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Snap’s New Lens on The Obama Portraits Tour and Black American Portraits Exhibitions at the LACMA. (Snap)
Snap’s New Lens on The Obama Portraits Tour and Black American Portraits Exhibitions at the LACMA. (Snap)

This Week in ARExperience

December 23, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig

There’s no shortage of quality XR news this week. Which is good, because ARExperience is taking a break for the holidays next week. So, soak in all of this week’s quality content, and we’ll see you in 2022.

  • The XR Research Awards announced that they have received an “incredibly overwhelming” eighty-nine proposals but that they expect to announce winners within the week. The organization provides funding and support to researchers studying the intersection of XR and human behavior.
  • FIFA began testing “Video Assistant Referees” or “VAR.” The software tracks players on the field and uses augmented reality to help referees make more accurate calls on the field. A similar system is used in sports to illustrate calls that have already been made, but using the system to make the initial call is a new move.
  • The AltspaceVR comedy show Failed to Render announced a special holiday show featuring Israel Garcia and Al Gonzales as well as host Kyle Render. The show, “Polar Wonderland” is taking place live in AltspaceVR from 10 p.m.EST to midnight on Christmas night.
VR Platform Rec Room closed a $145 million funding round. (Rec Room)
VR Platform Rec Room closed a $145 million funding round. (Rec Room)
  • Video calling app Rakuten Viber has released analysis of the use of their AR lens feature since it was launched in partnership with Snap earlier this year. The analysis consists of information amalgamated from the 7.3M users that have experimented with lenses since June. Among the findings:

    • Women are more likely to use AR, making up 56% of Lens users despite being only 46% of Viber users. Female users were also slightly more likely to capture and send media within the app than male users.

    • While app use generally, and AR use in particular, will often be associated with younger users, the demographics using Viber AR effects turn this on its head with the largest number of users being 30-40 (23%) followed by 40-60 (18%) followed by the under-17 crowd (13%).

The major takeaway this week is that almost all of the news is strictly based around social experiences. No big hardware, no pure tech plays. Snap, Rakuten Viber, Rec Room, Meta, AltspaceVR, all social apps doing what they do best.

That’s not to overlook the first two articles on our list this week. Both of these points highlight how XR is working its way into age-old institutions like sports and education. We tend to look at XR as something entirely new. In many ways it is, but in most ways it is only empowering us to do the things that already make us human.

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