Posted on June 4, 2018 by staff

The Immersive Tech Briefing: Go goal-side with VR


Sports fans are in for a treat following news that the BBC is planning on streaming the World Cup in virtual reality.

To say I wasn’t a footie fan would be an understatement but the prospect of watching a game in VR could even be enough to tempt me.

Fans can tune in for free on the BBC Sport Virtual Reality World Cup app to watch all 33 matches. Anyone hooked up with an iOS or Android device, as well as Gear VR, Oculus Go and Playstation VR headsets, can enjoy the new experience.

Users can switch between viewing the matches from the luxury of a box to getting right in the action behind the goals.

The rise of immersive tech gives people the chance to get up close and personal with the things they care about most – and I’ve never met more passionate people than football fans.

AR you ready for Google Expeditions?

Everyone knows that kids learn best when a subject is made fun – but with time-poor teachers that can be tricky. Enter Google AR Expeditions.

Expedition’s AR tours put children right in the heart of their learning experiences, letting them come (almost) face-to-face with elephants, see a beating heart on the lab bench or walk amongst ancient artefacts from the comfort of their classroom.

Google has been trialling its tech with a small number of students for the last year and is now rolling it out to any compatible android or iPhone which has ARKit or ARCore.

Schools can purchase Expeditions VR and AR kits but going forward it will be important to make sure that it’s not just the most well-off schools that benefit from the newest learning experiences.

Apple takes a bite out of AR

It looks like Apple will be moving into the immersive tech sphere pretty seriously with the news that they’re looking for a 3D user interface engineer to “drive the next generation of interactive experiences for our platform”.

“You will work with some of Apple’s most advanced technologies including the Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) support offered in ARKit and Metal 2,” Apple said in a listing spotted by the eagle-eyed 9to5Mac.

With rumours that Apple wants to have mixed reality glasses ready to roll by 2020, the company’s CEO Tim Cook has personally mentioned how important the tech giant sees AR as.

AR seems to be a big deal for the big tech companies so watch this space – which you could soon be doing through some rather fetching Apple glasses!

VR unlocks memories for people living with dementia

In one of the most touching uses of immersive tech I’ve heard about recently, I was lucky enough to do an interview with the co-founder of Virtu, an immersive tech company using VR to help people living with dementia go back to their youth and unlock their memories.

Arfa Rehman says the inspiration came from looking at a trend in care facilities which are springing up in Scandinavia.

These so-called ‘dementia villages’ are built to look like they’re from the 1940s and 1950s and so provide people with surroundings they were familiar with in times past.

This reminiscence therapy triggers long-term memories in people with dementia which can help with cognitive stimulation, communication, wellbeing and self-esteem and help them connect with people around them.

They’ve seen some great results and have found that it also really excites carers, giving them something to bond over. Sounds pretty amazing to me.

Can VR help you get pregnant?

Undergoing fertility treatment can be an expensive, stressful time – but new research shown at this year’s Euroanaesthesia congress in Copenhagen, suggests VR might be a surprising hero in this area.

A study by Professor Fabienne Roelants, Saint-Luc Hospital, Catholic University of Louvain, Brussels, and colleagues shows, has found that VR sessions before being sedated for IVF treatment can help reduce women’s anxiety and potentially could improve successful pregnancy rate.

The two different types of session offered included a hypnosis session and an underwater walk, both of which created a relaxing atmosphere and helped the women relax.

Although the findings weren’t enough to draw any hard and fast conclusions, the team found that the VR did help reduce anxiety undergoing fertility treamtment, and there was some very tentative evidence this could help them get pregnant.

Elrond to star in first VR full-length movie

Movie experiences are getting more and more immersive. First there was 3D, which made us feel like the action was getting closer, and soon there’s VR, which will make us feel like we’re  actually inside it.

Hugo Weaving – also known as Lord of the Rings’ Elrond and the Matrix’s Agent Smith – is set to be the star of the first full-length movie in VR, and it looks like a nail-biter.

The film is called Lone Wolf and is based on the Joseph Conrad novel The Secret Agent, which is all about fanaticism and terrorism. Users will be fully immersed in the action through smartphone-mounted headsets, and it’s very apt as the main character is constantly filming on his phone.

It’s scheduled for release next year and – much like the 2D/3D releases of films, will have a 2D release alongside the VR version. If all goes according to plan, filming will start as soon as the team hits its $2m funding target.