January VR/AR News #2: AR/VR market growth, social connection and how museums might change

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Google Tango could change how we experience museums.

Google is partnering with museums to enhance visitors’ experiences with its augmented reality platform Tango. Starting with the Detroit Institute of Arts, Google is using the Tango-enabled Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, which is geared towards AR, to bring history to life. “Advanced sensors not usually seen in a phone are used to map depth and scale, which allows digital overlays to be applied more accurately to 3D surfaces.”


NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson.

Tech Crunch outlines how the markets for AR and VR are diverging with AR being the main conduit for growth as mobile VR lags behind the success of products.

A new experiment by Facebook IQ found that VR can aid in social connection, particularily for introverts, with 83 percent responding that they were able to foster real relationships virtually.

To promote the new film “Hidden Figures,” The New York Times Company and IBM are collaborating on Outthink Hidden, an AR app “that’s supposed to help people learn about marginalized doctors, engineers, and scientists.” Users can visit sites in 10 cities to find and learn about American scientific heroes who often go unrecognized for their accomplishments.

Could VR be entering into a phrase of what venture capitalist Sunny Dhillon refers to as the “trough of disillusionment” in which the increased expectations for the technology have yet to be met? While VR headsets and other hardware and software have launched, Nick Wingfield writes in The New York Times that the benefits of these tech developments are still abstract.

For thought: Once again, people are weighing in on whether virtual reality can induce empathy. This time, for NPR’s All Things Considered, Laura Sydell questions if empathy should really be the end goal. 

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