Field of view: Apple explores optical system for future AR and VR headset

Your weekly roundup of all the VR & AR news, games and recommendations

There you are, back again for another edition of Field of view — the only place you need to go to find the big news in virtual reality and augmented reality.

We've been diving deep into the future of running this week at Wareable HQ, so things have been slightly quieter than usual. But that doesn't mean there haven't been some major developments to speak of, including more details regarding Intel's AR smartglasses and news that the Chinese police is using face-recognition glasses to identify criminals.

Read this: Best VR headsets to buy

For everything else that happened this week, put your headset down and read on for all the rest of the news.

Read this: News blips

Apple explores optical system for AR/VR

Get ready, folks, it's time for approximately the 428th Apple patent related to the virtual/augmented realm.

And the latest filing, uncovered by Patently Apple, details an optical system for head-mounted displays. And though augmented reality is briefly mentioned, the priority here appears to be virtual reality. The Cupertino giant notes in the patent that HMDs using the technology could display images for a user, while a micro-display may be free to create images for each eye.

Read next: Apple AR smartglasses investigation

And while patents are hardly the strongest indicator of a company's plans - Apple, particularly, has a list of patents a mile long detailing tech that will never see the light of day - the level of exploration involved within this specific optical system is fascinating. It's highly likely, based upon what we've heard from Tim Cook over the past couple of years, that Apple will skip over VR and shoot straight into AR, but it would appear the platform is still being looked at by the company.

Microsoft HoloLens gets surgical

Imperial College London is using Microsoft's HoloLens headset in operating theatres in order to spot key blood vessels, bones and muscles, with the hope that the device will make procedures safer.

So, for example, during reconstructive surgery, the device will take CT scans that have already been completed and overlay 3D models of them onto a patient's limb. By using this technique, Microsoft indicates that surgeons have been able to successfully move blood vessels from one part of the body to another to help open wounds heal. And if there are multiple surgeons wearing the headset, they can all see the same thing, allowing for collaboration.

Essential reading: HoloLens is set to take over the classroom

So, in a decade's time, if you wake up in hospital and a team of surgeons are all around you wearing headsets and chatting about your holographic limbs, remain calm - everything's above board.

AR tours are coming to the US

AR storytellers ARtGlass are teaming up again with Epson and its Moverio AR smart eyewear in order to provide historical tours in the US.

Previously, the pair have collaborated in order to offer experiences for the likes of palaces and museums in Europe. And as Attractions Magazine reports, the company will now be bringing sites such as James Monroe's Highland and George Washington's Mount Vernon back to life with the technology, representing the first time people in the US have had the opportunity to tap into AR tours.

Watch this: Chasing a jet plane in GTA V

Don't panic, Grand Theft Auto didn't sneak its way onto virtual reality platforms without you knowing, but this video does give you a peek into how the sandbox title would operate in the world of VR.

Here, we see the player riding through the Blaine County plains and hunting down a falling jet. Hold onto your headset, though, because things are pretty fast-paced in this chase-down. Also, here's hoping that we eventually see Rockstar Games bring a legitimate GTA spin-off sooner rather than later.

Play this: Fantastic Beasts goes VR

After the Harry Potter spin-off saw its first film released back in 2016, with a second in the works for later this year, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is now heading to the headsets of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift users.

Framestore VR Studio has developed an experience whereby users will play as protagonist Newt Scamander, completing puzzles, casting spells and exploring the contents of his case.

"Accio, headset," is all we have to say.


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