This week the team behind Job Simulator showed an ingenious way to work out a player’s height on PSVR, Leap Motion released a better way to grab objects in Unity, the team at Pebble discovered the secrets to happiness and a super cool set of electrified Lego-compatible smart blocks have emerged that look incredible.

Composition picture of technologies from this week

An artist’s impression of this week’s news that Owlchemy Labs technically started.

In Sydney on 15th September? I’ve got a special coupon code for the third Convergence conference for my developer friends reading this — it is perfect for Dev Diner readers as it’s a whole event on pretty much all the tech areas I cover here (VR/AR, IoT, wearables, AI). Use VIP_DevD and that’ll get you 10% off your ticket! You can register here!

Virtual Reality

I spoke with Ivan from 360dgrees.com on creating interactive 360 video experiences with their SDK.

Owlchemy Labs shared their ingenious method of calibrating player height on PlayStation VR!

Unity released a simple solution for VR speech recognition in their asset store!

Leap Motion released a new beta “Interaction Engine” Unity asset that improves the experience of grabbing objects in VR.

Oculus’ Nate Mitchell had a great interview with UploadVR about the VR landscape, Touch controllers and more. A worthwhile read on their view of the VR landscape and how everything is panning out.

VR is a powerful medium. One test ending of “Invasion” proved that with areally strong negative emotional reaction by kids from a character’s death (don’t worry, it didn’t make the cut for that very reason it seems). VR storytelling is a medium we need to be cautious with. This link is a worthwhile read for anyone in the industry.

Here’s a look at how to bring networked copresence to WebVR applications.

Zenimax updated their lawsuit claim this week to explicitly accuse Oculus of theft. Oculus released a statement and all the info is here in this convenient article from Game Informer.

Intel’s are calling their new “sensing and digitizing technologies” that are a part of their Project Alloy HMD “Merged Reality”. To be honest, so far I don’t fully understand what their tech can actually do and what is just marketing, so we’ll need to wait and see.

Star Trek: Bridge Crew will be arriving on PlayStation VR, Rift and Vive at the same time. Hopefully a good sign for many cross-platform VR releases in future.

A handy list of virtual reality peripherals either here or on their way!

Google is reportedly recruiting web stars and Hulu for an upcoming Daydream release in the coming weeks.

Finally, we released a curated list of the best articles on the web to learn best practices for designing VR experiences. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Augmented and Mixed Reality

What’s in the HoloLens? Microsoft gave a look inside its Holographic Processing Unit this week.

There’s some cool progress happening in the Meta 2 Beta Testing program!

This secret project is apparently working on creating AR celebrity holograms. Not so secret anymore then.

Wearables

Wareable thinks haptics could be wearable tech’s secret weapon.

Here’s what makes people happy according to Pebble’s Happiness app logs! Interesting findings!

Ever wonder how your fitness tracker actually measures your daily steps? Here’s how.

This solar-powered rover takes voice commands from a Pebble smartwatch!

Mcdonald’s gave up on fitness tracker happy meals after reports of skin irritation.

Watchmi wants to bring new gesture controls to existing smartwatches.

We also got look at the upcoming Fitbit Charge 2 and Fitbit Flex 2.

Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Vehicles and Robotics

Oh boy. A team of researchers was able to unlock and start Volkswagen cars with just $40 of electronic components.

Facebook’s AI lab open sourced “fastText” on GitHub, a way to classify words in machine learning.

An interesting opinion piece on why every college campus needs a chatbot at VentureBeat.

Security drones just might be the thing to prevent any criminal escape ever again. Or so this drone startup hopes!

Microsoft acquired the AI scheduling service Genee. They will shut it down on September 1st and then integrate it into Office 365.

Looking beyond Siri-style assistants, SRI wants to produce chatbots with deep knowledge of one single thing.

Could machine learning make farms more efficient and food tastier? Interesting concept.

VentureBeat listed 5 reasons millennials love chatbots. Do millennials really love chatbots? I didn’t know chatbots had become a thing yet? Another piece on VentureBeat says chatbots have “a platform problem”, so if it is a thing, maybe it won’t be a thing for long? Or a platform-dependent thing. Hmm.

Internet of Things

BRIXO blocks are like electrified Lego blocks for the IoT era. Super cool! They are basically bricks that safely conduct electricity and connect to your phone to enable all sorts of functionality! Brilliant Christmas gift idea for kids (and the young at heart… I need them).

How to prevent your IoT devices from being forced into botnets.

The “Samsung Scoop” submitted to the FCC looks like another Amazon Echo competitor!

Proxy is a startup looking to turn your phone into a universal key that’ll unlock everything and make the IoT more accessible.

The Wall Street Journal says the Internet of Things is here and “it isn’t a thing”.

TechCrunch asks “will the Internet of Things make us superhuman?” Maybe we already are.

An IoT system in trial right now might help Sydney Trains run on time by locating failures in overhead wiring systems. There are many Sydneysiders, including myself, who’ll be happy if that works out.

Finally, I spoke with Mike Hexter from HexCorp about the drag-and-drop IoT platform, Cayenne, and its new Arduino compatibility. They ran a bunch of tests on it to see how it faired. He also shared some tips on how to find good product design consultants.


I’d like to leave you all with a question — What’s holding you back from being the developer you want to be? How could Dev Diner help?

Snapchat me (devdiner), DM me on Twitter or just send me an email and let me know!

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