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VR Digest:  VR takes on TV;
New therapies explored

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Hi Friends,

After nearly three months of VR Digest, newsmakers have started coming to us directly with their announcements. We'd love to see this trend continue. If you have a news tip, shoot an email to news@studiotranscendent.com.

Our goal is to save people time by presenting links to the biggest news, research, videos and best experiences in a condensed format.

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Aaron, John, Ian, and Elissa
at Studio Transcendent

Virtual Reality takes on TV

The Oculus Rift made an appearance as a question on Jeopardy this week as well as in the season premiere of Silicon Valley, just in time for television’s big annual conference. We collaborated with Virtual Reality Festival to put together a guide to many of the panels at the National Association of Broadcasters show.

NextVR is broadcasting to viewers in VR live from RED’s booth in Las Vegas. However, you’d have to make it to one of the camera company’s offices to see what it looks like. NextVR uses in-house streaming technology combined with RED’s ultra high-resolution cameras to not only capture high quality wraparound movies but stream them as they occur, opening up possibilities for things like attending sporting events virtually.

Meanwhile, John Carmack at Oculus is working on bringing simple avatars into the Oculus Cinema experience so that watching TV or movies in VR isn’t so lonely.
 

Therapies using VR explored

PBS published an article about the wide range of therapeutic possibilities for virtual reality, from post-traumatic stress disorder to sex offenders. “Virtual avatars can’t be harmed in the same way that real people can, making them the perfect tool for studying arousal...research has uncovered motor and eye movement patterns in sex offenders that are different from those of ordinary people during arousal.”

Also: “Virtual reality therapies...simply don’t work for some patients for reasons that are unclear, though...they do work for a certain subset of patients who don’t respond to traditional therapy.”
 

More About Improbable

More details on the $20 million-backed simulation startup Improbable are covered in a feature by Wired. “Improbable can help simulate everything from traffic patterns to economies to contagious diseases...it’s like a super-charged Amazon Web Services.” There’s also an interesting talk by CEO Herman Narula from last year and a preview of the game, Worlds Adrift, that was produced with help from the company.
 

AltspaceVR seeks partners

The social platform AltspaceVR is looking for partners to use its software development kit, which Cymatic Bruce demonstrates in a video with examples like playing chess in VR. “We’ve really been focused on having something cool to share and having something to do in VR with other people.” The company also posted a breakdown of how it brought hands into VR earlier this year using Intel’s RealSense technology.
 

Bits:

The BBC wrote an overview of VR journalism with a viewing of Clouds over Sidra, a VR video about children in Syria. “When you take the headset off and find yourself in the Vancouver Convention Centre you feel a little disorientated and rather silly particularly if, like me, you have tears streaming down your face.”

There’s an awesome, trippy, musical experience called Surge available to download on Oculus Share. Watch as blocks build themselves into walking giants under a blazing sun and a volumetric aurora.

master’s thesis project shows the use of Leap Motion hand-tracking, Unity and Oculus Rift DK2 to animate a character while inside VR.

Santa Barbara-based WorldViz got an investment in the “multimillion dollar” range from Intel. The VR company has been in business since 2002 and targets the business sector with its software development tools.

VR Digest editor Ian Hamilton wrote a blog post taking a skeptic’s look at the possibilities ahead for the use of virtual reality, including a look at persuasion, addiction and the prospect of unforeseen long-term effects.

The developer behind a failed Kickstarter project ($10,000 for tracking the movement of feet) did a post-mortem on Reddit useful for anyone thinking about crowdfunding their idea. “We probably could have done a lot better if we had known what we know now. Sure, we did our research, but we still made A LOT of mistakes.”

Blackmagic announced their $995 HD Micro Cinema and $1295 4K Micro Studio cameras, which can be genlocked and are small enough to approximate human interpupillary distance without finicky mirrors. Therefore, they could make a good alternative to GoPro as a building block for VR camera rigs. There’s a discussion about the Micro Cinema camera on Reddit.

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