By Tom Ffiske // 28 October 2020
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Went bouldering again for the first time in a while, though my arms are weaker than a Twix bar.
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The Main Story
Let's talk about politics and VR/AR. So yeah, not controversial at all. 

I'll say this first: you cannot escape politics. Anyone who says 'politics doesn't interest them' is likely benefitting from a political structure that fits them. Besides, technology has historically interwoven with politics at every stage of human advancement. 

So let's say there are members of the community who push huge advances in VR/AR - which benefits everyone - but also holds views that damages groups of people? Or how about developing a technology that helps immersive professionals, but also signs military contracts that leads to the death of others? As one example, Palmer Luckey founded Oculus - arguably one of the most impactful companies in the industry. But equally, his new company uses AI for domestic surveillance to identify migrants; controversial in today's USA. 

People are divided. Some wouldn't support VR/AR companies if high-ranking employees are tied to controversial contracts. Others differentiate between the person and the company, recognising the business acument of entrepreneurs while disentangling their personal views. As one company said to me, 'you can admire a tool... without having to admire the internal thoughts or opinions of that object’s creator.'

I am honestly undecided, but it's worth a deeper dive. The topic will continue to be relevant as younger consumers want companies to take an ethical stand. Tread carefully, and be kind. If you wish to share your own thoughts, please reply to this email - I am always up for a debate. 
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Other Stories
Update: We now accept webinars in this section! Got a news story? Let me know at tom (at) virtualperceptions (dot) com.
  • VRDays is happening 4 - 6 November. 
    • Check it out here, use this discount code for 25% off ticket prices: VRD20-VIRT-ALLP  
  • The DecaGear VR headset is an interesting new VR headset.
    • It's basically a HP Reverb 2, but cheaper ($450). This would be an astonishing feat considering Deca is a start-up to the same level as Varjo or VRgineers, but hitting the same specs as multinational rivals at a (comparatively) better price. The team also worked with Valve for SteamVR integration.
    • The VR headset looks amazing on paper, but I wonder if it meets it promises. I look forward to trying it out in 2021. 
  • A new FCC listing appears for an HTC Vive headset.
    • ... Yup, that's all we know. I'm not sure how some websites managed to write whole articles about this.
    • Anyway, we should expect an announcement soon. 
  • China reiterates its strong interest in VR.
    • As Antony Vitillo reports: 'Representatives of the JianXi province and also the Vice Prime Minister Liu He have visited [a VR-related event]... and the Chinese Government has confirmed its strong interest in VR, that is seen as a strategic technology'
    • We should see some fast progress from China over the next five years. 
  • Want a visual way to see VR/AR adoption in the UK?
    • Look no further than PwC's nifty website that can be broken down in to categories like geography and technology. Very cool. 
    • The company is also asking for submissions/examples of how organisations are using VR/AR in the UK and abroad, to keep the map current and up to date.
  • Taqtile's Manifest platform got some new updates.
    • The updates help workers collaborate better. Click here for the full details. 
  • A lot of people are still annoyed about Facebook's mandatory login when using the Oculus Quest 2. 
    • Yet despite this, the Oculus Quest 2 is selling very well. Which strikes me that, for all the loud bickering on Reddit, most people don't care about it when they buy the headset. 🤷
    • Having said that, the Oculus Quest 2 jailbreak is... potentially problematic. 
  • Unity unveiled more plans about OpenXR. 
  • Digital Catapult is running a webinar called 'Designing for a touch-free world'.
    • Learn about UX, interaction, and gesture control design techniques for building touch-free interfaces and advertising products.
    • Register here
  • Speaking of webinars - my own webinar is later today.
  • Want to use a VR headset to train footballers?
    • Rezzil ported their VR training tool to Steam on PC. Rezzil Player 21 is the consumer version of Rezzil's VR tech that simulates drills and training exercises used by professionals. I am personally unsure whether the VR headset impedes comfort, but looks cool regardless! 
  • HTC and the V&A worked together to make Alice: Curiouser & Curiouser.
  • Raindance Immersive is in full swing from today!
    • I've made it clear over the last few years that Raindance Immersive is one of my favorite VR-related festivals. It is very much worth your time.
    • There's a lot going on, so consider taking a look here
  • Clarification: The MK Live and Broomx.
    • My first ever clarification! Very exciting.
    • Firstly, I linked the wrong YouTube video about it; the correct one is here. Sorry about that. 
    • Second, I said that 'I can’t vouch for its quality (yet)'. This could have been worded differently, but I stand by the sentiment; I will not recommend anything to my readers if I do not know yet how good it is. The Broomx team has since invited me to their London showroom to try it out in the future, and I look forward to seeing how it works. 
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That's all for this week! Want to have a chat, let me know about a news story, or talk business? Either reply to this email, or contact tom (at) virtualperceptions (dot) com. Have an excellent day! 

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