New era in virtual reality therapy for common phobias

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This image provided by Oxford VR in July 2018 shows a virtual reality viewpoint from a simulation designed to help people with a fear of heights. Virtual reality therapy can help patients by exposing them gradually to their greatest terrors. The technology is just now reaching the mainstream after 20 years of research. (Oxford VR via AP) (Associated Press)

Dick Tracey didn’t have to visit a tall building to get over his fear of heights. He put on a virtual reality headset.

Through VR, he rode an elevator to a high-rise atrium that looked so real he fell to his knees.

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What are smart glasses?

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Google Glass made smart glasses a reality, but what are they, really?.

It wasn’t that long ago when a doctor’s prescription and one’s physical limitations were the only uses for eyewear. But now, eyeglasses have gone high tech with smart glasses: eye glasses with a mini computer inside that displays information right on the lens(es).

Eyeglass usefulness began with the need to simply read things more easily. It eventually extended to shield the eyes from the sun and, even more recently, as a simple fashion statement. But the 21st century has other plans for the wearable accessory — and they’re the most innovative yet.

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The rise of the computer-generated celebrity

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A new generation of celebrities is selling out concerts, starring in commercials, and amassing huge Instagram followings. But none of them exist—corporeally, anyway. In recent years, and starting in Japan, technology and social media have spawned a digital demimonde of computer-generated stars, ranging from fake musicians and models to company mascots who appear as holograms (like Betty Crocker, with AI). When they’re not entertaining you, they’re trying to convince you of their humanity, and even the more cartoonish among them have fleshed-out personalities. In a way, it’s the purest expression of celebrity, which has always been an elaborate illusion. CGI starlets, though, “are much easier to control,” says Ryan Detert, CEO of the branding firm Influential. Except when they misbehave.

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VR treatment, even without a therapist, helps people overcome fear of heights

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OVERCOMING ACROPHOBIA. Afraid of heights? You’re not alone. In fact, acrophobia is one of the most common fears in the world. Now, a team of European researchers has found a new way to help people overcome their fear, no need to climb on any ledges or even talk to a therapist.

The researchers enlisted 100 volunteers for their study, all of whom had a clinically diagnosed fear of heights but were not receiving treatment for their phobia. The researchers then split the volunteers into two groups. Fifty-one volunteers served as the control, undergoing no treatment, while the other 49 had the opportunity to undergo a two-week-long virtual reality (VR) treatment regimen (47 agreed to the program, and 44 completed it). The researchers published the results of their trial in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry on Wednesday.

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Watch Amazon’s VR kiosks transform the future of shopping

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Amazon’s new VR store dispenses with the trappings of a shop in favor of fun — a city full of products to explore in themed rooms.

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Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it has opened virtual reality kiosks in 10 shopping malls to promote its upcoming Prime Day shopping event. Now you can see the Amazon VR experience for yourself. Prepare to be impressed: It’s significantly more elaborate than expected, and shows how a top retailer is transforming the future of shopping.

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Inside a $1 Billion real estate company operating entirely in VR

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Born during the aftermath of the financial meltdown a decade ago, a publicly-traded real estate brokerage called eXp Realty is establishing itself as one of the brightest rising companies in its industry—and one of the most creative users of digital technology today.

By several measures, the company is experiencing a moment of true exponential growth.

Since last October, eXp Realty’s stock price has surged more than 300 percent, and this year the company announced they had doubled their number of real estate agents in just seven months. At the beginning of the year, they had roughly 6,500 brokers, but today they have over 12,000 operating in more than 300 markets across the US and Canada. This pace of growth is unprecedented for a single national brokerage and almost unthinkable for a real estate company not structured as a collection of local franchises.

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UBS digitally clones it’s chief economist so he wouldn’t miss his meetings

Swiss Bank UBS Agrees To Turn Over 4,000 Plus Account Names

UBS Chief Economist Daniel Kalt is in very high demand. So, the Swiss investment bank decided to clone him, digitally at least. Now through a rendering captured by more than 120 high-definition cameras in over a full day of shooting, the company can have Kalt (or at least his likeness) meet with multiple clients at a time via interactive video chat, without ever even stepping foot in the conference room.

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VRgineers new pro headset XTAL features Auto eye IPD and leap motion

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The new design features a raft of professional features.

Czech-based virtual reality (VR) startup VRgineers specialises in producing high-end head-mounted displays (HMDs) for enterprise, having started with the VRHero 5K Plus. Now the company has unveiled a successor, XTAL, a pro headset with unique features.

VRFocus first reported on the new enterprise-grade headset a few months ago, with VRgineers revealing little in the way of specifications, just that the company was working on a new project.

The XTAL headset has been built around the needs of professional designers and engineers – so don’t expect to see on in Best Buy or PC World – boasting a 5K resolution, 170º field-of-view (FoV), and patented non-Fresnel lenses.

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VRstudios launches Jurassic World VR attraction at Dave & Buster’s restaurants

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H&M is trialing a smart mirror that suggests outfits for you — and customers love it

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Among other things, H&M’s mirror suggests outfits to customers. VISUALART

H&M is trialing a smart mirror in its flagship store in Times Square, New York.

Through voice and facial recognition, customers can use voice commands to take selfies.

The mirror was developed by Microsoft and Swedish digital agencies, Visual Art and Ombori.

H&M is offering its customers a new shopping experience and customers apparently love it, according to Lebensmittelzeitung.

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