

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit encourages passing around the Toy-Con creations among a group of people so everyone in the room can easily join in on the fun. To help encourage this social gameplay, players simply slip the Nintendo Switch console into the Toy-Con VR Goggles and hold it up to their eyes to explore numerous games and experiences – no head strap needed.

“This new kit builds on the core tenets of Nintendo Labo – Make, Play and Discover – to introduce virtual reality in a way that’s fun and approachable for both kids and kids at heart,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We wanted to design an experience that encourages both virtual and real-world interactions among players through passing around Toy-Con creations.”

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will launch in retail stores with two primary configurations, one that includes all Toy-Con creations and one that includes a smaller selection of projects to get started:

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit:Available at a suggested retail price of $79.99, the complete Nintendo Labo: VR Kit includes the Nintendo Switch software and materials to build all six Toy-Con projects – the Toy-Con VR Goggles, Toy-Con Blaster, Toy-Con Camera, Toy-Con Bird, Toy-Con Wind Pedal and Toy-Con Elephant – as well as a Screen Holder and Safety Cap. It’s a good option for kids and families who want to dive in to the full experience.

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit – Starter Set + Blaster:Available at a suggested retail price of only $39.99, the Starter Set includes the Nintendo Switch software, plus all the components to build the Toy-Con VR Goggles and Toy-Con Blaster, as well as the Screen Holder and Safety Cap. The Starter Set is a great entry point into the world of Nintendo Labo VR.

Players that own the Starter Set can purchase the following optional expansion sets to expand their experience:

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit – Expansion Set 1**:Available at a suggested retail price of $19.99, Expansion Set 1 includes the Toy-Con Elephant and Toy-Con Camera.

Nintendo Labo: VR Kit – Expansion Set 2**:Available at a suggested retail price of $19.99, Expansion Set 2 includes the Toy-Con Wind Pedal and Toy-Con Bird.

The inventive Toy-Con Garage mode – included as part of all Nintendo Labo software – returns with Nintendo Labo: VR Kit, offering basic programming tools for players to experiment with. More information about the experiences offered by Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will be revealed in the future.

The Nintendo Labo: VR Kit – Starter Set + Blaster and complete Nintendo Labo: VR Kit will be available in stores on April 12. The two expansion sets will be available exclusively online athttps://store.nintendo.com/. For more information about Nintendo Labo: VR Kit, visithttps://labo.nintendo.com/kits/vr-kit.

Remember that Nintendo Switch featuresparental controlsthat let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about other features, visithttps://www.nintendo.com/switch/.

*Users can easily turn off the VR feature and use the included Screen Holder instead of the VR Goggles to enjoy any of the included games and experiences in 2D.

**The two expansion sets do not include the Toy-Con VR Goggles or Nintendo Labo: VR Kit software.

About Nintendo: The worldwide pioneer in the creation of interactive entertainment, Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, manufactures and markets hardware and software for its Nintendo Switchsystem and the Nintendo 3DSfamily of portable systems. Since 1983, when it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo has sold more than 4.7 billion video games and more than 740 million hardware units globally, including Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, as well as the Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DSfamily of systems, Super NES, Nintendo 64, Nintendo GameCube, Wiiand Wii Usystems. It has also created industry icons that have become well-known, household names, such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Metroid, Zelda and Pokémon. A wholly owned subsidiary, Nintendo of America Inc., based in Redmond, Wash., serves as headquarters for Nintendo’s operations in the Americas. For more information about Nintendo, please visit the company’s website athttps://www.nintendo.com/.

Note to editors: Nintendo press materials are available athttps://press.nintendo.com, a password-protected site. To obtain a login, please register on the site.

Contacts

GOLIN
Justin Aclin
212-373-6004
jaclin@golin.com

Rich George
213-335-5554
rgeorge@golin.com

The post Nintendo Labo VR Kit Presents Shareable, Simple Gaming Experiences appeared first on Virtual Reality Reporter by VR Reporter

Japanese toymaker Bandai has developed a digital spin on mom or dad kissing your boo-boo to make it all better: augmented reality band-aids.

Targeted at kids aged 3–6, these digital band-aids are designed to soothe a child with some consoling words from their favorite animated characters.

Right now, this augmented reality technology is limited to the Japanese kids’ market and characters, but if it catches on, don’t be surprised if American characters like Mickey Mouse, Sponge Bob or My Pretty Pony don’t end up on your kid's knee telling them that everything is going to be okay.

Still, it’s interesting to see the many ways that smartphones and AR technologies are beginning to integrate themselves into our daily, and most basic, tasks.

And while it would be pretty cool to see Luke Skywalker pop up on your hand, nothing is as satisfying to a child as a kiss on the forehead and squeeze from their parent.

Related


How Augmented Reality Soothes Kids Scrapes and Cuts was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Sketchnote for VR AR applications and Barriers

Microsoft Hololens 2 was launched on 24-Feb and while the launch was staged, I did a quick brainstorming on what VR and AR have to offer for improving Government services. Also listed down barriers for implementation. The entire brainstorming is presented as a SketchNote for quick visual reference.

Government service agencies have got unique challenges

  • They have number and variety of services to offer with limited resources — human and funds
  • Employee performances are low due to a variety of reasons
  • They have to improve services keeping public satisfaction and political appropriateness
  • They generate a lot of data but do not know how to use them

Trending AR VR Articles:

1. Infographic: The Future of Virtual Reality
2. Mario Kart in a real vehicle with VR!
3. Oculus Go, the Nintendo Switch of VR
4. How XR Can Unleash Cognition

Virtual and Augmented reality offers a unique medium of information distribution and at a comparatively lower cost.

VR and AR offers enhanced productivity in the following ways

Making the right information available at the right time. Imagine a civil worker operating on water pipeline at site unaware of the layout. He can put on AR headset and can pull out a 3d drawing of the pipeline contextually laid out on the physical location where the worker is standing. This is a huge leap in reducing cognitive load for the user who otherwise has to consume information and mentally map the layout in real physical space.

Microsoft Hololens Telepresence

Connect real people on real scale via telepresence. When we see people in front of use in real life scale the dexterity of communication is elevated. This makes the user comfortable for real-life interactions.

Credits: Information for this brainstorm and SketchNote were taken from the original article by Deloitte Insights.

Kumar Ahir is an independent consultant working in the field of Immersive Technologies and Design. He is an evangelist for new Immersive Technologies and Design by actively doing workshops on Design Thinking, Design for AR and VR, Prototyping for Mixed Reality technologies.

He aims to create a better Design Ecosystem for Immersive Technologies.

Know more about him at LinkedIn and Twitter

Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !


Adoption of AR and VR in Government services and Challenges was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

HTC has had a little bit of a rough ride these past few years. After betting the farm on VR, the company has had to make some substantial business strategy shifts to keep the division kicking in the face of a less-than-robust headset market and a behemoth margin-less competitor that’s alright losing a few billion dollars.

HTC’s latest play, a revamped Vive Focus headset that features tracked motion controllers, could be seen simply as playing catch-up with Oculus and their upcoming Oculus Quest standalone headset, but it’s likely only aiming to keep pace with innovation to dissuade enterprise customers from switching teams.

The Vive Focus Plus maintains a lot of the system specs of the previous generation, but taps some souped-up “visuals” and an interesting new controller tracking system that relies on ultrasonic feedback rather than camera-based optical tracking to locate the controllers in 3D space. The tracking system is a bit peculiar-sounding, but Qualcomm built out support for the tech in its VR reference design headset and the Focus Plus is again powered by the Snapdragon 835 chipset, according to a spec list obtained by Road to VR.

Since launching the HTC Vive in 2016, HTC has gradually shifted its business to enterprise customers looking to outfit their organizations with headsets for training and design visualization purposes. The company has, at times, tried to play both sides, especially with its desktop VR hardware with pricing focused on enterprise customers but marketing aimed at consumers as well. That’s easier, given the Vive Pro’s compatibility with Valve’s SteamVR platform and the associated content, but HTC can’t just wander into a consumer mobile platform in the U.S. without a more concerted push.

No details on a release date or the enterprise pricing. The regular Vive Focus starts at $599.

Gaming company Valve confirmed today that it has laid off several full-time employees and contractors, possibly from its virtual reality hardware team. “Last month, 13 full time employees were let go and a portion of our contractor agreements were terminated. It’s an unfortunate part of business, but does not represent any major changes at the company. We thank those affected for their contribution and wish them well in future endeavors,” spokesperson Doug Lombardi told The Verge.

Valve didn’t confirm where the former employees worked, but yesterday, Reddit user 2flock posted a message, which is apparently from an anonymous Valve employee. “They fired like half the Valve hardware team recently ... Wonder how long it’ll be until the remainder get the Jerry treatment,” it reads — possibly a misspelled reference to Jeri Ellsworth, the veteran Valve hardware designer who was fired in 2013 after Valve decided it wanted to focus on VR instead of the AR headset she’d been championing. Valve’s only known hardware projects are VR devices and the aging Steam Controller; it discontinued the Steam Link box last year.

2flock was the source of another Valve VR-related leak last year, posting photos of an apparent Valve prototype headset. So while we can’t confirm whether this is a real message, it’s relatively credible. This morning, former Valve VR team member Nat Brown tweeted that he was no longer working for the company. Variety reported that layoffs hit members of the VR team, although it didn’t offer details.

Alongside its work on the Steam storefront and games like Dota 2, Valve has been a driving force in virtual reality. The company created the widely used SteamVR software platform, and it co-developed the groundbreaking HTC Vive headset, which launched in 2016. Last year, Valve started shipping a second-generation “Knuckles” Vive controller to developers, and as recently as November, there were rumors that it was designing a new headset alongside a VR prequel to Half-Life.

Valve has stepped back from the Vive, however, handing development mostly over to HTC. While it was originally supposed to partner with other manufacturers on SteamVR products, an LG-made headset never materialized. Several VR and AR companies have either laid off employees or shut down amid a market that’s growing slower than many people expected.

Variety reports that today’s layoffs don’t mean that Valve is exiting VR, but it’s not clear whether that’s explicitly confirmed or simply implied from the promise that there weren’t “any major changes at the company.” It’s also possible that Valve could continue to work on SteamVR software but bow out of the hardware market. On the bright side, the Knuckles drivers were updated last month, and Valve is advertising a job listing for a “VR and hardware” software engineer. Also, Oculus and HTC have both announced new headsets for 2019. So if Valve is still working on VR hardware, we might also hear about it this year.

Vive Studios and Vertigo Games today announce Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl, a highly competitive, cross-platform multiplayer VR card-battler from the creators of Arizona Sunshine. For the first time, PC VR and standalone VR players will join together as the game launches with full cross-platform support for major VR platforms on April 2, 2019.

From the creators of Arizona Sunshine, set in the Skyworld universe, Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl is an action-packed, real-time multiplayer card-battler that will turn best friends into foes, built exclusively for VR. Unlock, collect and upgrade dozens of cards to build a powerful deck, and watch your cards come to life as you cast spells and summon forces to wipe your enemy off the map. Join a clan, take on opponents from around the globe in regular online tournaments, and claim your place on the global leaderboards. This is no friendly battle… this is war!

“Vertigo Games and Vive Studios have delivered on the VR industry’s desire for a gripping multiplayer game where players can battle friends regardless of their different VR hardware,” said Joel Breton, Vice President, Vive Studios. “We are very excited to be partnering with Vertigo Games to bring Skyworld Kingdom Brawl to the entire VR community.”

“We set out to deliver a consistent, uncompromising cross-platform experience across PC VR and standalone VR hardware with Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl and it’s exciting to see how far we’ve been able to push the devices; from drawing massive numbers of units on screen to delivering awesome combat effects,” said Trevor Blom, Lead Tech at Vertigo Studios.

For those brave enough to set foot in its merciless VR battlegrounds, Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl is headed to GDC San Francisco next month where its highly competitive gameplay will debut in a cross-platform multiplayer hands-on demo on Vive Pro and the Vive Focus with dual 6 degrees of freedom (6dof) controllers in the VR Play Area.

To celebrate today’s reveal of Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl, Vertigo Games launches the original Skyworld VR wargame into Viveport Subscription today.

Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl will launch for HTC Vive (Pro), HTC Vive Focus, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headsets on April 2, 2019, followed by a Vive Focus Plus launch later this year.

The post Vive Studios and Vertigo Games Announce “Skyworld: Kingdom Brawl”, A Competitive Card-Battler Built for VR appeared first on VIVE Blog.

JET FIGHTER 18||Amazing 360 look out||Flight pilot simulator
Hope you enjoy!! (More)

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Please watch: "360° Space Station Base Jump In Virtual Reality | 360 Journey"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma0H2HpTR9g
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One of the key highlights of this week’s Mobile World Congress 2019 has been HTC’s unveiling of a new 5G smart hub, the tech firm’s first dedicated smart hub capable of sharing a 5G connection with up 20 devices at the same time via a hotspot.

HTC 5G Smart Hub Device

The “5G Hub“, as the hotspot has been dubbed, has been integrated with a media streaming device along with a digital instant and will hit the market by the second quarter of this year. The hub promises to stream virtual reality content directly to Vive Focus without the requirement for a PC connection. Avid customers won’t have to wait long for the launch of the consumer version of the device for them to begin enjoying the powerful new connectivity and robust cloud infrastructure that it promises.  The 5G connectivity will usher in a new era of super fast speeds, power and versatile mobile connectivity. Most of us currently use 4G mobile connections. It’s expected that the ushering in of the powerful 5G mobile connectivity will have a trickle-down effect on the streaming of AR and VR content, thereby propelling this industry forward to a new era of powerful immersive experiences.

The HTC 5G Smart Hub is simply a 5-inch HD touchscreen that resembles a smaller-sized tablet. It is small enough to comfortably fit on a work desk or shelf at your home and has the capacity to supply internet connection for 20 Vive Focus devices. The hub is not just ideal for fast internet speeds but it’s also critical for a seamless cloud-based virtual reality experience. It’s a much superior upgrade over the current 4G connections.

HTC is already partnering with a host of carriers from around the globe including Finland’s Elisa, Sunrise from Switzerland, Deutsche Telekom, Telstra, UK’s EE and Sprint. In the coming months, it’s expected that more global carriers are likely going to get on board HTC’s 5G Hub.

Users of HTC’s 5G Mobile Smart Hub will gain access to unparalleled power and speed in connectivity. For streaming purposes, users will say goodbye to some of the performance bottlenecks of the 4G networks such as constant issues with the internet and fuzzy graphics. With the robust speed of the 5G networks, users can look forward to fast and seamless streaming of high quality 4K videos as well as low lag gaming applications at 60fps. The new technology will be ideal for high power users such as gaming vloggers and streamers who are looking for very high speeds for seamless streaming.

But 5G technology will go even farther in unlocking new tech frontiers. It’s particularly going to have a significant impact in the quality of the AR and VR experiences, enabling users to seamlessly stream high quality heavy content. HTC’s new 5G delivers superb bandwidth to a variety of devices and will bring to reality the dream of Vive Reality where users can have a robust immersive environment for a variety of virtual experiences which can be streamed to multiple devices.

The rollout of 5G will have a noticeable impact on the VR front, allowing users to use their Vive Focus headsets without tethering with cables since these headsets are already wireless. It makes for great convenience, enabling a wireless experience while still maintaining very good quality mobile experience.

HTC says its hub will facilitate an ease of use by effectively replacing the Wi-Fi router along with cables thanks to a convenient plug-to-play setup.

The HTC 5G Smart Hub is more than just a hotspot device. It will also serve as a home media centre. The device will feature a 5-inch HD touch display along with remote control and voice command features. The hub is powered by the most up to date Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC Mobile Platform. It also has a Snapdragon 5G Modem and antenna modules that have been integrated with RF transceivers. The battery rating is a 7660mAh. In terms of software, it runs an Android 9.0 Pie so you can use with streaming services like Netflix.

If you are running a business, the hub will come with a Snapdragon 855 Platform as well as a Qualcomm 60 Hz Wi-Fi chipset that’s based on an 802.11ad specification. This is capable of supporting multi-gigabit speeds and a wire-equivalent latency. The business package will also include a Qualcomm 2×2 Wi-Fi 6-ready chipset that can support next generation capacity, at-range performance and efficiency. It will be ideal for workspaces and small businesses with at most 20 people at a particular time. Bigger capacity workspaces can use the Gigabit Ethernet port in the HTC 5G Smart Hub.

Congratulations on your 1st Tandem Skydive at Skydive Fyrosity® Las Vegas! Let this be the beginning of a new journey in your life! (More)

It turns out Blippar, Inc. has been operating all this time. Probably people in London knew but those living in the California-focused XR bubble thought Blippar was actually out of business. It must have been a bit like Huck Finn’s funeral for CEO Ambarish Mitra, reading the obituaries, and Twitter laments (which now make those who opined look a little foolish). The assets of the old Blippar, Inc. were purchased by Candy Ventures of London, which was an investor. The new company will be called Blippar. It appears they bought everything down to the staples. The company suggested it’s slimmed down a bit but claims it retained key engineering talent.

Blippar computer vision detects the orange and infers it is in a garden. Blippar

Khazanah Nasional Berhad, described in the release as “the embattled Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund” put the kabosh on “pre-agreed” financing in December. Doesn’t look like they’ve got a piece of the new Blippar. In a statement, an anonymous “Blippar Spokesperson” said the new company “will focus primarily on developing a SaaS Augmented Reality creation and publishing platform (Blippbuilder) which makes it easy for everybody to create AR whether they have technical skills or not.” Sounds like 8th Wall for dummies. No mention of their computer vision technology other than a statement that all IP had been bundled in the deal, including Layar’s assets.

https://medium.com/media/8988ef09c52f218c99cd6e8d99ac95be/href

A spokesperson for Candy Ventures provided the expected quote of confidence. Mitra said “It was devastating when Blippar was forced to restructure at the end of last year, but today’s news is a hugely positive outcome… we see a huge opportunity to create the best platform to allow our customers to seamlessly build and publish successful AR experiences in the same way that WordPress allowed anyone to easily create and publish a website.” AR Cloud companies love to use that “WordPress of AR” phrase.

Welcome back, Blippar. Let the pivot begin!

Originally published at www.forbes.com on January 23, 2019.


Blippar’s Back With New Plan was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Samsung subsidiary Harman has submitted a patent for mapping out sounds from virtual reality games and experiences onto robotic speakers for a more realistic audio output from virtual environments.

The virtual reality experience often involves moving from one location to the next and the new innovation is geared at having robotic speakers that will move to where the sounds are emanating from within the virtual world so to bring out a more realistic experience. Harman’s patent aims at bringing the virtual reality sounds into the user’s spatial surroundings via robotic speakers.

Harman submits patent for mobile speaker platform for virtual environments

This innovation was necessitated by the fact the audio sounds that come out of the static audio devices in VR setups may not be an accurate representation of the virtual environment or the virtual objects that are inside that virtual environment, according to information in the patent application. The patent gives the example of the sound output from stationary speakers that may not provide an accurate representation of the direction, distance as well as motion between the user wearing the headsets and a virtual object that is within the virtual environment. In the virtual environment, the sounds are pretty much static and do not align with the dynamic actions within the virtual environment. A robotic speaker that accurately captures this detail will be crucial to making the virtual experience a lot more realistic for the user.

As the terrain develops further, virtual reality experience continues to pose certain challenges that must be solved by hardware innovation. These challenges are key to the experiential aspect. Sound is a big part of the VR experience and unlike traditional digital entertainment where the user is sitting still or static, in the virtual reality environment, the user is often on the move. If they are moving away from an event within the virtual environment, then the sound system in the VR environment should reflect the motion, distance or flux. The Harman patent allows sounds in the virtual reality environment to be more realistic during the VR sessions by factoring the motion or distance of the wearer relative to the events in the virtual environment.

The Harman patent is titled “Mobile speaker system for virtual reality environments” and describes a robotic speaker that will be capable of shifting locations within the physical environment around the person wearing the virtual reality headset so as to provide a more accurate representation of the sounds that are associated with the virtual objects.

Allowing the speakers to move makes it possible for speakers to quickly adjust around the user, no matter the direction they turn or step into. The implication of this is that the user is able to get a more realistic audio feedback that corresponds to their virtual experience. No matter the sounds in the virtual environment, the robotic speakers will adjust their positions so as to bring out the effect.

The speakers could move around in multiple ways. The most obvious method is speakers on wheels moving around the floor within the space the user operates from. However, Harman is also envisaging a scenario where there will be a “hovering mobility platform” that will be anchored on co-axial rotors, multi rotors like in quadcopters or on vertical gas jets that are based on propulsion mobility platforms. This could one day result in VR systems that will include small teams of drone speakers floating around the user as they play though this sounds like a very complex and cumbersome setup that users will have to endure just to capture realistic sounds!

For the time being, this complicated setup remains just an idea inside a patent. The actual task of realizing such an idea will no doubt involve costly and complicated design and development work. A setup that involves a team of flying robotic speakers synced with the virtual experience will also need a lot more room within which the setup can move around without clashing with other objects in the room. For now, it seems a bit more complex but it’s something that could happen in the future to create a more realistic audio quality for virtual experiences. Or perhaps, someone will come up with a patent for a less cumbersome and less mechanical implementation.

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Walmart’s tech incubator Store N°8 today launched its next startup, a VR merchandising company called Spatial&. The company offers VR experiences that enable customers to connect with merchandise, and is kicking things off by collaborating with DreamWorks Animation VR tour. At select Walmart locations across the U.S., Spatial& will set up a VR experience in the parking lot, allowing customers to visit DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” through VR. Afterwards, customers are directed to a branded, physical gift shop where they can make purchases.

The experience is meant to help DreamWorks market their film ahead of its February 22 release, while Walmart gets to hawk film merchandise to its customers.

It’s not all that different from the “exit through the gift shop” concept found at theme parks.

Upon entering the experience, customers are greeted by the film’s characters Ruffnut and Tuffnut, and are then led into a “dragon’s cave” where they’ll put on VR headsets and get seated in Positron motion VR chairs powered by the HP VR backpack.

The VR story they engage with will take them on a five-minute journey into the movie’s world, where they interact with other characters, including  Astrid, Hiccup, Toothless, Hookfang and more. During this experience, participants will have a multi-sensory encounter, thanks to hand tracking and 6DOF (6 degrees of freedom) in the Voyager VR motion chair.

When the experience wraps, customers are guided into a themed gift shop where they can buy merchandise like plush toys, action figures, DVDs, video games, and more.

Some merchandise from this collection will also be sold across 2,000 Walmart stores – not only those with the VR experience.

On the technology side, Spatial& and DreamWorks leveraged servers and workstations with Intel Xeon Scalable processors to stitch together high-res images and 360-degree VR videos. For the experience itself, the startup uses HP Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Omen by HP Mindframe Headsets, and PCs with Intel Core processors. Outside, parents can follow along with what their children are viewing via Intel-powered Omen by HP Gaming Laptops.

“We have set an extremely high bar for quality and innovation for the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, and our partners at Spatial& exceeded our expectations with their incredible work on this project,” said Abhijay Prakash, chief operating officer of DreamWorks Feature Animation, in a statement about the launch.“This latest Dragon film displays DreamWorks’ best in class creative abilities combined with state of the art advances in animation technology, and we are thrilled that this experience created by Spatial& lives up to that reputation while allowing fans to journey straight to the center of this unique world we’ve created for the film. It’s a truly exhilarating experience,” Prakash added.

Walmart says the experience will go live at 16 stores in the U.S., starting this weekend and continuing through early April.

Those locations include the following:

  • Burbank, California (1301 N Victory Place) – February 15-16
  • Pico Rivera, California (8500 Washington Boulevard) – February 17-19
  • Anaheim, California (440 Euclid Street) – February 22-23
  • San Bernardino, California (4001 Hallmark Parkway) – February 24-26
  • Las Vegas, Nevada (5200 S Fort Apache Road) – March 1-2
  • North Las Vegas, Nevada (6464 N Decatur Boulevard) – March 3-5
  • Glendale, Arizona (5010 N 95th Avenue) – March 8-9
  • Gilbert, Arizona (2501 S Market Street) – March 10-12
  • San Antonio, Texas (8923 W Military Drive) – March 15-16
  • New Braunfels, Texas (1209 S Interstate 35) – March 17-19
  • Grand Prairie, Texas (2225 I-20) – March 22-23
  • Allen, Texas (730 W Exchange Parkway) – March 24-26
  • Sugar Land, Texas (345 Highway 6) – March 29-30
  • Katy, Texas (1313 N Fry Road) – March 31-April 2
  • Rogers, Arkansas (4208 S Pleasant Crossing Boulevard) – April 5-6
  • Bentonville, Arkansas (406 S Walton Boulevard) – April 7-9

Spatial& is one of several tech startups being incubated by Walmart’s Store No. 8, which launched in 2017 to focus on retail innovation. Other businesses being incubated there include conversational commerce startup Jetblack, from Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss; stealth startup Franklin from Wim Yogurt founder Bart Stein; and AI lab Project Kepler.

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“Social VR” is a buzzword Mark Zuckerberg has been pushing hard ever since the Facebook acquisition of Oculus. It was hard for me to imagine a social VR experience I’d actually want to have at the time, perhaps due to lack of imagination. It just didn’t work in my head. Awkward, stuffy and artificial.

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The reality of it is far and away better than I ever thought possible. It’s allowed me to spend time with a friend who lives across the country as if we were in the same room together. I have Touch, he doesn’t (he’s on a DK2) but simply being able to see where he’s looking, for him to be able to nod or shake his head, adds a whole additional layer of communication fidelity over just using Skype or something.

Vive wands and Touch controllers are supported, but so is Leap Motion and Razer Hydra (though that last one is better on paper than it is in practice, or so I’m told). This opens up the possibility of hand gestures to anybody with any SteamVR compatible headset, which is just about everything out there.

There’s also something like customizable avatars, but only the head. It’s similar to Oculus’ own avatar system in that they saw fit only to represent the parts of you which are trackable, namely the head and hands, rather than risk any goofy looking broken joint weirdness that sometimes happens with inverse kinematics.

None of these are me, but I was told by a buddy upon seeing my avatar for the first time that it looks like “gay Neo”. I didn’t know what to make of that, but the capability is there to create about the same diversity of appearance as offered by Nintendo’s Miis, for example.

It took a fair bit of digging through settings to get everything to work. VOIP didn’t work at first, after that was solved (my mic was disabled) he couldn’t hear the audio from my screen (I needed to install an outside program to enable desktop audio streaming) and so on. But eventually everything worked, and it’s glorious now.

Besides the obvious application of gaming as if you’re right next to each other, there’s also good old fashioned Youtube. Watching the same video and commenting on it to each other in real time really drives home what a game changer virtual telepresence really is.

It’s a trick to get emulated console games working over the net, but it doesn’t go through Bigscreen. It works outside of it as normal. So any game you already have which is netplay capable should work. You can play it on your own virtual monitor while your buddy plays on his. Something like a virtual LAN party.

I’m unsure whether to give this a rating at all. It’s not a game, is it? But it is excellent, free (currently) and adds immeasurably to playing a game online with a friend if he happens to have his own VR rig.

If not, it’s a compelling reason to buy one. I’m giving Bigscreen an 8/10. Immense promise, but rough around the edges, as you might expect from a beta. That’s not a final score and will undoubtedly change when the final version becomes available.

Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !


[VR Game Review] Bigscreen: Hang Out With Buddies in the Matrix was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

When you break down the wall, everyone wins.

https://medium.com/media/d37fb4b2f13f3a286a7ae7a4274e5cf5/href

Daniel Sabio a.k.a. The Glad Scientist inspired me to make Ice Breakers while standing in line at my first hackathon, the 3rd annual MIT Media Lab Reality, Virtually Hackathon, an epic 5-day adventure from January 17th — 21st, pushing the boundaries of immersive VR, AR, and spatial computing.

With over 400 participants and 100 teams gathered at the edge of the future, overlooking the Charles River no less, the chance to work in the Media Lab with the people and tools at the heart of the industry including Oculus, HTC Vive, Microsoft, Google, PTC/Vuforia, and Magic Leap, was entirely radical for a tech-obsessed Berkeley girl like me.

Greetings from the future.

Ice Breakers is a multiplayer AR game that breaks down communication barriers and encourages positive social interactions.

The first player establishes a playroom that others can join on AR enabled phones where they are separated by a virtual wall of ice cubes. You launch charmed projectiles by tapping at the cubes which randomly release a prompt for a short ice breaker game.

When you breakdown the wall everyone wins, incentivizing players to dismantle the divide between isolation and shared moments of delight.

I met Sabio on the first day of the Hack through a mutual friend, VR artist Chelly Sherman. He sparked the idea for the social AR game by saying we should get level ups and coins for meeting our online friends in the real world. I agreed and had the proverbial lighting strike of inspiration, where I saw the whole game and a room full of hackers with charms floating over their heads. From then on I knew I wanted to make something that would be fun to play at the Hack’s Expo Day.

Day 1’s schedule of workshops and classes, especially the Vuforia Studio U/X courses gave me the confidence my idea was within the realm of possibilities given the submission deadline on Sunday at 1 pm.

Day 1 workshops Thursday January 17th, 2019

Later that evening before the opening ceremony Sabio introduced me to Atlanta-based installation artist and developer Kris Pilcher. It turned out we were already friends on Facebook but had never met. Fortunately Kris wanted to learn how to use Google’s cloud anchor integration in Unity, so after the project pitches and considering a handful of teams he agreed to support my project and build Ice Breakers using ARCore, Unity and Google’s cloud anchors integration that debuted at Unite Berlin last June.

According to Unity, 90% of the top grossing apps on Google Play are connected games. We were also building with accessibility in mind, ARCore is enabled on upwards of 250 million mobile devices.

Day 2, Friday morning Team Ice Breakers quickly set up our work space in the lower atrium of E-15, The Wiesner building and original Media Lab, designed by I.M. Pei (‘40). It’s the site of one of MIT’s infamous pranks, 1994’s “The Pei Toilet”.

The interior, with its “Here — There” tile installation by Kenneth Knowland is a portal to 1985, a 100% pure source of the Vaporwave aesthetic, that reminded me of my favorite MST3K film, “Overdrawn at the Memory Bank” starting Raul Julia.

E15
Kris Pilcher, Installation Artist and Developer
“Is it live or is it Memorex?”
The future is 1985.

We took to the ping pong table on the 3rd floor of E14 to brainstorm and sketch out the game wire frame, listing our tasks for the mechanics and art, and left open questions about the how players would interact and collect rewards.

cardboard wire fame

I was responsible for the team lead administrative tasks and making the projectiles, the logos, the theme song, the icebreaker prompts and later the ice wall. I made the 3D game assets on the Rift with Oculus Medium, and the 2D assets with Illustrator and Photoshop.

Anish Dhesikan, Hackaton Mentor and a Software Engineer at Google Daydream VR/AR, helped guide us through the technical challenges we had networking the phones. He won Grand Prize at the 2016 Reality Virtually Hackathon.

Siciliana Trevino, Anish Dhesikan and Kris Pilcher
Charity Everett

Charity Everett, also a Hackathon Mentor, Research Fellow at MIT Open Documentary Lab and ARVR Women Futurist in Residence, was instrumental in getting us to expand our thinking and purpose. She helped us improve the game by recognizing that the motivation for rewards would undermine authentic exchanges, and generate a false rapport based on short-term personal gains.

I was grateful for the feedback although a little discouraged. However we still had plenty of work ahead of us before we had to make final decisions on the mechanics. There’s almost no time to consider anything beyond what’s immediately in front of you. I feared I’d turn into molasses if I spent too long worrying about decisions that weren’t at the top of my list.

By 8:35 pm Kris had established the multiplayer functionality.

At 9:07 pm we started testing the anchors. The building closed at midnight but we wrapped around 11:30 pm and a bunch of hackers went to The Automatic in Kendall Square for their addictive late night flat burgers.

Day 3, Saturday, the collisions were working by noon, and the big decisions were now before us. How does Ice Breakers start? Are both players behind blocks of ice? In their own igloos? Who takes the first turn?

Charity’s feedback allowed us to re-think the mechanics. Around the corner from the Media Lab, the hedges in front of Lobby 10 became the prototype for our engagement solution: Simplify. The barrier between players is a single wall of ice — which also serves as the cloud anchor to connect the devices.

Tear down that hedge!

A virtual wall between players shifted the motivation from what you get by breaking through, to what you contribute, rewarding players for collaborating and creating shared moments of delight.

Kris started building in our new direction and I googled the world of funny, odd and awkward Ice Breaker games. I also had to make a scratch video for our first deadline which involved setting up our Devpost profile by 6pm to get an official number of some kind.

First deadline down.

By 10 pm we were testing the main game components: players joining the virtual room, setting the space, placing the wall and launching projectiles that make a retro-laser “pew-pew” sound when they strike the cubes.

I was running out of time on the theme song. I’m not a gamer but one thing I know is that you have to have catchy tunes.

The day before, a few musicians hacking in the main building came over to E15 to play the piano that’s under the atrium’s staircase. As I was fabricating the projectiles in Medium (stamps of hearts, thunderbolts and music notes) I hear the quirky keys of “Heart and Soul”, the 1938 Hoagy Carmichael and Frank Loesser classic, known the world over as the song Tom Hanks plays in “Big.” It made the perfect theme song, but I couldn’t break my momentum and cause a delay in delivering the assets to see if they would record it. And then I couldn’t find a version online that I liked.

At 11:30 pm Saturday, I asked Chelley if she knew any musicians at the Hack that could play the piano. She recommended the team hacking next to her, who happened to be the same musicians from the day before, (whose name’s I’ve written some where!) and we recorded the music just as I remembered it.

Heart and Soul musicians in E15

Serendipity continued to light our path as we found ourselves in the presence Joe Davis at his studio surrounded by his crystal radios, coils and clocks set ahead by an hour. The legendary Bio-artist, poet, and Artist Scientist at Harvard Medical School, George M. Church Laboratory, suggested we find a way to add a clip of President Reagan’s 1987 Tear Down This Wall speech. Of course — it should launch the game in a salute to Joe.

Day 4, Sunday, the Hack’s “Pencil’s Down” deadline is at 1 pm. In the morning I downloaded the Reagan clip, cleaned it up, added our Heart and Soul soundtrack and transferred it to Kris.

At 10 am I went to a prep meeting for submitting the project and the judging process.

Kris powered through the final build, and was almost kidnapped by another team, “Together”, who needed help with their cloud anchors. I followed them and demanded his return, but compromised and said they could bring their laptops over to get his help. We were in good shape but with just a few hours left, the thought of him leaving the table terrified me.

This is fine.

It all came together. Kris committed the project to GitHub at 12:30 pm. We completed a simple 10 minute demo for a team of judges at 2:35 pm. I was exhausted and dehydrated but still standing. Whether or not we made the finals, our game was a hit.

United Colors of Benetton. L to R: Siciliana Trevino, The Glad Scientist, Chelly Sherman, Ildar Iakubov, Vladimir Ständer, and Jasmine Roberts
Expo Day demo sign

The team Kris helped? They won first place in our category of Games and Learning.

Day 5, Monday, We gave our first public demo to rave reviews. Players had this to say:

  • “I loved it.”
  • “It’s awesome.”
  • “Fun x2.”
  • “Great job!”
  • “Sweet!”
  • “Cool!”
Expo Day Monday January 21, 2019.

Expect the unexpected at the MIT Reality, Virtually Hackathon.

I never would have imagined I’d spend a week at the Media Lab in an 80’s building literally frozen in time, (during a government shutdown over wall funding) researching ice cubes to make a wall in VR for a multiplayer AR game, or YouTubing a 1987 clip of President Reagan, to use for game instructions thanks to Joe Davis.

Ice Breakers is essentially a game for Daniel Sabio to play, inspired by his zany imagination. He’s the Glad Scientist experimenting with realities after all. He served as the ideal player and stars in the demo video which I filmed and edited in the final hours of the closing dance party in E15 on Sunday night.

Initially I went to the Hackathon interested in making a memorial for the 54 journalists who were killed in 2018 — the most in decades. I was covering some dark and heavy places and the idea for Ice Breakers allowed me to do something completely opposite and novel, while organically evolving into a game that touched on timeless themes and the common struggle of overcoming barriers to establish new and authentic relationships.

Check out our submission on devpost!

And stay tuned for Ice Breakers on iOS and Android.

*some material is excerpted from an interview with Navah Berg of My So-Called VR Life


Fire and Ice: the making of Ice Breakers multiplayer mobile AR game was originally published in Virtual Reality Pop on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

About 20 years ago, a medical device startup called Intuitive Surgical debuted the da Vinci robot and changed surgical practices in operating rooms across the United States.

The da Vinci ushered in the first age of robotic-assisted surgical procedures with a promise of greater accuracy and quicker recovery times for patients undergoing certain laparoscopic surgeries. 

For a time, it was largely alone in the market. It has skyrocketed in value since 2000, when the stock first debuted on public markets. From the $46 million that the company initially raised in its public offering to now, with a market capitalization of nearly $63 billion, Intuitive has been at the forefront of robotic-assisted surgeries, but now a new crop of startups is emerging to challenge the company’s dominance.

Backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital dollars, new businesses are coming to refashion operating rooms again — this time using new visualization and display technologies like virtual and augmented reality, and a new class of operating robots. Their vision is to drive down the cost and improve the quality of surgical procedures through automation and robotic equipment.

“There were 900,000 surgeries done using surgical robotics out of a total of 313 million surgical procedures,” globally, says Dror Berman, a managing director of Innovation Endeavors.

Berman is an investor in Vicarious Surgical, a new robotics company that plans to not only improve the cost and efficiency of surgical procedures, but enable them to be performed remotely so the best surgeons can be found to perform operations no matter where in the world they are.

“Robotics and automation present multiple opportunities to improve current processes, from providing scientists the opportunity to vastly increase experimental throughput, to allowing people with disabilities to regain use of their limbs,” Berman wrote in a blog post announcing his firm’s initial investment in Vicarious.

The $3.4 billion acquisition of Auris Health by Johnson & Johnson shows just how lucrative the market for new surgical robotics can be.

That company, founded by one of the progenitors of the surgical robotics industry, Fred Moll, is the first to offer serious competition to Intuitive Surgical’s technological advantage — no wonder, considering Dr. Moll also founded Intuitive Surgical.

Last year, the company unveiled its Monarch platform, which takes an endoscopic approach to surgical procedures that is less invasive and more accurate to test for — and treat — lung cancer.

“A CT scan shows a mass or a lesion,” Dr. Moll said in an interview at the time. “It doesn’t tell you what it is. Then you have to get a piece of lung, and if it’s a small lesion. It isn’t that easy — it can be quite a traumatic procedure. So you’d like to do it in a very systematic and minimally invasive fashion. Currently it’s difficult with manual techniques and 40 percent of the time, there is no diagnosis. This is has been a problem for many years and [inhibits] the ability of a clinician to diagnose and treat early-stage cancer.”

Monarch uses an endoscopy procedure to insert a flexible robot into hard-to-reach places inside the human body. Doctors trained on the system use video game-style controllers to navigate inside, with help from 3D models.

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Nintendo’s getting into virtual reality, but not in the way you might expect. Today, the gaming giant announced the latest in its Labo line of DIY cardboard accessories, which turns the Nintendo Switch into a makeshift VR kit.

As with previous Labo sets, there are a few options to choose from. The main VR kit costs $79.99 and includes six different cardboard kits to build, including VR goggles, a blaster, a camera, and an... elephant, as well as a screen holder and “safety cap.” For those looking to spend a bit less, there’s also a basic starter kit that includes just the goggles and blaster for $39.99. Additional accessories like the elephant can be purchased late in $20 sets. The kits will include Labo software, which features games, step-by-step instructions, and the “garage” mode for building your own Labo creations.

“We wanted to design an experience that encourages both virtual and real-world interactions among players through passing around Toy-Con creations,” Doug Bowser, incoming Nintendo of America president, explained in a statement.

Labo first debuted back in April, offering a distinctly Nintendo take on DIY. Since then, Nintendo has released a few new kits and introduced Labo to schools, though the company has said in the past that it doesn’t believe the initiative has reached its full potential yet.

“We want to get to a demographic that’s not traditionally reached by games at all,” Nintendo EPD general manager Shinya Takahashi told The Verge back at E3. “I think the case with Nintendo Labo right now is that there are some people who know about it, and quite a lot of potential still for us to explore.

The new VR kits will be available starting on April 12th.

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