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Chrome Beta 81 brings augmented reality and NFC support to the web

WebXR is the new version of WebVR, designed to create both virtual reality and augmented reality experiences in your browser. Chrome 81 finally enables augmented reality for everyone, so no flags or other options are required.

This also opens the door to tap-based interactions. A new Web NFC framework lets mobile devices interact with tappable objects, again without using a native app or system-level features.

You can read more about the upcoming Chrome version here (via Engadget): https://www.engadget.com/2020/02/16/chrome-81-beta-ar-nfc/

Quick Look: Apple now lets you shop directly in augmented reality

This week, Apple began rolling out a new update to its Quick Look augmented reality tool, letting iPhone and iPad users check out products in AR and then buy them directly.

Quick Look already let retailers offer an AR preview of their products by uploading a flat sticker or 3D product model so shoppers could see how a product might look in a real-world space.

Now, retailers can add a new button into that AR preview, which could let a customer immediately buy that product using Apple Pay, for example.

You can read more about Apple’s AR changes here (via The Verge): https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/14/21138536/apple-ios-ipad-os-quick-look-ar-augmented-reality-shopping-apple-pay

Half-Life: Alyx release date set for March 23

The long-awaited next Half-Life is coming very soon. Half-Life: Alyx, a VR spinoff that was revealed last year, will launch on March 23rd. Valve previously said that the game would be available sometime in March.

Announced back in November, Alyx is the first new Half-Life game in 13 years, and it’s exclusive to virtual reality platforms. Valve says that it will be a full-length title designed to be played for hours at a time.

You can read more about the latest Valve title here (via The Verge): https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/21/20975423/half-life-alyx-vr-price-release-date-screenshots-trailer-valve-steam

Magic Leap Opens Programs To Extend Support To Developers

Magic Leap understands that the future of AR means empowering creators with the right tools to explore ideas that will push the technology further into the arms of consumers.

Part of that exploration is building and growing a career or business that utilizes AR to its fullest potential. This is why Magic Leap has created two incredible programs that will put the necessary tools into the hands of talented AR creatives all over the globe — including hardware, deep AR knowledge, funding, enterprise customers, and support.

You can read more about the programs here (via VRScout): https://vrscout.com/news/magic-leap-programs-support-developers/

Facebook has acquired Scape Technologies, the London-based computer vision startup

Scape Technologies, the London-based computer vision startup working on location accuracy beyond the capabilities of GPS, has been acquired by Facebook, according to a regulatory filing.

Founded in 2017, Scape Technologies was developing a “Visual Positioning Service” based on computer vision which lets developers build apps that require location accuracy far beyond the capabilities of GPS alone.

The technology initially targeted augmented reality apps, but also had the potential to be used to power applications in mobility, logistics and robotics. More broadly, Scape wanted to enable any machine equipped with a camera to understand its surroundings.

You can read more about the acquisition here, and what it means for AR development (via TechCrunch): https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/08/scapebook/

Humble VR Bundle Available Now!

new VR Humble Bundle is now live, providing an enormous discount on some fantastic VR games such as Superhot VR, Moss, Gorn, Space Pirate Trainer and Budget Cuts.

For those unaware, the Humble Bundle is an online store that bundles several games together, allowing the customer to choose the price they pay while also supporting a charity. While customers can choose to pay as little as $1 for a bundle, a very low payment will typically not include the best games of the bundle. The middle tier, which is usually determined by paying more than the current average price paid for the bundle, provides some good options, while the highest tier, which is reached by paying more than a predetermined amount, will include the ‘best’ games of the bundle.

You can purchase the VR bundle here (via Humble Bundle): https://www.humblebundle.com/games/vr-bundle

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