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SAMSUNG KEEPS US ON OUR VIRTUAL TOES

The little engine that could, the Samsung Gear 360 has auto-stitched our spherical lives for almost a year. Samsung has revealed their next gen Gear 360 camera plans via an FCC filing and it looks to be shrinking a bit and getting a design refresh. Also remember: were soon going to have a Gear VR controller (itll be similar to Google Daydreams controller, which operates like a laser pointer).

WHEN YOUR PHONES PACKAGING IS ACTUALLY A VR HEADSET

Brands have customized Google Cardboards for well, as long as marketing and virtual reality have been in the same sentence (a year and a half, really). Now, the virtual ante is upped: Google is incorporating their VR viewer design into their phone packaging. The tech giant recently published a patent for a phone-shipping unit that is hinged, made of fabric components, and can accommodate your smartphone for VR video experiences. We dont know if this will actually get made, but were sending smoke signals to the mobile VR gods.

DAYDREAM HELPS YOUTUBE OPTIMIZE THEIR 360 VIDEOS

Two Google sister companies are getting cozier. Daydream, Androids virtual reality platform, is helping YouTube explore more efficient ways to distribute 360 content on a 2D screen. YouTube released a VR app in 2016, and is now pouring resources into creating cleaner and more uniform resolution across ALL of its platforms. Clearly virtual reality and 360 videos are an important part of YouTubes strategy: world domination through video.

MAKE STUFF BETTER & FASTER WITH AUGMENTED REALITY

A Harvard Business Review Study says that augmented reality can help manufacturing efficiency in younger as well as aging populations. A recent comparison study from GE of a wind turbine repair test indicates that AR devices in industrial environments can improve performance by 34% on first use. This study is one of many that suggests VR/AR technologies is important in narrowing the skill gap between todays tech-forward jobs and the available labor pool.

INVESTMENT & FUNDING WRAPUP

Based in Sweden, audio company Dirac Research announced a $4.8M funding round to accelerate the development of its spatialized audio. Their Dynamic 3D Audio platform fixes sounds in space and mimics how human ears perceive sound: the audio comes from its location, which stays fixed regardless of how we turn our heads. Investors include the co-founder of Didner & Gerge fund management company, AAC Technologies from China, and others. Swedish music producer and songwriter Rami Yacoub also joined this funding round hes worked with big names like Madonna, One Direction, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and Tiesto.

Smart car tech company WayRay has raised an $18M Series B round, with Alibaba as the lead investor. Look forward to a consumer version of WayRays augmented reality dashboard technology, called Navion, sometime this year. Also coming up: WayRay is partnering with Banma Technologies to create an AR navigation and entertainment system for a Banma car, as a joint venture between Alibaba Group and SAIC, reportedly sometime in 2018.
and a few more

ECOMMERCE + AR APP = 25% CONVERSION RATE BOOST
LOWES LOVES VR
MUSIC-THEMED VR WAS HUGE HIT AT SXSW
BEAUTY & THE BEAST COMES TO VR
THE MUMMY ZERO GRAVITY VR RIDE WAS A WILD FAVORITE AT SXSW
NOW YOU CAN STEP INTO THE WEATHER WITH VR
XBOX COFOUNDER JUST JOINED AN AR COMPANY
POPULAR VR GAME ROBO RECALL COST LESS THAN $5M TO MAKE
THIS VW SELF-DRIVING CAR HAS AI AND AR???

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