Welcome one and all to another instalment of Field of View. If this is the first time you've dropped by, we're here to catch you up on what's been happening in the world of VR and AR.
Before we get into all of that, there's also the small matter of what's been happening on the site, including our visit to the Royal Academy of Arts to check out the latest from the Vive Arts program. We also explore how VR porn could boost the sperm stockpile and last but by no means least we reveal our 50 big wearable predictions for 2018. No surprises to hear there's a few VR and AR mentions in that list.
Read this: Top VR games to play in 2017
And we're not done. We've picked out the best of the rest of the news as well as a game you need to play and a vid that'll get you grabbing for your headset.
Read this: News blips and tidbits
Software unlocks VR controls for robots
Okay, we might be slightly over exaggerating the fact that VR controlled robots are going to take over, but new software has now unlocked the ability to remotely guide robots from a distance. It's thanks to work by computer scientists at Brown University who created the software that transfers data between the VR headset and robot over the internet to make the connection happen. It'll allow users to take control of a robot's arms, gripper as well as any onboard camera and sensors, using VR controllers like Vive's ones to manipulate the movement. The system has been made available for free if you fancy trying it out for yourself.
YouTube VR gets the high end VR treatment
Good news Vive owners, the YouTube VR app is now available to download from Steam. Previously only available for Google's Daydream VR headsets, the app has been released in Steam Early Access, so it might be a bit on the buggy side. It'll stay in Early Access in 2018 to iron out any performance issues and is currently only optimised for the Vive (sorry Oculus Rift owners).
Snap wants to make it easier to create some AR fun
This week Snap launched Lens Studio, a developer tool that will now let anyone create its World Lenses experiences to add interactive elements to your videos and photos. The software is available to download for Mac or Windows and signals another big move for Snap into the world of AR.
IKEA employees get a VR shaped Christmas present
The flat-pack furniture specialist is handing out VR headsets to 14,000 of its employees. The forward-thinking company has already shown an eagerness to embrace both VR and AR to improve shopping experiences so it looks like this is a move to ensure that those working in its stores have a better understanding of those experiences. Or maybe they are just feeling really generous this year. Probably the first one.
VR to help cricketers train against the world's best
A team at Queen's University Belfast is trialling a VR setup that will help batsmen get a better sense of what it's like facing the game's best bowlers. So it'll let you know what it's like to staring down a delivery from Mitchell Johnson in his prime or trying to contain a spinner from the sub continent. It's already been trialled by Irish first-class players and there's positive noises coming from the ECB about its potential. If only the England players had this handy before they jetted out to Australia last month.
L'Oréal taps into VR for recruitment
The cosmetic giant is the latest company to embrace virtual reality. It has announced it's going to be using the tech to improve how it recruits graduates and interns. The experience will apparently take candidates on virtual tour of L'Oréal HQ, where they will be required to complete scenarios that will help assess personality and situational judgement.
"We anticipate that the Virtual Reality (VR) experience has the potential to offer a vital layer of insight into the candidates' character and decision-making skills whilst presenting the candidates with an exciting and palpable real world experience, said Alex Bennett, graduate talent acquisition manager at L'Oréal UK & Ireland.
Play this: Front Defense: Heroes
Now technically this was launched at the back end of last week, but we only got to play it this week and we think its worthy of some FOV love. Especially from a team that doesn't have a great deal of love for non-VR shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield. But Fantahorn Studio makes this FPS set in the final days of WW2 more fun than intense when you team up as the Axis or the Allies.
You really need to communicate well as a team of two or even five to take out the opposition, using the VR locomotion to teleport you to more strategic positions. Crouching down and hiding behind walls is also essential if you don't want to continually get picked off by a sniper. That happened to us. A lot.
Watch: New Seven Wonders of the World
Getting to all four continents where those new seven wonders of the world exist costs a lot of money, so the folks at the New York Times are letting you visit them all from the comfort of your armchair. As part of its Daily 360 series you can now check out the Great Wall of China, Christ the Redeemer or the Taj Mahal in 360-degree video form. There is, of course, seven videos in total and we've picked out one of our faves that you can enjoy right here before hunting out the other ones.