This week, we had a change to Facebook policy bringing Oculus user info into the realm of ad targeting, Oppo announced an AR headset, Samuel L. Jackson is finally on Alexa devices (in the US) and we had some cool VR experiences come out like “Where Thoughts Go”.

Oppo's AR headset, Samuel L. Jackson and Where Thoughts Go

Oppo’s AR headset, Samuel L. Jackson is on Alexa devices and “Where Thoughts Go”


Virtual Reality

Getting WebXR to 1.0

WebXR is the new standard for VR and AR on the web — and it’s really hitting its stride! Here’s a nice look at where things are at, including some useful tools for those getting into it.

If logged into Facebook, Oculus VR data will now be used for ads

Facebook’s policy changes mean that “Facebook will now use information about your Oculus activity, like which apps you use, to help provide more relevant content, including ads.” You can choose to opt-out though and not link your Facebook account.

VR sales on the upswing, thanks to Facebook’s Oculus Quest

CNet say that “virtual reality may be starting to grab people’s attention” thanks to the Quest. We’ve been saying that for a little while now!

Award-winning social experience Where Thoughts Go now available on Oculus Quest

In this VR experience, you record and share personal voice messages via orb-like audio creatures. It sounds really cool!

Healium uses VR, AR, or wearables to reduce anxiety

“Healium is a platform that uses virtual reality, augmented reality, and wearables like the Apple Watch to reduce anxiety”.

Oculus friends lists now has text chat… if you link account to Facebook

Oculus now has text chat but you have to have your Oculus ID linked to your Facebook account. That, however, means ads as per the first link above.

Beat Saber launches 360 levels alongside Green Day music pack

It has new game modes and a Green Day music pack — definitely riding high as a successful VR game!

Top 10 VR education apps of 2019

These experiences (and a few bonus mentions!) all provide a bit of education amongst the VR experience.

Discover on desktop or mobile. Enjoy in VR, only with Firefox Reality.

You can now send tabs from your phone or computer straight to your VR headset using Firefox Reality!

Three-day HTC Vive Developer Jam taking place in January looking to create next-gen XR applications

There’s the potential for some cool creations to happen here!


Augmented Reality

Snap brings custom materials & 3D face mesh to Lens Studio

Snapchat’s Lens Studio 2.3 gives creators the ability to customise materials and create realistic 3D masks.

Hands-on: this is how Magic Leap’s voice control works via the new Lumin OS update

This week’s Magic Leap Lumin OS update contained iris authentication, Twitch streaming and voice control of the interface.

Chinese smartphone maker Oppo previews AR glasses & futuristic hardware concepts

“Oppo revealed that it will put the Snapdragon 865 and 765G chips in its next flagship mobile devices, just two days before Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon XR2 platform for AR headsets and smartglasses”.

AR sports game allows children of all abilities to compete on a level playing field

AR and computer vision technology could positively impact athletics for children overcoming physical disabilities. Great to see!

Classic game Moon Patrol reimagined as an AR experience

The Intellivision Amico will include two touchscreen controllers and launch with around five retro games.



Fitbit and Google deal under scrutiny by Justice Department

The US Justice Department are looking into the Google buyout due to concerns about Google getting all of Fitbit’s user health data.

Fitbit activity spike exposes cheating boyfriend

Wearable technology can track all sorts of things!

Wearable band shipments grew globally, driven by Xiaomi

When it comes to just wearable bands — their shipments “grew 65%, year over year for Q3”. Xiaomi tops the list, with “74% versus this time last year”.


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Silicon Valley is listening to your most intimate moments

Bloomberg had a thorough look at the history of the drama behind all of the voice assistant services’ listening to user recordings for training the system.

IBM Watson exec on AI virtual agent providers: ‘no big players, except for us’

“Rob Thomas says that IBM is the only serious provider of big chunks of AI for enterprises and the company’s multi-cloud, neutral strategy is paying off”.

5 areas of focus when adopting AI in your organization

Here are five areas Venturebeat say “you should focus on to get your company’s AI initiatives soaring”.

Why are so many AI systems named after Muppets?

You might not have noticed, but there is a pattern.

Google’s AI chief wants to do more with less (data)

“Jeff Dean says the company is trying to build systems that have general smarts, rather than highly specialized intelligence”.

When and how to build out your data science team

TechCrunch say that “successfully implementing AI to drive impactful decisions requires a diverse team with expertise in several skill sets”.

DeepMind proposes novel way to train ‘safe’ reinforcement learning AI

Alphabet’s DeepMind proposes a new technique that “safely” trains reinforcement learning models, so as to avoid undesirable states.

How to deploy a Jovo project with AWS CloudFormation and CI/CD

Here’s a guide for deploying Jovo voice apps on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant with CloudFormation.


Internet of Things and Makers

Samuel L. Jackson arrives on Alexa devices

It is a separate skill though, so you will need to say “Alexa, ask Samuel L. Jackson …”. You can’t change Alexa to be him permanently.

Roland’s Alexa-powered keyboard is available for $500

“The GO:PIANO’s Alexa voice control lets you tweak the sound without missing a note”.

Nodle crowdsources IoT connectivity

“What if you could crowdsource the connectivity of smart sensors by offloading it to smartphones?”

Citizen has a fancier alternative to Amazon’s Alexa wall clock

It’s “a Smart Clock that can accept Alexa commands through other devices to set timers, much like its Amazon counterpart, but offers a more stylish package that could better fit in with your decor”.


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