Top 5 Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality News 💥 💥 💥

BMW builds cars faster & cheaper w/ VR, Disney uses VR for research but CEO wants AR at theme parks, get inside Ready Player One, survey: people love their VR devices, investment & funding wrapup, and more…

photo source: bmw.co.uk

1) BMW USES VR TO BUILD CARS FASTER & CHEAPER

Originally announced in the spring of 2016, BMW has been using VR to cut costs and expedite development. The German auto manufacturer evaluates design features in virtual reality before building prototypes in actual reality, using the famous high-quality physics-based rendering power of Unreal for the game engine and using the HTC Vive for the VR hardware. BMW has also baked in the ability for team members to interact together in the same virtual environment, no matter where they are in the world.

Related Stocks: BMW ($BMW.TI), HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)

2) DISNEY USES VR FOR RESEARCH WHILE CEO SAYS WE’LL SEE AR AT THEME PARKS

Confirming theme park purists’ predictions that VR headsets are unlikely to be seen at Disney’s parks (at least anytime soon), CEO Bob Iger instead said that we can look forward to mixed reality attractions. Iger also said he spends his Tuesday afternoons wearing a some kind of head-mounted device at the Disney engineering lab (prompting speculation that he’s referencing their partnership with Magic Leap, which was announced back in June). To further mess with our minds, Disney Research just released a paper about their findings on human perception and motor skills… which reveals that Disney researchers have been using a VR system to observe how users catch a ball in real life.

Related Stocks: The Walt Disney Company ($DIS)

3) VR WILL LET YOU GET INSIDE READY PLAYER ONE

If you haven’t yet read Ernest Cline’s futuristic thriller novel Ready Player One, get on board. Not only does the book’s action mostly take place in a virtual reality world, but Steven Spielberg has been working on a film adaptation that we should expect in spring of next year. Now we don’t have just a movie to look forward to — we’ll be able to get inside Ready Player One with VR. A new, strategic partnership between Warner Bros. Pictures and HTC Vive means that we’ll get multiple VR experiences related to the RP1 world, and this content will be available through Viveport, Vive’s Viveport Arcade (their platform for location-based entertainment, and will go on the road to meet us at big consumer events.

Related Stocks: Time Warner Inc. ($TWX), HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)

4) THE SURVEY SAYS: PEOPLE LOVE THEIR VR DEVICE

A recent consumer sentiment survey shows that a majority of recent buyers of VR devices state that they are “very satisfied” of their device, and that the performance exceeds expectations. Interestingly enough, non-gaming content measured higher than gaming content and music and travel experiences were at the top of the stack. Digging into the numbers, 61% report that the device works better than expected, 89% said they were Satisfied or Very Satisfied, 85% believe their device was Good Value, and perhaps most unexpected: 90% of purchasers rated their device Easy or Very Easy to use.

photo source: HTC

5) INVESTMENT & FUNDING WRAPUP

Announced back in July of last year with $100M in cash, Vive X is a global virtual reality accelerator program that exists to fund and train startups in San Francisco, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Taipei. Starting off with a group of 33 startups, the program focuses on enterprise, commerce, education, health, social, and esports — and the program just announced 30 additions to the program and a new location: Israel. This new batch of accepted companies brings the total of companies funded by the Vive X program to over 60 — establishing the program as one of the leading VR investors in the world.

Related Stocks: HTC Corporation ($2498.TW)

…and just a few more

6 AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY FOR AR INVESTORS

ENTERPRISE-FOCUSED VR MARKET TO GROW TO OVER $9B BY 2021

DOCTORS IN OHIO USE VR TO TRAIN FOR TRAUMA CARE

PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS IN UTAH USE VR FOR TRAINING

AUSTRALIAN MINING OPERATIONS IMPROVED WITH VR/AR

THEME PARKS LOVE VR AND AR, BUT HOW?

THE VOID GOES TO DUBAI

BE A FIGHTING ROBOT ON NEW VR ATTRACTION IN SOUTH KOREA

AMAZON MIGHT OPEN AR SHOPPING STORES

ADOBE PUTS THE HOLOLENS TO WORK IN RETAIL ANALYTICS

UK MOBILE NETWORK O2 TELEFONICA LAUNCHES MUSIC & RUGBY VR VIDEOS

WATCH NCAA MARCH MADNESS IN VR

GET GHOSTBUSTERS VR ON PLAYSTATION VR

SEPHORA UPDATES THEIR AUGMENTED REALITY BEAUTY APP

BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO STORYTELLING IN VR

STORE NO. 8 IS WAL-MART’S NEW VR/AR INCUBATOR

WILL WE HEAR FROM FACEBOOK’S SECRET HARDWARE TEAM SOON?

GORILLAZ RELEASE NEW MUSIC VIDEO, AND IT’S IN VR

This post originally appeared on VRScout.com — if you’d like to get this weekly update of the entire VR/AR industry delivered directly to your inbox, sign up here.

Malia Probst is Director of Brand Development for VRScout, one of the world’s leading immersive media companies, and host of the VRScout Report podcastwhich covers all the news in the VR/AR industry. Also check out her interviews with leaders in the virtual reality and augmented reality industry on the Real Virtual Show podcast.