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Finland celebrated May Day by throwing a massive VR concert

Mashable

May Day is a real cause for celebration in Finland, but since the country is practicing social distancing in hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus, many in-person celebrations had to be put on hold. In an attempt to unite Finland's population, however, the country carried out a remote May Day celebration. Thanks to help from popular rap stars, JVG, and Helsinki-based virtual reality studio, Zoan, residents were able to celebrate May Day by watching the virtual concert shown above. According to a press release, the musical event was inspired by "the success of gigs in gaming platform Fortnite." Viewers, or virtual attendees, were even able to choose their own avatars and interact with the rappers using "gestures, applause, and emojis."


VR helped me grasp the life of a transgender wheelchair user

Engadget

Playing The Circle is quite literally a transformative experience. Designed by Manos Agianniotakis, a student at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in Buckinghamshire, England, it's a game that uses the Oculus Rift and Touch controllers to put you in the body of a wheelchair user suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In The Circle, you play as a Alex, a transgender woman who is attacked and ends up in a wheelchair. The game picks up Alex's story around a month after the incident. She's out of hospital, but traumatized and unable to leave her apartment.


Virtual reality allows scientists to walk into a cancer cell

Mashable

After generations of peering into a microscope to examine cells, scientists could simply stroll straight through one. Calling his project the "stuff of science fiction," director of the 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), John McGhee is letting people come face-to-face with a breast cancer cell. SEE ALSO: 'No Man's Sky' hack lets you travel the universe in VR Using data pulled from a high-resolution electron-microscope at the University of Queensland, the expert in CGI has recreated the cancer cell in virtual reality. McGhee told Mashable Australia his team uses Unity, the development platform for video games, to build a 3D mesh of the cell adding texture, colour, light and any effects. Putting on a HTC Vive VR headset, scientists can essentially step into the petri dish and observe nanoparticle drugs being absorbed.


How virtual reality in 2016 prepares us for the Internet of experiences

#artificialintelligence

Some exciting news for virtual reality: Data from VBProfiles shows that last quarter saw the largest amount of investments in the landscape in the last five quarters. Compared to the same period of time last year, the budding industry has seen four additional investments and almost 588M more in funding -- an increase of over 120 percent. While the total number of investments has decreased, with only 19 investments in Q1 2016 as compared a high of 32 in Q2 2015, the total amount of funding has skyrocketed, with more than 1 billion invested -- mostly in Magic Leap and MindMaze. The funding "gravitational pull" of MindMaze is easier to understand than that of Magic Leap, since MindMaze, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, has already delivered a thought-powered virtual reality, augmented reality, and motion capture game system in MindLeap. It has also now begun to use VR to help a range of patients, including military veterans suffering from "phantom pain."


Virtual reality game launched as part of 'world's biggest dementia research experiment'

The Independent - Tech

A new virtual reality game developed by researchers in the UK could help doctors diagnose the first stages of dementia. The game will allow scientists to collect data on one of the earliest signs of the degenerative condition -- the ability to navigate. Sea Hero Quest VR, which is already available in mobile form, challenges you to captain a boat through various tasks testing your navigation skills as you go. As more and more individuals play the game, researchers hope to create a benchmark for standard performance and eventually create a new test for early onset dementia. Dr Hugo Spiers of University College London, who has been leading the analysis, told The Independent: "Two minutes playing the game gives me more than if you had given me two hours of your time in person.