Were you unable to attend Transform 2022? Check out all of the summit sessions in our on-demand library now! Watch here.

Augmented and virtual reality are setting out to accomplish a lot of things. They provide entertainment. Social VR helps us connect to others. Both could be a boon for manufacturing, health, and the enterprise.

But one group of young people is using VR for something different — therapy. Gamers Gift is a nonprofit that brings VR to hospitals and assisted living facilities, giving patients a chance to try out virtual reality for what might be the first time. Cofounder and CEO Dillon Hill says he started it because he wasn’t happy with more standard volunteering opportunities.

“It was just frustrating that the volunteer time I was spending — it felt kind of meaningless. Like, in a hospital we were just doing paperwork instead of actually helping patients,” he told our Stephanie Chan.

It’s encouraging to see that, as folks are making Star Wars VR experiences for Disneyland and investing in other commercial experiences, others remember that social VR can go beyond just virtual meeting places and bring people together to heal.


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And if you can spare a dime, log into Twitch, watch Gamers Gift’s channel, and donate.

For AR/VR coverage, send news tips to Dean Takahashi and Jeff Grubb (for those that cross over into PC gaming). Please send guest post submissions to Rowan Kaiser. Please be sure to visit our AR/VR Channel.

—Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor

P.S. It’s time to steal stuff in VR! Can Jeff be sneaky in a virtual world? He sure as heck can’t in the real one!

From GamesBeat

Firefox 55 arrives with WebVR on Windows, performance panel, and click-to-play Flash

Mozilla today launched Firefox 55 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. The new version includes WebVR support for Windows users, a performance panel, faster startup when restoring multiple tabs, a quicker way to search across various search engines, and click-to-play Flash by default. Firefox 55 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, […]

Why I love the Radeon RX 580 for VR

High-end virtual reality on the PC requires a ton of flexibility and dedication. But you can make it a more enjoyable experience by building your rig with AMD’s Radeon RX 580 video card. It can handle almost any game at 1080p and 60 frames per second, it packs a ton of power for its price, […]

How far are we from interactivity in VR?

There’s an oft-cited quote of Walt Disney’s: “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Were he alive today, it would be interesting to see what he’d make of – and with – modern virtual reality (VR) systems. All VR requires a basic core functionality: The ability to deliver an environment that matches perception. In […]

Bait! fishing game maker Tommy Palm is hooked on mobile VR

Mobile virtual reality is hard, and it isn’t growing as fast as predicted. But Resolution Games CEO Tommy Palm is sticking with it. His company launched the Bait! on the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream VR headsets. Palm, whose company is based in Stockholm, Sweden, made the trek to Seattle last week to speak at the […]

Gamers Gift VR nonprofit is raising money on Twitch to help the sick and elderly

Gamers Gift is a student-run nonprofit that believes in the power of virtual reality. It’s been around for about a year-and-a-half, and in that time, it’s raised over $50,000 and developed ongoing relationships with hospitals and assisted-living facilities, where it hosts monthly VR experiences. Starting today, it’s raising funds on the livestreaming platform Twitch, where […]

Star Wars VR attraction coming to Disneyland and Walt Disney World in 2017

We’ve seen Star Wars experiment with VR, but the sci-fi brand is going to become a full virtual experience at Disneyland and Walt Disney World later this year. The Walt Disney Company is partnering with VR studio The Void to create Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire for its U.S. resorts. The Void is working with […]

Beyond GamesBeat

VR Testing Firm Fishbowl Expands into Augmented Reality

Virtual reality consultancy and testing firm Fishbowl has told UploadVR they have expanded their services to include augmented reality testing. The company produced their first AR usability test with INKHUNTER, an application that allows users to see how a tattoo might look on their body before actually putting ink to skin. Describing the reason behind the expansion, CEO Geoff Skow highlighted the difficulties inherent in AR development, “There’s a huge gap between getting an AR app to work in staged environments and having it work for regular users in a real-life setting. Because everyone’s environment is necessarily unique (lighting conditions, surfaces, phone processors, a million other things) it’s absolutely critical for developers to test in as many different settings as possible.” (via UploadVR)

Unreal Engine 4.17 Adds VR Spectator Screen, ARKit Support

Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4.17 update is here, and it’s got some great new features for VR and AR lovers. Our personal favorite addition is the Spectator Screen for PC VR apps, which reminds us a little of the social screen feature seen on PlayStation VR. It allows people watching others play in VR to see not only what the VR user sees on a 2D display, but also interact within an experience where appropriate. Check it out in action in this video for Ghost Paint. (via UploadVR)

Animating VR Characters in Google Blocks

Last month, Google launched their Blocks VR creation tool, enabling anyone to 3D model low polygon objects with no prior modeling experience required. Although it seemed like a simple app on the surface, after diving in, it became immediately apparent the massive potential Blocks can have as a professional VR creation tool. (via VR Scout)

Asus reveals the ZenFone AR will cost $648, and you can preorder it now at Verizon

Asus’ new ZenFone AR, which supports both Google’s Tango augmented reality tech and its Daydream virtual reality platform, is available for preorder at Verizon for $648 outright or $27 per month on a leasing plan. Asus had been rather quiet about the pricing and availability details of its AR-enabled handset, even refusing to disclose the details at a hands-on press event in San Francisco last week. However, as of today, the product page is up at Verizon and should hopefully have a confirmed ship date sometime soon. The device comes only in a 128GB option. (via The Verge)

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