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Apple patents AR touch detection using depth-mapping cameras and ML

As the iPhone and iPad have amply demonstrated, much of Apple’s current hardware depends on accurate detection of direct touch inputs — a finger resting against a screen, or in the Mac’s case, on a trackpad. But as people come to rely on augmented reality for work and entertainment, they’ll need to interact with digital objects that aren’t equipped with physical touch sensors. Today, Apple has patented a key technique to detect touch using depth-mapping cameras and machine learning.

By patent standards, Apple’s depth-based touch detection system is fairly straightforward: External cameras work together in a live environment to create a three-dimensional depth map, measuring the distance of an object — say, a finger — from a touchable surface and then determining when the object touches that surface. Critically, the distance measurement is designed to be usable even when the cameras change position, relying in part on training from a machine learning model to discern touch inputs.

You can read more about the patent, here (via VentureBeat)

Inside Valve: Making Half-Life: Alyx for Virtual Reality

Courtesy of Adam Savage’s Tested, the popular YouTube channel, here’s an insight into the development of one of the most awaited VR games in recent months.

Half-Life: Alyx is almost here, the culmination of years of development and experimentation with VR gaming. Back in December, we sat down with Valve’s Robin Walker and Greg Coomer for an in-depth conversation about designing the game to showcase the potential of virtual reality and lessons learned during development. Don’t worry, no game spoilers here!

You can find out more about the game, here (via

Facebook Suggests Rejected Quest Devs Should Join Oculus Start

Oculus Director of Content Ecosystem Chris Pruett has a message for developers not accepted for Oculus Quest store release: join the Oculus Start program.

The Oculus Quest is a completely standalone headset which runs a carefully curated store. To get their games on this store, developers need to send Facebook a pitch document early in development and be accepted. From a practical perspective, think of Quest as a VR console. Some indie developers, including the developers of Crisis VRigade, were even rejected by Facebook more than once without clarity provided as to why.

You can find out more about Oculus Start, here (via Unity3D)

Nreal AR Glasses To Get Controller-Free Hand Tracking Soon

Nreal Light AR glasses will get controller-free hand tracking in a near-future software update, thanks to a partnership with Qualcomm-backed Clay AIR.

Nreal is a China-based company founded in 2017 with the goal of delivering lightweight consumer AR glasses before the major tech companies. Their first product is called Nreal Light. Instead of having on-board processing, the Nreal Light glasses are tethered to either a high end recent Android phone or an Nreal compute pack.

You can read more about the upcoming feature, here (via UploadVR)

The WIRED Guide to Virtual Reality

WIRED recently created a nice, straightforward guide for those interested in Virtual Reality; whether that curiosity is in regards to hardware, software or even the history of the technology.

VR is either going to upend our lives in a way nothing has since the smartphone, or it’s the technological equivalent of trying to make “fetch” happen. The poles of that debate were established in 2012, when VR first reemerged from obscurity at a videogame trade show; they’ve persisted through Facebook’s $3 billion acquisition of headset maker Oculus in 2014, through years of refinement and improvement, and well into the first and a half generation of consumer hardware.

You can read the article, here (via

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