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Abba to reunite in Virtual Reality, Microsoft’s $299 headset, Vine is dead and much more

What We're Reading

Welcome to another edition of What We’re Reading, Marxent’s weekly series featuring staff members highlighting the best articles, videos, music and more they saw over the prior 7 days. This week, those finds included stories from the L.A Times, The Verge, YouTube and many more. Up first, it’s …

The Best Thing We Read This Week …

What if your favorite band could reunite and go on a virtual tour, allowing them to play shows without the rigors of travel that drive so many musical acts into retirement? Leave it to a group of Swedish poppers to lead the way. According to the L.A. times, “ABBA is reuniting after 34 years to collaborate with British music impresario Simon Fuller on a still-to-be-specified project that is expected to surface in 2018, various U.K. news outlets are reporting.” While this will be exciting to Abba fans only, it does point the way to a future where everyone can “ride the rail” and catch their favorite band from the front row. Sign us up!

The Best Song We Heard This Week …

Marxent Senior Unity Developer, and everyone’s favorite DJ, Brian Turner is back with a new musical suggestion that comes with a vintage spin. “Time for some new rock with a bit of Classic Rock sound. ‘Roll With The Spirits’ even goes over five minutes, which is rare for a song these days. By the end, I’m in a focused mood wanting to hear it again,” Brian explains. “Sam Roberts Band has been around for a while, but hasn’t had any major hits. They deserve to get at least one.”

But Wait, There’s More …

The cost of getting your hands on a Virtual Reality headset continues to drop, and this week Microsoft “democratized VR with a $299 headset.” We’ll have to see how this technology compares to the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Samsung GearVR, but early word says this is a promising product from Microsoft.

One industry that’s leading the way in adoption of Augmented Reality? Construction.

Can computer code be in bad taste? Linux creator Linus Torvalds thinks so, as explained in this fascinating article shared by Senior Engineer Jeff Cowgill.

Been searching for a research paper on how farm communities accept new ideas? (Just admit it. No one is judging you.) Marxent Project Manager Jo Anne Brenzo has you covered with The Diffusion Process. “It’s interesting that we’re such simple creatures all going through the same phases. However, some of us go through all 5 phases in 5 minutes, others couple takes weeks, months or longer,” she says. “I think this actually probably applies to most ‘things’ in life, not just new innovations. Seems like we probably go through a similar 5 steps when adopting new behaviors.”

The next time you hear someone say, “Yeah, VR and AR are cool, but can you make any money with them?” Just show them this, as shared by Marxent Director of Sales Jeff Morrow.

Will pediatricians of the future use Virtual Reality to distract their tiny patients from the sting of a booster shot? Clinics and Sweden are trying out the technique now. And no, you adults reading this, you should probably not need to be distracted when getting a simple Flu shot (you big baby).

Vine is dead. Long live Vine.

Could whatever it is that Magic Leap is making in South Florida be slated for release in 2017 — and will we get a sneak peek at the most talked about non-product of the year at CES in January? Business Insider weighs in

And Finally …

You didn’t think we were going to wrap up without a new robot-related story from Marxent Software Engineer Ken Moser, did you? Last week, Ken introduces us to Kengoro, the robot that sweats. The week before that it was the awesome yet hilarious bot used by the NFL to help players practice tackling. This week, it’s a robotic superhero! (Ok, kind of…) “The story is actually to a compendium of videos from research submissions to the 2016 International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROI), however there is one video in particular (above) regarding what I think is a very innovative and smart design for a hand based haptic interface for VR,” Ken explains. “The apparatus is called the Wolverine, since it looks like the Marvel character’s claws, but the claws are actually electric actuators that provide force feedback for grasping virtual objects.” So, will we be seeing this feature somewhere in the near future? “I wouldn’t be surprised if similar designs were adopted by HTC or Oculus in the future for peripheral controllers,” Ken says.

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