This week brought news of chipmaker ARM being bought by SoftBank, debate over whether or not we should force HTTPS for WebVR, Snapchat preparing for object recognition based ads, yet another AI-generated script (this time for an episode of Silicon Valley) and so much more. If you signed up for the Dev Diner email newsletter, it also got redesigned!

Silicon Valley cast androids

My artist interpretation of the AI version of Silicon Valley

Virtual Reality

Oculus’ latest SDK (1.6) has been released, adding support and docs for a new “Enter” button on the left controller.

In another VR related update, Unreal Engine 4.13 brings a new VR locomotion system template!

The WebVR community has gone wild over a debate on whether or not to force HTTPS in the WebVR specification. Some of the discussion is in the GitHub issue, others on Reddit and more still on the WebVR mailing list.

Road to VR compares the new, cheaper NVIDIA GTX 1060’s specs against AMD’s RX 480. Valuable info to look at if you’re considering building a VR PC on a budget.

A new version of the HTC Vive may be coming this year according to one report, little is known for sure on this one but HTC has not denied it!

Google was building a standalone VR headset to compete with Oculus, but it has shut that project down. Despite canning that standalone VR headset project, Google reportedly still has another VR/AR headset it is working on.

This fantastic post by Mark Cuban, “Virtual Reality Gave Me My Brain Back”, is a must read for any VR enthusiast or developer. The incredible potential of virtual reality is just beginning and it is so inspiring to see such positive discoveries!

Another similar example — Virtual reality therapy is being used as a way to treat war veterans’ PTSD.

“Angels and Demigods” is a visual VR novel for Gear VR.

This DIY backpack VR rig lets you walk through VR wherever you are.

How IDEO designed and built a virtual reality app to share the experience of illiteracy.

Amsterdam is aiming to become a VR/AR hub for startups with the opening of “VRbase”, a VR-focused incubator and co-working space.

Automatic VR sound generation by physics simulations and machine learning! A very cool episode of the Voices of VR podcast.

Augmented and Mixed Reality

After the recent explosion of Pokémon Go and mixed definitions of augmented reality that came with it, I felt compelled to update my article on the difference between the terms “augmented reality” and “mixed reality”. Just a little. If you are looking to explain the difference to people, send them this link. As you might imagine, AR news is full of Pokémon Go right now… most articles online reiterate the same thing, so I’ve filtered it to only a few this week!

The most fascinating of the links — CapitolaVR built a simple Pokémon Go mixed reality prototype on the HoloLens. Here’s a video of it!

Just as a casual reminder of the success of the new AR game, here’s a short video of a stampede of Pokémon GO players in Central Park. In fact, Pokémon Go’s retention rates and average revenue per user are double the industry average and have led to Nintendo’s share price soaring past Sony.

Snapchat has filed a patent for a way to deliver object recognition based ads.

AR and VR just might be accelerating the evolution of user interface interaction.

Make has a look at NASA’s mixed reality program. They’re using the tech in some great ways!

If you thought Google Glass was long gone, here’s a reminder that it is still alive and well for enterprise customers — Google Glass has been successfully used by the staff at Boeing.


Security tests have crowned the Microsoft Band 2 and Pebble Time as the most secure wearables!

A Gear S2 update is bringing photo watch faces, automatic sleep tracking, and improved voice command functionality.

From Google’s side of the smartwatch arena, new rumors about the Android Wear Nexus smartwatch duo have emerged!

A detailed overview of the lawsuit between Jawbone and Fitbit for those who aren’t sure about what it is about!

These RFID nails make tapping onto and off of the London Underground easier!

Tom Goodwin from Forbes discusses “four ways smartwatches can win your wrist“.

Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

If you are in this area and have a great startup you are trying to get to new heights — Robot Launch 2016 is looking for robotics startups to compete online with an audience of VCs & experts!

Don’t replace people. Augment them. Tim O’Reilly discusses surviving in an automated world.

On a very similar note, this Obama official believes the best solution to AI taking jobs is more AI. The article raises some fantastic points. I’m really glad to see more constructive discussion around a future with AI, rather than the doom and gloom.

The Andreessen Horowitz venture capital firm believe that “deep learning is the most fundamental advance in AI research since AI started”.

I’m not sure if this Silicon Valley episode written by a deep learning neural network is what they had in mind when making the above statement… fascinating to read through!

New AI company, Pat, launched a private beta to help AI understand what you say. Its name is going to confuse me and other Pats around the world until the end of time. Now I know what Alexas must feel like.

The upcoming game, Event[0], has AI that will speak to you using over two million lines of procedurally-generated dialog.

This bipedal robot can step with a heel-toe motion that copies our own walking motion.

The Economist looks at why artificial intelligence is enjoying a renaissance.

Meanwhile, the BBC look at why Google’s DeepMind wants everyone’s medical records.

Artificial intelligence has revealed undiscovered bat carriers of Ebola and other filoviruses.

AI technology from Preferred Networks Inc may power Nintendo’s future smartphone games.

A self-driving Mercedes-Benz bus has taken a milestone 12-mile trip in Holland!

The MIT Technology Review says we have a long way to go if we want virtual assistants to understand us, with tougher Turing tests exposing just how lacking our AI is at present.

Author Julie Wosk looks at the obsession with creating “perfect female robots” and its potential impact on society.

This VR robot helps understand human balance and the brain! Super cool.

This last link in this section has me excited! Josh, a third-party app, will bring some new skills and voices to the Amazon Echo!

Internet of Things

SoftBank has confirmed a $32B acquisition of chipmaker, ARM, to target the Internet of Things and more.

New York City’s next subway cars and stations will have Wi-Fi and USB ports built-in.

Here’s an infographic on the adoption and economic impact of the IoT.

This Arduino-powered door bolt locks itself whenever you open an incognito browser window.

Not only can you use your Arduino skills for automatic door locking, but you could also create a coin-operated, Arduino-powered, Wi-Fi hotspot ticketing system. Pure genius right there.

Or, if neither of those are your thing. This Arduino-based clock tells the time via painted lines on a string. Who needs high-resolution displays when you have rope?

Nest’s new product is a US$199 security camera that works outside.

The Compute Module from the Raspberry Pi 3 will be available “in a few months”.

Speaking of the Raspberry Pi 3, its creator hopes for Windows 10 desktop OS support, just as we do!


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