Surgeons Are Using VR To Save Lives

Unity controversy, Meta's legs, Vision Pro updates and more...

Good morning folks!

Whazzup spatial people! We’re finally back from our vacation and are here to give you biweekly nuggets on the VR industry. We wanted to resume on Sep 8 but, you know, life got in the way. Thanks for holding on. But man, what a week it has been for VR. Let’s dive right in!

Headlines for people in a hurry:

  • 🦵 Meta Finally Gives Their Avatars Virtual Legs

  • 🥽 VR Engine Unity Reverts Plans To Charge Game Devs More

  • 🍎 Apple Event Proves They’re Going All-In On The Vision Pro

  • 👨‍⚕️ Surgeons Are Now Training In VR Before The Actual Surgery

Read time: 3 minutes



Unity To Charge Game Devs An “Install Fee” Per Download (Promises Changes After Backlash)

Unity’s official pricing tiers

Last week, while we were away, Unity successfully created the most controversial announcement of the year in VR (more scandalous than Meta discontinuing the Quest Pros or Tech Crunch saying VR is dead).

In a blog post last Tuesday, Unity announced that they’re going to charge a new “Runtime Fee” for every install from Jan 1, 2024. For instance, game studios on the Personal or Plus plan that have crossed 200k lifetime downloads and $200k in earnings must pay an additional $0.20 for every new app install from here on.

So what’s all the fuss about?

You see, Unity is the most popular platform used for developing VR experiences. Forcing developers to pay an additional $0.20 on already thin profit margins is going to hurt almost all VR game developers. Think of free games like Rec Room and VR Chat that monetize only a fraction of their users and you’ll see how it could hurt their business models.

However, after unanimous backlash, Unity said they’ll make some changes in their policy and will share a further update "in a couple of days."


Lord Zuck Hath Given His Disciples Legs!

FINALLY! After almost a year of announcing we’ll get our legs in VR, Meta has fulfilled their promise, albeit a bit late.

Last week, users who entered Horizon Worlds were surprised to see their friends’ avatars with legs as well as their own avatar’s legs in the mirror. However, if you look down, you still can’t see your own legs without a mirror. (Oh come on!)

Why this partial visibility, you ask? Well, the current Meta Quest 2 and other Quest VR headsets can't track users' leg movements, hence the legs rendered don't mimic the actual movements, which can be a tad disconcerting for some. Meta's CTO, Andrew Bosworth, highlighted that having avatar legs that don't match real ones can be quite unsettling, but hey, at least others can see and appreciate your new virtual pins.

This leggy update, which seemed to have been in the pipeline since last year's grand announcement by Mark Zuckerberg, is currently limited to Horizon Worlds and the Quest Home area.


A New Generation Of Doctors Are Saving More Lives With VR

Source: Kettering Health Dayton

In a remarkable stride for medical education, Dr Jake Shine, an orthopedic surgery resident, recently utilized virtual reality (VR) to prepare for a successful shoulder replacement surgery. Using a Meta Quest 2, he and a supervising physician practiced the procedure in a 3D simulation, an exercise he repeated twice daily before the operation. This meticulous preparation, Shine believes, allowed the surgery to proceed more smoothly and swiftly, offering a zero-risk environment to hone his skills.

This incident underscores the burgeoning role of VR in the healthcare sector, with industry leaders and educational institutions recognizing its potential to enhance medical training through hyper-realistic 3D models. Notably, Kettering Health Dayton in Ohio has integrated VR into its curriculum for first-year orthopedic residents, a trend expected to permeate all levels of education soon.

However, the journey to fully integrate VR into healthcare is still underway. Current VR applications, like the widely-used PrecisionOS, require regular updates to align with evolving medical standards. Moreover, the existing hardware, though continually improving, is deemed too cumbersome by many practitioners, signalling the necessity for further advancements in this promising intersection of technology and healthcare.



Apple Teases Vision Pro, Cook Says He Loves Watching Ted Lasso On It

Courtesy: Apple

Apple couldn’t hold back talking about their big VR device release next year, even in an iPhone event. Cook started the show by saying that there has been a lot of interest from the developer community regarding the Vision Pro and that they’re on track to ship early next year.

Later, the iPhone 15 Pro was showcased to have a new feature called “Spatial Video” where you can shoot 3D, realistic videos on the iPhone and relieve those memories on the Vision Pro. In a recent interview, the Apple CEO said he loves to watch Ted Lasso on the Vision Pro.

🖐️ Nobody Wants Quest Pros: With Quest Pros sitting untouched on shelves, thanks to a hefty price tag and a Quest 3 release right around the corner, Meta decided to give away Pros to attendees at the Roblox Developer Conference.

🎮 Dead & Buried Is Killed: Meta is killing two Oculus Quest launch titles. The virtual pet app Bogo as well as the multiplayer shooter Dead And Buried II will cease to exist after 15 March 2024.

🤖 Soul Covenant Announcement: Arriving next year, this exciting title is set in a dystopian Japan and pits humans against machines.

👻 Who You Gonna Call? :Ghostbusters VR’ co-op game is coming to Quest 2 & PSVR 2 and is set to launch on October 26th.



Air Force Training VR Tech Bags $90 Million

HTX Labs, a company specializing in immersive training technology, has recently secured a contract worth $90 million with the U.S. Air Force.

This collaboration, which has been ongoing for over five years, aims to expedite the delivery of digital classrooms and lessons to facilitate immersive training across the Air Force and Space Force.

The contract encompasses the provision of various training support solutions, including virtual assets, 3D models, and interactive digital classrooms. HTX's EMPACT platform, a central element in this contract, offers a cyber secure, cloud-based environment that enables the creation and modification of immersive lessons with minimal coding knowledge.

This initiative, expected to be completed by September 30, 2026, signifies a step forward in leveraging technology to enhance training efficiency and preparedness in national security missions.



VR To Boost Farming Productivity

Have a great week folks.

Once again, glad to be back. Regular programming will resume from today, so expect our biweekly VR tidbits on Tuesday and Friday

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