2nd edition; RenderThat’s Weekly News Roundup

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Welcome to RenderThat’s weekly roundup of the tech stories you need to know.  This week, events at Mobile World Congress dominated the tech newsphere as more established companies announced they were jumping into the VR headset, while others are seeking out ways to make VR social, and virtual reality is being put to good use in classrooms around the world. Want to know more about Mobile World Congress and this week’s tech news? Read on to find out.  

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2016 SUMMED UP

For smartphone enthusiasts and professionals, Barcelona was the place to be the past week as Mobile World Congress took place in the Spanish city. All the leading phone companies were there to trot out their new phones and technologies to the waiting public.

Samsung introduced the Galaxy S7 and the Gear 360 camera that can capture real-time footage for virtual reality playback later. Mark Zuckerberg also stopped by the Samsung presentation to explain his belief that virtual reality is the next social platform.

LG showed off the new G5 that comes with a “magic slot” for additional accessories. LG also unveiled plans for a VR headset that’s smaller and lighter than most other headsets coming to market.

Sony revealed the new Xperia phones, and also brought out their new Xperia Ear, a small personal assistant device that fits inside your ear. They also revealed the Xperia Projector, which can create interactive displays anywhere.

MARK ZUCKERBERG SNEAKS BY MWC ATTENDEES

If the future is VR, then it potentially means hundreds of humans attached to VR headsets, blissfully unaware that they’re in the presence of greatness. Mark Zuckerberg shared a photo of himself strolling through an auditorium of attendees at Mobile World Congress who had their faces strapped into Samsung’s VR and never noticed Facebook’s CEO. It was a sci-fi film plot come to life in a stunning visual.

“[The Matrix] uses evil squid-bodied robots, [Manufacturing Consent uses] privileged human elites, but both works see humanity too distracted and preoccupied — by a full-scale replica of late-90s reality, or just sports on TV — to even be aware of the actions of those in charge.”

FACEBOOK LOOKS TO MAKE VR STREAMING FASTER, MORE SOCIAL

Facebook is already the parent company of Oculus, so it should come as no big surprise that the social media company is planning to equip the $99 Gear VR with dynamic streaming capabilities for 360 video. With the tech upgrade, streaming video content will perform much better and faster.

“The results speak for themselves. [Facebook’s] efforts have ‘quadrupled the resolution quality of 360 streaming video in VR by reducing the amount of required network bandwidth by 4x.”

In addition to improving 360 video capabilities, Facebook is also putting together a social VR team to consider how people will interact socially within virtual reality.

TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING HOW STUDENTS LEARN

Paper, pens, and books have long been staples of the classroom, but now education is truly being transformed by technology. Teachers are utilizing software that connects their students to others around the world, and games such as Minecraft to fuel students’ creativity and interactivity with historical sites. Other educators are using Oculus Rift and Leap Motion’s hand tracking tech to help students learn biology by virtually handling organs and parts of the human body.

“In a world where students now have unimaginable opportunities, it’s clear that the use of technology is now key to education.”

LG ANNOUNCES NEW VR HEADSET

Not to be left behind, technology giant, LG, is throwing its hat into the VR ring. It announced at MWC that it’s releasing a 360 VR headset that works along with the new LG G5 smartphone. The headset will connect via wire to the phone, and therefore doesn’t require users to slot their phone into the headset to watch VR content.

“If you’re okay with committing to LG’s new ecosytem of devices, you’ll be able to enjoy a view that simulates a 130-inch TV that’s two meters away, at a resolution of 639 ppi.”