Welcome to Field of view, your number one place to catch up on the news in the worlds of augmented and virtual reality.
There’s plenty to get stuck into this week, starting with a big acquisition in the AR space, a new development in helping us feel VR, plus we have an awesome VR experience to try out once you’re done reading the latest news.
Essential reading: Best AR smartglasses to buy
Remember, you can read all of the other wearable tech news from the week in our dedicated section here.
Verizon buys Jaunt’s AR tech
Verizon has made a fairly major play by buying up all the software and technology created by augmented reality startup Jaunt, although it’s unclear whether it’s actually bought the business itself.
Jaunt started life as a VR video business, before pivoting to AR, and currently specialises in the volumetric projection of images of humans. That tech basically manifests in the form of Snapchat filters that can show miniature versions of your friends dancing as AR assets.
The move sees the mobile giant delving deeper into immersive entertainment and shared viewing experiences. Jaunt’s tech could present a shortcut for streaming individuals’ presence in virtual spaces.
VR could help veterans with PTSD
The capacity for VR to help people suffering from painful conditions is starting to become clearer over time, and the latest under the microscope is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Researchers at Cardiff University have been running trials, in a bid to help military veterans suffering from PTSD to overcome triggering images and experiences. The subjects strap into a harness and walk on a treadmill through simulations of the environments that might trouble them.
There’s no headset involved as yet, but apparently two-thirds of subjects have reported that they noticed an improvement in their symptoms. If this leads to an easy treatment plan that uses VR, it could mark a step forward in our ability to help sufferers of PTSD.
Synthetic skin could help you feel touches in VR
Haptic feedback vests and suits are all well and good, but the elusive dream of being able to feel touches when you interact with virtual worlds is still a bit of a way off for most people.
Now, a team of researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have published a look at a type of wearable “skin” they’ve been working on that could let users feel touches.
The artificial skin is just 500 nanometers thick, with sensors and pneumatic actuators that can help it give the feedback feeling of touches. This won’t be something that hits the consumer market anytime soon, but is still a pretty beguiling prospect.
Could augmented reality become typical in flight training?
VR and AR both have a range of potential applications in professional spaces, as is well known by now. One of the more glamorous examples is in the field of flight training.
Red 6 Aerospace is backed by the US Air Force, and says that its tech could see pilots in actual planes, flying for real, train against augmented reality enemies, dogfighting or running missions. This could make their training all the more effective and realistic, compared to admittedly advanced simulators.
This would also free up a set of pilots who have to act as aggressors in training manoeuvres to run their own missions, according to the company. Chalk this up as a futuristic idea that might not be as far away as all that.
Try this: Explore the palace at Versailles in VR for free
We’ve always been convinced that some of the most awe-inspiring VR experiences are those rooted very much in the real world, letting users see things they’d otherwise never have access to.
Google has stepped up to provide a textbook example, by taking charge of a monumental photogrammetry project at the Château de Versailles. The team gathered over four terabytes of data, and some 15 billion pixels of textures, all coming together in a virtual reality tour of the famous building.
The experience is available now for free via Steam, and we can’t wait to try it out.