This week, we’ve got a new Samsung VR headset patent, underwater VR, underwater AR too, a fancy smart visor for drivers, The Walking Dead on PC-based VR and lots more!

I’m live on Twitch every Tuesday @ 7:30pm Sydney Time!

That’s Tuesday 8:30am UTC time! Thanks to those who came by last night! We chat about the upcoming newsletter’s stories and tinker with tech live on air! Yesterday, we tried out the often shunned personal assistant, Bixby, had another round of ASMR with Alexa and had a really fun robot cat inspired performance from Meri Amber!


The Walking Dead VR, a smart visor and VR underwater

The Walking Dead VR, a smart visor and VR underwater to simulate space!


Virtual Reality

Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality Headset 2020 official patent and images

It looks ridiculous.

Spice up your Oculus Quest with Simpsons, Minecraft, and Star Wars environments

Rather than the typical home environment with your Oculus menu, why not hang out in the Simpsons lounge room?

VR climbing game To The Top launches on SideQuest after Facebook rejection

This game was out all the way back in 2017 on other headsets, but its attempt to get on the Oculus Store for the Quest was rejected — bringing them to SideQuest fame instead.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners might be the darkest VR game yet

As a big Walking Dead fan, I’m pretty pumped to see this game released on SteamVR, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest via Oculus Link. There’s Oculus Quest and PlayStation VR versions coming later in 2020 too.

Valve swears ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ is actually, legitimately done

Despite the many delays around VR titles — Valve wants you to know theirs is good to go.

Unity updates XR platform to improve multi-platform offering on 2019.3, removes Gear VR & Google VR support

OpenVR support is also deprecated in 2019.3.

Sundance: Aquatic VR experience simulates outer space by lying you face-down in a pool

How do you remove gravity for a VR experience? Put that experience underwater!

Hello WebXR

MozVR have created a demo to celebrate the release of the WebXR v1.0 API!


Augmented Reality

Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sundar Pichai, & Snap’s Evan Spiegel deliver strategic insights into AR in 2020 & beyond

“Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel each, in unrelated statements, kicked off 2020 by giving us insight into what they see on the horizon”.

Video of an AR pianist playing a real piano is going viral

It uses AR to bring a virtual piano player to life on a real-world piano. So very cool!

Hands-on: Form smart swim goggles hit the mark for aquatics athletes

These look really cool and track your distance, automatically know when you take breaks and more!

Over 1 million people played the Uber Eats India Instagram AR game

Instagram filters are becoming more and more advanced, Spark AR can do a whole lot!

Mobile AR app Octi evolves into social network via facial recognition tech

It now uses facial recognition to identify people and place AR content around them in a sorta virtual belt.

A breath-sensing AR project helps visualize your impact on the world

A really curious Magic Leap experience in which you watch glowing particles dance around in response to your breathing.

My predictions for augmented reality in 2020

Mr Ghost Howls himself has his predictions and forecasts for the trends of AR in 2020.

Qualcomm & Accenture upgrade event planning with AR app for Nreal Light & mobile

It “uses AR and VR to modernize the rough and tumble world of event planning”.


Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

The World’s Best Machine Learning Courses & Tutorials in 2020

The team at CourseDuck shared this with me and it looks pretty darn useful for those who want to get into machine learning!

AI-powered auto-dimming sun visor Bosch virtual visor unveiled at CES

It manages to block sunlight while staying transparent.

Google’s Collections feature now pushes people to save recipes & products, using AI

“Starting today, Google will make suggestions about items you can add to Collections based on your Search history across specific activities like cooking, shopping or hobbies.”

London’s Met police switches on live facial recognition, flying in face of human rights concerns

Not the best approach by the Met police — “While EU lawmakers are mulling a temporary ban on the use of facial recognition to safeguard individuals’ rights, as part of a risk-focused plan to regulate AI, London’s Met Police has today forged ahead with deploying the privacy hostile technology”.

AI weekly: calls for facial recognition moratorium highlight need for protection from surveillance tech

As we’re seeing with the Met news above, this might indeed be necessary.

Amazon’s AI automatically dubs videos into other languages

“Amazon researchers describe in an academic paper an automated system that dubs foreign video clips in other languages”.

Facebook’s new robot AI can get around efficiently without using a map

The tech here looks pretty promising!

Boston Dynamics gives its robot dog a developer SDK

Boston Dynamics has released the source code for its robotic dog Spot to any developer who wants it — I worry if there’s no protections around what is allowed on the platform… I mean if Oculus are super picky, surely they should be too?

Scraping the web is a powerful tool. Clearview AI abused it

The facial recognition startup claims it collected billions of photos from sites like Facebook and Twitter — without any permission to do so.

An AI epidemiologist sent the first warnings of the Wuhan virus

BlueDot were faster than both the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sending word of the outbreak to its customers on Dec 31st — about 6 days before the US and 9 days before the World Health Organisation.

This ultrasonic gripper could let robots hold things without touching them

Researchers have created a gripper that uses ultrasonics to suspend an object in midair! I haven’t found a video of this yet but I really want to see one.

U.S. senator urges Tesla to rebrand its Autopilot driver assistance system to reduce misuse

They’re right… it really does have “an inherently misleading name.”

AI license plate readers are cheaper—so drive carefully

“Police can add computer-vision software to ordinary security cameras for as little as $50 a month”.

Uber’s AI plays text-based games like a human

“Uber’s AI research division has developed a system that can play text-based games with human-like self-sufficiency, besting prior work”.


Internet of Things and Makers

Fitbit estimated oxygen variation: SpO2, sleep apnea and blood oxygen explained

The long awaited blood oxygen detection feature is ON! Here’s what the new features that have been unlocked mean.

Alexa, build me a house

Building out cheaper prefab housing is on the horizon and I look forward to the day we can just ask Alexa for one.

Put Alexa and Siri to work

The NY Times had a nice look at how to use the two personal assistants — good to pass onto those who aren’t as tech savvy.

The Amazon Echo Buds have just got their first discount

If you’ve been waiting for a sale, here’s the first one! Save 31% ($40) off! They’re still only available in the US though.

Don’t brush off mouth tech as a passing fad

What a punny headline.

Tracking cancer treatment with an ESP8266-based radiation sensor

This is a portable wireless radioactivity monitor a father put together for their child who was going through radioactive iodine treatment — really nice use of the technology.

A second look at Samsung SmartThings was worth it

Kevin Tofel had some really positive words to say about switching to the Samsung SmartThings platform recently. Worth a read!


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