Field of view: Facebook's mind-controlling AR smartglasses take a step forward

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Welcome to Field of view, your weekly review of the big news in VR and AR.

We've got plenty to look over in this edition, including some big news from Facebook concerning the small matter of mind control (no, not that kind). Elsewhere, Prime Video has come to VR headsets while a bit of unity might be coming for VR's app ecosystem.

Read this: Best VR headsets to buy 2019 | Top AR smartglasses you can buy

Remember, you can check our dedicated news section for everything else wearable related. If you only care about all things immersive though, read on.

Facebook has big plans for... mind control?

Field of view: Facebook's mind-control plans take a step forward

We'll stop you there - yes, Facebook's grasp over modern life can sometimes feel pretty mind-controlling as it stands, but this is on the more utopian end of the scale. You'd be in control, not them, basically.

Facebook has funded some major research into brain-computer interfacing. That means the potential ability to control computers and devices with your mind, likely using a wearable that could take the form of a pair of AR glasses. The latest set of results from the research are being published by Nature, but you can get a less scarily-scientific view from Facebook's post on the topic. Due warning, though, it's still pretty scientific.

An important point is that we're still a long way off controlling our devices with our minds - a decade or more at least. But, still, it's exciting to hear that progress is being made.

Amazon brings Prime Video to VR

Field of view: Facebook's mind-control plans take a step forward

Prime Video might not match Netflix's clout, but with Amazon's weight behind it, it's a major player in the streaming scene. Now, Amazon's brought the service to Oculus Go, Quest and Samsung Gear VR devices.

Users can watch the whole catalog of original Prime Video titles immediately upon downloading the new app, a separate download to the standard Prime Video app.

On top of that, the VR app will offer select 360-degree videos as well, starting with a climate change documentary that's sure to be uplifting.

Cross-platform comes to VR apps

Field of view: Facebook's mind-control plans take a step forward

One of the complications of the VR market is the difficulty in producing cross-platform apps, between all the many devices and marketplaces on offer.

OpenXR promises a potential solution by offering a specification that developers can use to create apps that function across different devices and brands. The first official version launched this week, with vocal support from Facebook, HTC, Microsoft and others.

This could hopefully mean that VR headset owners no longer have to be quite so careful when it comes to working out which apps will work with their setup.

Visit the Sistine Chapel in VR

VR's potential to transport users to places they could never or will never visit is one of the best elements of the tech, and this experience from the Siggraph 2019 Immersive Pavilion in LA looks to tick that box with aplomb.

The demonstration looks like it could actually be better in some ways than visiting the Sistine Chapel - the chapel's insanely busy at the best of times in real life. In Il Divino, users can get up close and personal with artwork normally dozens of feet above visitors.

The experience has been built in the Unreal engine, and is going to be released as a free download later this year, which is always nice to hear. Keep an eye on the website to grab it when you can.

Try this: WipEout Omega Collection

Remember when subscriptions to online gaming services didn’t give us free games each month? Hard times, truly. Thankfully, we’re all used to regular doses of gaming freebies now. This month’s Playstation Plus games have just been announced, and include a Playstation VR special.

From 6 August to 2 September members will be able to grab WipEout Omega Collection for free, playable both with and without Playstation VR. If you do have a headset, you’re in for a ride and a half. WipEout is a franchise famous for its feeling of speed, and this entry’s no different.

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