This week, we have a crazy realistic avatars from Facebook researchers, a new Vive hand tracking SDK, the release of OpenXR 0.9 for devs to try out, wireless PSVR2 hints from patents and more!

Facebook researchers realistic avatars, new Vive hand tracking and OpenXR 0.9

Facebook researchers realistic avatars, new Vive hand tracking and OpenXR 0.9

Virtual Reality

Facebook can make VR avatars look—and move—exactly like you

Facebook researchers’ “codec avatars” are incredibly lifelike — hopefully we’ll have avatars at this quality level sooner rather than later!

Introducing the Vive Hand Tracking SDK

The Vive team’s new SDK tracks your hands, gestures and on the Vive and Vive Pro tracks your fingers with 21 point tracking.

‘Beat Saber’ will be available for Oculus Quest on day one

Oculus Quest is wire-free and so you’ll be able to flail to your heart’s content!

Sony VR patent points to a pricier but wireless PSVR2

Sony will have wireless VR coming for you too, so maybe Beat Saber will emerge there too some day.

OpenXR standard ratified, Microsoft, Oculus, & others to release first implementations

OpenXR aims to solve the issue of XR fragmentation — OpenXR 0.9 was released for evaluation by developers and implementers in the industry.

Denmark is turning to VR to combat teen drinking problem

A nice idea to try to educate teens using emerging tech.

Virtual reality could improve your balance, study finds

It may help older people with balance problems or help with post-illness rehabilitation.

Defense tech startup founded by Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporters wins secretive military AI contract

The headline is super clickbait-y, but it’s actually a curious concept — Palmer Luckey is using VR and sensors to help in real military combat through his company’s Project Maven initiative.

The VR in the enterprise report: how retailers and brands are illustrating VR’s potential in sales, employee training, and product development

Business Insider have a bunch of reports out on emerging tech, this one looks at how VR can provide value to retailers and brands in sales, employee training and product development.

Japan using exercise bikes & VR porn to generate electricity

I’m not even sure whether a description is necessary here. Welcome to the future.

DemVR hackathon aims to create VR experiences for people with dementia

This is a very valuable concept for a hackathon!

Oculus Rift: the inside story

Blake Harris answers Dean Takahashi’s questions about his book on the founding, acquisition and launch of the Oculus Rift, VentureBeat had more questions for him here (It’s a good book! Worth a read!).

How OrbusVR Reborn is leveling up the VR MMO

Orbus Online is totally rebuilding their initial VR-based MMO that they built after their Kickstarter campaign, it’s rereleasing in April.

Here’s an idea: replace trials with virtual reality duels

Who needs expensive lawsuits when you can battle each other in VR instead. Problem solved.

Pixvana’s spin guide is a next-generation VR presentation tool for enterprise development

It’s a curious tool which also provides heatmaps to track where people look within your content.

How Lenovo developed the Mirage Solo

A nice look at how the Mirage Solo standalone headset came, of all places, from Lenovo.

Google closes the door on its ‘Spotlight Stories’ VR film studio

Sad news… Google’s Oscar nominated, Emmy award-winning platform is closing after 6 years. Wishing Google would keep this going. Such a shame!

NVIDIA Geforce GTX 1660 offers VR-ready gaming for only £199

Apparently, the GTX 1660 is 68% faster than the GTX 970.

Oculus Unity plugin adds Windows MR support via SteamVR

“Developers of Oculus Rift games made with the Oculus Unity plugin can now add Windows MR headset support with their existing code”.


Augmented Reality

Apple wins a Patent for Augmented Reality Smartglasses

I guess there’s no doubt they’re working on these now huh?

The secrets of Magic Leap

Forbes had a really good three part series on Magic Leap after some interviews with the founder.

Torch app teams with 6d.AI to add occlusion & persistence to AR creations

Torch is integrating’s AR Cloud platform into its mobile AR prototyping tool.

Remembering Rembrandt’s re-creates one of the master’s classics in AR

This app available on Android and iOS “creates an AR portal through which you can view a re-creation of one of Rembrandt’s most famous paintings”.

Puppetoon promises to give your iPhone the freedom to create augmented reality animations

You know you want to make AR puppet videos.

Spatiate brings multi-user augmented reality painting to Magic Leap One

Spatiate wants to bring the ability for Magic Leap One, iPhone, iPad and Android users to collaborate remotely on virtual artwork.

Vuzix strikes reseller partnership with Verizon for enterprise customers

Verizon has also reached a master reseller agreement with Vuzix, an AR headset focusing on enterprise.

You’re doing mixed reality wrong.

A curious article about “liberating bodies from the malpractice of desktop metaphor”.

Nreal founder explains why smartglasses tethered to smartphones are the future of augmented reality

What this company are doing with their smartglasses is exciting and makes me want a pair immediately to try out!

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 team answers more questions about biometric security, audio, & hand tracking

More details on the HoloLens 2!

Hands-on: hands-on with Google Maps walking AR navigation experiment, a peek into our smartglasses future

A look at the Google Maps AR feature for those who don’t have access to it themselves!



Smart assistants on wearables tipped for big things in latest future-gazing report

I think wearables and smart assistants are a great match!

How to clean a Fitbit: take care of your band and tracker with this guide

Note to self: clean my Fitbit soon.

Fitbit Versa v Fitbit Versa Lite: how the two smartwatches compare

What the differences are between the two!


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

World’s first genderless voice assistant needs your help

Q, the world’s first genderless voice assistant, wants to end gender bias in virtual assistants.

Researchers propose AI agents that learn from human programmers’ eye movements

“Researchers propose a simple imitation learning framework that uses eye movement data to train AI software development agents”.

The robots that dementia caregivers want: robots for joy, robots for sorrow

Scientists found that caregivers wanted the robots to support positive moments and lessen caregivers’ emotional stress by taking on difficult tasks.

Water-resistant electronic skin with self-healing abilities created: the skin-like material is conductive, transparent, and can repair itself either in air or when submerged in water

All of that was inspired by jellyfish!

ID R&D claims its AI can distinguish between sounds of breaking glass, gunshots, and more

New York-based ID R&D claims its technology “can detect a range of events, including calls for help, screaming, moaning, and audible alarms”.

Shrimp-inspired robot claw could punch through rock

“A robot claw inspired by the pistol shrimp packs such a fierce punch that it could generate plasma more effectively underwater than lasers”.

AI algorithms are now shockingly good at doing science

Let’s help robots both master science and a powerful bunch, that sounds like a great future huh?

People who get defeated by AI feel horrible about themselves

In case you were wondering how you were going to handle the punching.

Ihmc developing gymnast robot for increased mobility

Researchers are developing a new type of bipedal humanoid robot capable of doing gymnastics too.

Stanford scientists just gave us an unprecedented look at how well the Apple Watch detects heart problems

A new study looks at how well the Apple Watch has managed to afib detection to the masses.

World’s first all-weather autonomous bus rolls out in Finland

It doesn’t just need happy sunny days to function.

How TomTom is evolving for autonomous vehicles

TomTom, the GPS device company, is “going all-in on autonomous cars”.

DeepMind and Google: the battle to control artificial intelligence

“Demis Hassabis founded a company to build the world’s most powerful AI. Then Google bought him out”. This article by Hal Hodson looks at “who is in charge”.

AI’s many challenges must be thoughtfully addressed

“Optimistic visions of AI won’t come to fruition unless the technology’s many challenges are address, according to thought leaders like Eric Schmidt”.

Fan uses AI to remaster ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ in HD

They’re looking to use machine learning to help remaster “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” in 1080p — now that’s a good use of AI!

Probeat: AI and quantum computing continue to collide

“AI and quantum computing research are coming together in fascinating ways. Quantum computing isn’t here yet, but investments in it already paying dividends”.

This soft robot gripper from MIT is simple, affordable, and versatile

It looks rather odd but is quite effective and affordable!

Democratic 2020 presidential candidates are raging against the machine (intelligence)

“Democratic presidential candidates are talking more about AI, as it appears intelligent machines will become an issue in the 2020 race”.

This robot can park your car for you

By the end of this month, this is apparently going to be getting use!

Use fuel injection solenoids to make a street writing robot

A pretty interesting take on the street writing robot!

Apple buys AI startup Laserlike to make Siri less of a dunce

Apple are aiming to improve Siri in a range of ways based on their recent acquisitions, this is the latest one which focused on a personalised “interest search engine”.

Tiny claws let drones perch like birds and bats

Give your drone a break by letting it chill out on a tree or two confusing all those birds next to it.

Google’s Lookout app helps blind users navigate their surroundings

A very great use of AI tech to help those who need it using tech available right now.

Blind users can now explore photos by touch with Microsoft’s seeing AI

Blind and limited vision people can now use touch to explore the objects and people in photos using this from Microsoft too!

New noise-blocking material could drown out drones

This is tech I can get behind for sure!

Google’s new voice recognition system works instantly and offline (if you have a Pixel)

Not needing the internet to use voice recognition is pretty handy — as long as you need it to do something that doesn’t use the internet!


Internet of Things and Makers

Create an automated scoreboard that senses your score with a Raspberry Pi

I put together a basketball scoreboard that automatically senses your score using a Raspberry Pi 3, Node.js and an ultrasonic sensor for this piece at SitePoint.

This LED half mask was built with an Adafruit Gemma M0

This mask just looks amazing.

Thermal printer mounts directly to an Arduino or Raspberry Pi

I need one of these.

A decentralized approach to building an IoT network

Hackster looks at the “race going on to shape our future”.

Ebay modules and custom PCBs make a plug and play ham transceiver

Here’s an interesting DIY project to try out!

IoT report: how internet of things technology growth is reaching mainstream companies and consumers

The Internet of Things has come a long way, with more devices being integrated with internet connectivity. Learn about the continued rapid growth and development of a revolutionary industry.

Can near field communication be secure in the IoT? NXP’s new NFC tag aims for highest security

NXP are looking to find a way to make NFC more secure.

This gorgeous smart desk was built with a Raspberry Pi and Arduino

Your own desk will just not feel quite as smart by comparison.

Congress introduces bill to improve ‘Internet of Things’ security

“The Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act wants to make sure the [US] federal government isn’t buying devices that can be easily hacked”.

New mesh networking products expand use cases for connected devices

All About Circuits looks at “how mesh networking, with low power needs and fast deployment, may be crucial in IoT and automation”.

Smart home complexity is its own security risk

If you have more than 10 smart home devices, “you are courting a level of complexity that will burden you rather than make your life easier”, according to a new report from TrendMicro which Stacey Higgenbotham looks into.

Amazon pledges to keep user data private as Eero deal completes

Hopefully they keep their word, but many are very worried their data will soon be used for all sorts of things.

New microcontroller from Maxim targets low-power, space-constrained consumer electronics

“Maxim’s new microcontroller supports a wide supply-voltage range and consumes 0.2 µA in low-power mode”.

Synaptics CEO on how touch, AI, and sensors are giving us smart edge devices

Synaptics makes the tech behind smartphone touchscreens, automotive displays, voice-enabled smart speakers and VR.



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