This week, we had a terrifying AR patent from Microsoft increasing the field of view using fans spinning right in front of your eyeballs, we saw a bunch of (less terrifying) AR headset patents from Google and Snapchat launched the start of their location based AR world… it involves pizza.

We’ve got a new newsletter format! Since I started this newsletter over 3 and a half years ago, emerging tech news just keeps growing! To help those really short on time, I’m trying out featuring a few key links in each section — those are the ones I recommend most if you’re in a hurry! Let me know what you think about the new format!

Spinning fans Microsoft patent, Google AR headset patent and the flatiron building covered in pizza using Snapchat

Spinning fans expanding your field of view, one of the Google AR headsets in the patent and a pizza flavoured location based AR filter from Snapchat

Virtual Reality

PatCat’s Fav VR Pieces This Week!

56% have heard of virtual reality, only 23% can explain it

That’s not the best stats around… we need to do better at explaining what VR is to the mass market — that begins with better marketing that doesn’t just show random person wearing a thing on their head.

Oculus introduces Asynchronous Spacewarp 2.0 for Oculus Rift

Version 1.0 helped better quality VR run on lower quality PCs, v2.0 adds 6 degrees of freedom depth and “Positional Timewarp” that “increases a PC’s level of prediction”.

Super Mario Odyssey, Zelda: Breath of the Wild will work with Nintendo Labo VR

Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will get Labo VR support via free updates on April 25th. If done well, this could be really exciting.

Facebook’s Jason Rubin: Oculus Rift 2 would need ‘radical new tech’

“I think if we did something we honestly called a 2 and felt comfortable with that name, it would need to include radical new tech.” — Jason Rubin

Five incredible fan-made VR games you can play right now

Wolfenstein 3D VR, Yu-Gi-Oh! and more… I’m really eager to try some of these!

Valve have confirmed Linux support for their Valve Index VR headset, pre-orders on May 1st

Linux fans will be glad to know the new Valve headset will support them!

HTC Vive celebrates third anniversary by launching Viveport Video

Compatible with all Vive devices it will provide “access to a library of 2D, 180 and 360-degree videos”.

3dRudder for PlayStation VR delayed until June

The foot controller was delayed, but has confirmed 25 games for its launch.

Vive Pro Eye hits FCC on its way to 2019 launch

Specs are the same as the Vive Pro but with Tobii eye-tracking.

Oculus introduces next generation of VR avatars with ‘expressive avatars’ update

More lifelike avatars and a new avatar editor arrived on Oculus Rift & Go headsets this week.

Location-based Star Trek VR experience now available at Dave & Busters

You’ll be able to play in a wonderful Star Trek multiplayer adventure, as long as you’re in the US and near one of the 122 Dave & Busters around the place!

Download GoPro VR Reframe and other 360 video plugins for free!

360 Rumors have a list here of where you can download GoPro VR Plugins for Adobe Premiere and After Effects for free!

Augmented Reality

PatCat’s Fav AR Pieces This Week!

Snapchat launches Scan, its AR utility platform

Snapchat can now have AR effects based on particular locations called “Landmarkers”. This could be the start of a whole augmented world powered by Snapchat which is a goal of many of the AR companies today. It can also now help with math and animated gifs.

Google Glass engineer’s patent application points to potential Google AR headset

This patent published by the US Patent and Trademark Office has a bunch of potential AR headset designs that Google just might have been considering, some more along the lines of what Magic Leap and the HoloLens are aiming towards!

Truly scary HoloLens patent could offer “practically unlimited” field of view

You’re cool with high speed fans spinning in front of your eyes right?

Project North Star: Mechanical and calibration update 3.1

They’ve added “improvements to the calibration system and a simplified optics assembly that 3D prints in half the time”. Less parts too.

How the army plans to use Microsoft’s high-tech HoloLens goggles on the battlefield

“CNBC flew to Fort Pickett with Under Secretary Ryan McCarthy to test the Army’s IVAS headset, which it’s building with Microsoft”.

Game of Thrones AR experience is coming to Magic Leap demo kiosks

“Game of Thrones: The Dead Must Die” will be around in Magic Leap headset kiosks in the US soon.

Remote AR will make it so we can work — or play — anywhere

“After the success of Pokemon Go, it’s the arrival of remote AR that’s really setting the pulses racing for those within the video game industry”.

How Niantic is preparing for AR’s ubiquitous future

“Niantic CEO John Hanke talks about why developers should continue pursuing AR, and how it can be a force for good if done right”.

Bose AR shows off augmented reality audio games

Games and apps that work with an ability to hear from different directions would be a lot of fun.

On the unanticipated usefulness of smartphone AR

Anthony Maes, a software engineer at, looks at how smartphone AR is making an impact.

Meta Company patent lawsuit takes new turn as plaintiff asks court for injunction

Genedics, the company suing Meta, aren’t giving up and are getting a bit impatient — hoping the court will grant them a permanent injunction to prevent Meta from infringing their claimed patents.

Nat Martin wants to change the way you interact with AR environments

This LITHO ring helps you control virtual environments in a pretty fascinating way.

Edgybees’s new developer platform brings situational awareness to live video feeds

It’s been used for golf feeds and first responders, but now you could add AR to your own live video!


PatCat’s Fav Wearable Piece This Week!

Amazon to challenge Apple’s AirPods with first Alexa-powered wearable

Rather than Siri in your ear, you’ll be able to have Alexa.

Apple Watch battery life guide: 15 ways to keep your smartwatch powered for longer

Always nice to maintain battery life as much as possible!

Fitbit and Snapchat just teamed up to make fitness a bit more fun

Snapchat’s Bitmoji are now on new watch faces for the Ionic and Versa that will dynamically update throughout the day.

Apple Watch studies: how the smartwatch is tackling health issues

Wareable look at how the Apple Watch has gone with helping with health issues so far.

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

PatCat’s Fav AI and Robotics Pieces This Week!

Adobe After Effects gets content-aware fill to let you remove unwanted objects from videos

Fantastic feature right here! “It uses machine learning to let you work without having to edit frame by frame”.

Google updates ML kit with smart reply API for third-party Android and iOS apps

Their SDK now lets third-party developers add Smart Reply and other Natural Language Processing features to their own apps.

Google dissolves its AI ethics board after just one week

Employees protested and caused Google to backtrack on their AI ethics board idea.

Google Brain’s AI predicts code from your previous edits

This machine learning system from Google Brain is trying to predict future code edits based on edit histories.

The team behind Baidu’s first smart speaker is now using AI to make films

“At the center of the project is the company’s proprietary engine, Morpheus. Rct feeds it mountains of data based on human-written storylines so the characters it powers know how to adapt to situations in real time.”

Walmart and Google team up to tackle Amazon’s Alexa

While Google doesn’t have a whole bunch of products to sell like Amazon does… Walmart sure does.

Introducing new Alexa healthcare skills

Companies subject to HIPAA can now build Alexa skills that “transmit and receive protected health information as part of an invite-only program”.

Promethean AI automatically generates game scenes, like a bedroom, for human artists

This API can generate a room for you with the features you ask.

Alexa AI scientists reduce speech recognition errors up to 22% with semi-supervised learning

Later this year, Alexa will be better able to understand the human voice thanks to this research.

Simone Giertz built a career on dysfunctional robots, but her new self-care device actually works

Simone Giertz’ new device uses lights to help you build good habits.

Future violinists may be trained by AI

This AI identifies a user’s bow technique and could tell them how to improve their performance.

John Legend is Google Assistant’s first celeb cameo

John Legend’s “velvety voice” is coming to Google Assistant. It looks pretty entertaining.

MIT’s ‘cyber-agriculture’ optimizes basil flavors

“Machine learning-optimized hydroponic ‘cyber-agriculture’ has produced a superior plant with more robust flavors.”

Internet of Things and Makers

PatCat’s Fav IoT Pieces This Week!

Is Mistral a next-gen mesh network Google Home Hub with Zigbee, or maybe even Thread?

Kevin Tofel has spotted what could be Google’s next Google Home device within Google’s codebase.

Snap pictures with this Raspberry Pi-enabled Etch-A-Sketch

This is likely the world’s first Etch-A-Sketch camera and I think it’s pretty darn cool.

Electrocomponents launches IoT and sbc playground: OKDO

“This new site is devoted to helping anyone interested in IoT or SBC get in motion with the least resistence offers a streamlined approach to education and purchasing.”

Why Intel expects dumb IoT devices to get smarter and smarter

“Intel expects processing for the Internet of Things to happen at both the edge and the center of the network. That creates demand for more AI”.

How to choose a microcontroller for digital signal processing applications

All About Circuits on what to look for “when you need an MCU to act as both a system controller and a digital signal processor”.

DACBerry ONE+ brings high-quality audio to your Raspberry Pi

This Digital-to-Analog Converter can bring better audio options for your Raspberry Pi.

Use a Raspberry Pi to build your own DVR and record live TV

The official Raspberry Pi TV HAT lets your Raspberry Pi pick up digital television signals.

How to read a microcontroller datasheet: introduction and first steps

All About Circuits on an intro to reading a microcontroller dataset, along with part two on the hardware section.


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