Tag Archives: AR

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite AR Game now available in Australia and New Zealand

Augmented Reality company Niantic has announced the beta launch of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in Australia and New Zealand. In development since 2017, this new AR game offers gameplay similar to Niantic’s other games Pokémon GO and Ingress. According to the developer:

Harry Potter: Wizards Unite combines content and characters you know and love from both the original Harry Potter series and the Fantastic Beasts films in a unique Wizarding World experience. It’s up to you to ready your wand, prepare your potions, brush up your spells and help prevent The Calamity from exposing the secrets of the wizarding world.

As you step outside and explore the world, the Map will reveal Traces of magic, highlighting the location of magical Foundables. While these Traces can be found all around you, certain Foundables may be more likely to appear at various types of real-world locations including parks, banks, municipal buildings, college campuses, libraries, monuments, zoos, art galleries, and more. Cast a variety of spells to overcome the Confoundable magic, keep the magical Foundables safe, and send them back to the wizarding world. By returning Foundables, you’ll earn unique rewards that can be tracked in the game Registry.

More information and signups are available at the website.



Roy Kachur is a Media Technologist, IT Architect, and VR Evangelist. He has worked in the information technology field since the 1990’s, and in the media industry since 2014. He believes that VR will play a significant role in the future of media.


XR Association Releases Starter Guide for Developers

The XR Association (XRA) has released “XR Primer 1.0: A Starter Guide for Developers,” which offers design guidance and creates an industry-wide standard for VR and AR developers.

In their October 29th press release, the XRA explains the objective of this new guide:

“As augmented and virtual reality experiences continue to integrate more deeply into recreational, public health, workforce training, scientific, and other facets of all of our lives, the XR Association will continue to partner closely with developers,” remarked Debbie Girolamo, XRA President and Senior Corporate Counsel at HTC VIVE. “The Starter Guide for Developers creates a set of standards and a common language through which developers can optimize their processes and, ultimately, the end-user experience.”

According to their FAQ, the XRA “is an evolution of the Global Virtual Reality Association (GVRA) and its mission. The XRA recently expanded its industry representation to reflect the broader XR industry, which encompasses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), as well as future XR technologies developed in the constantly evolving XR space. This transition, including a new name — the XR Association — has provided the association with the opportunity to relaunch as a more influential body and strong resource for stakeholders globally.”

The XR Association represents headset and technology manufacturers across the broad XR industry, including Google, HTC VIVE, Facebook and Oculus, Samsung, Sony Interactive Entertainment, and STARVR CORP.

The XR Primer 1.0 developer guide, along with other research and standards, can be found here.

Virtual Reality Pioneer Jaunt Gives Up on VR

Let’s talk about this.

In a blog post released on Monday, cinematic VR pioneer Jaunt (formerly JauntVR) announced they are laying off a significant portion of staff and re-focusing on Augmented Reality (AR). They will be “winding down a number of VR products and content services in the coming weeks.”

The post, entitled “The Future of Jaunt is AR,” provides the company’s rationale for making this change:

Today we announced that Jaunt will be focusing efforts on further developing technologies that allow for the scaled creation of AR content. This decision is driven by the exciting initial customer response to our recent advancements in volumetric XR technology and the experience and capabilities of our world-class team.

We believe these changes will allow us to concentrate on driving innovation and value in products that will continue to be at the forefront of the immersive industry and drive the highest long-term company value. Jaunt will continue to build innovative software utilizing our strong engineering team in San Mateo and our new Chicago-based engineering colleagues who joined us as part of our recent acquisition of the Personify Teleporter technology.

This is not only disappointing, but ultimately misguided. Unfortunately, in the early days of 360 video, Jaunt lost traction to competitor NextVR, who established key partnerships with sports leagues and entertainment companies to produce live content in virtual reality. Jaunt’s professional 360 camera (the Jaunt One) was too expensive and unwieldy to be practical for use in the field. Consumer 360 cameras and “prosumer” models like the Insta360 Pro quickly established themselves as equally capable for the job at hand.

Understandably, Jaunt needs to stay in business and is looking to stay relevant by pivoting to AR (which currently appears to be “hotter” than VR). But abandoning VR completely sends an unfortunate message to the immersive media community that VR is no longer relevant. Location based VR continues to develop rapidly on a global basis. These venues offer tremendous opportunities for licensing partnerships with major media companies and other content providers.

VR video continues to offer enormous potential for media and entertainment, especially as consumer headsets such as the Oculus Go become more affordable and available. NextVR has just announced their new schedule of NBA basketball games for 2018-19, including availability in Oculus Venues (the shared VR video application for Oculus headsets).

As one of the early pioneers of “Cinematic VR” (a term they coined), Jaunt made many important contributions during the new renaissance of virtual reality. It’s too bad they didn’t hang on for the long haul.


Roy Kachur is a Media Technologist, IT Architect, and VR Evangelist. He has worked in the information technology field since the 1990’s, and in the media industry since 2014. He believes that VR will play a significant role in the future of media.


USA Network Releases Mobile AR App for “The Purge”

Released as a companion mobile game for their new horror TV series, The Purge augmented reality (AR) app is now available for Apple and Android devices.

The Purge AR app allows you to “scan your space with your phone and then add defenses to make your room Purge-worthy (think: barbed wire and bear traps).” Once your room is protected, you will face increasingly difficult stages and earn better objects to safeguard your environment.

Based on the hit movie franchise from Blumhouse Productions, The Purge revolves around a 12-hour period when all crime, including murder, is legal. Set in an altered America ruled by a totalitarian political party, the series follows several seemingly unrelated characters living in a small city. As the clock winds down, each character is forced to reckon with their past as they discover how far they will go to survive the night. New episodes air every Tuesday night on USA at 10/9c!

More information and download links are available at USA’s website.


Spacial Reality Exhibit Explores the Future of XR

The sp[a]ce art gallery in Pasadena, CA will host “Spatial Reality: Artists Explore the Future of XR,” from October 12th to 28th.

Curated by Jesse Damiani, the exhibit will feature works by artists exploring VR, AR, and MR including Wesley AllsbrookBill BarminskiCan BüyükberberNancy Baker CahillIsaac “Cabbibo” CohenJorge R. GutierrezDrue KataokaKevin MackSteve Teeps, Michael Scroggins and more.

According to Damiani:

XR—a spectrum of ‘extended’ reality that includes virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)—three-dimensionalizes the virtual world. After a half-century of computing in 2D, we are suddenly adding in the full expression of our bodies and our understanding of space.

The advent of mainstream immersive technologies is the single greatest amplification of human capability since the discovery of fire, a paradigm shift so massive we’ve only just begun to taste its impact. Marshall McLuhan famously claimed that “the medium is the message”—that the “message” inherent in any technology is the change of pace or pattern it introduces into human reality.

Further information is available at https://space.ayzenberg.com/


SCAD Offers Immersive Reality Degree program at Savannah Campus

The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is now offering a BFA degree in Immersive Reality.

According to SCADworks, the official SCAD blog:

SCAD is at the vanguard of augmented, virtual and mixed reality education. In 2017, the university announced SCAD+, a business launcher for gaming and digital products. The yearlong entrepreneurial program is designed to help SCAD alumni develop viable, tech-driven businesses. One of the inaugural SCAD+ projects is the VR game “TSA Frisky,” created by alumni Remy Bustani (B.F.A., sequential art, 2017), Preston O’Bryan (B.A., interactive design and game development, 2017), and Christian Willet (B.A., interactive design and game development, 2017), where players enter the role of airport security agents and earn points while demonstrating the practical everyday applications of the technology.

The following courses are offered in the Bachelor of Fine Arts, Immersive Reality major curriculum:

  • ARVR 110 Immersive Revolution: Augmented to Virtual Reality
  • MOME 130 Motion Media Design Techniques I
  • SNDS 208 Immersive Sound Design
  • VSFX 210 Digital Visual Effects
  • ITGM 236 Core Principles: Game Art
  • ANIM 250 Digital Form, Space and Lighting
  • ITGM 220 Core Principles: Programming
  • MOME 221 Virtual Reality for Motion Media
  • ITGM 266 Core Principles: Game Tech
  • ARVR 300 Game Engine Applications for Immersive Computing
  • ARVR 305 Visual Effects for Immersive Environments
  • FILM 343 Visual Storytelling: Virtual Reality to Interactive
  • SDGM 310 Integration of Immersive Realities
  • TECH 312 Advanced Application Scripting
  • ITGM 347 Applied Principles: Physical Computing
  • VSFX 375 Advanced Programming for Visual Effects
  • ARVR 440 Immersive Reality Professional Portfolio
  • ARVR 471 Immersive Game Lab
  • ARVR 472 Immersive Animation Lab
  • ARVR 473 Immersive Film Lab
  • ARVR 474 Augmented Reality Lab
  • ARVR 475 Immersive Innovation Lab

More information is available at SCAD’s website.


Augmented reality adoption by TV broadcasters

NewscastStudio, the Trade Publication for Broadcast Production, recently provided highlights from their roundtable with broadcast solution providers, to discuss the use of augmented and virtual reality in broadcast television.

Here are some of the key comments from providers such as Avid, Brainstorm, Vizrt, Full Mental Jacket, and ChyronHego:

“We’re definitely on the front end of the adoption curve for VR. This is mainly due to the expense of HMDs (which is coming down), the growing number of fragmented platforms, and the lack of compelling content, which can be costly to produce. All of these factors are contributing to the slow rate of growth in VR. You could make the case that AR is further behind VR,” said Ray Thompson, Director of Broadcast & Media Solutions at Avid. “While social platforms like Snapchat have added some basic levels of AR, and Pokémon Go has helped raise AR’s profile, we primarily see AR being used in broadcast as a way to augment and enhance storytelling for news, weather, and sports.”

“I think it’s a little soon to expect mass adoption of AR/VR solutions, but we are seeing progress. The availability of flexible and reliable optical tracking systems like the Mo-SyS Star Tracker, together with the recent publicity around the use of the Unreal engine in AR/VR applications, is beginning to have a real impact,” Olivier Cohen, Senior Product Manager at ChyronHego.

NewscastStudio plans to share more of their responses as part of their Focus on Augmented and Virtual Reality.

New York Times to offer Mixed Reality Content for Magic Leap One

In a press release on August 8, 2018, the New York Times announced that its immersive journalism content will be available for the “Magic Leap One Creator Edition” mixed reality headset:

The Times’s first offering for “Magic Leap One Creator Edition” is a mixed reality (MR) version of its immersive report inviting readers to explore the damage caused by the Fuego volcano eruption in the Guatemalan village of San Miguel Los Lotes. Through MR and accessible via Helio, Magic Leap’s web browser for 3D and spatial web experiences, The Times is able to transport a life-sized piece of the scene to readers, conveying the scale of this natural disaster in a visceral way, and allowing users to examine it as if they were there.

The New York Times continues to explore the latest technology in immersive media. In previous projects, they established themselves as early adopters of virtual reality, 360-degree video, and augmented reality. Most notably in November 2015, the Times distributed over a million cardboard VR headsets to home subscribers in conjunction with the launch of their 360-video “NYT VR” app.

Journalism offers unlimited opportunities to benefit from the features of immersive technology. As more VR, AR, and MR devices become available and affordable, the content produced by news organizations like the New York Times will continue to reach increasing numbers of consumers. However, producing content that’s compelling and accessible is only part of the equation. It’s critical to raise awareness and promote immersive media to the public at large, to ensure that talented journalists and technologists (like those at the Times) can continue to create these amazing experiences.


Roy Kachur is a Media Technologist, IT Architect, and VR Evangelist. He has worked in the information technology field since the 1990’s, and in the media industry since 2014. He believes that VR will play a significant role in the future of media.

BREAKING NEWS: Magic Leap One AR Headset Now Available for $2,295

From Magic Leap’s announcement today (Aug. 8th, 2018):

Calling all developers, creators and explorers – Magic Leap One Creator Edition is now available. Brace yourself because a universe of creative possibilities is expanding right in front of you.

Join us on a mind-expanding journey into the outer reaches of human creativity. Magic Leap One Creator Edition is a spatial computing system that brings digital content to life here in the real world with us. Its unique design and technology lets in natural light waves together with softly layered synthetic lightfields, enabling creators to build unbelievably believable interactive experiences and create worlds within our world. And this is just the beginning.


« Older Entries