Welcome to RenderThat’s weekly roundup of the tech stories you need to know. This week, VR documentaries were pushed into the forefront of the virtual reality video content market by Oculus Rift. Google launched the affordable Cardboard headset in key new countries, while an imaging company announced a new VR camera at an affordable entry point for the average person looking to shoot 360 video. Want to know more about what happened in this week’s tech news? Read on to find out.

NEW AWARDS TO BE GIVEN FOR INDUSTRIAL AR

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute will be giving out awards for projects that have a focus on using AR in manufacturing and for devices that make augmented reality possible for use in industrial work environments. AR’s usefulness within Industry 4.0 includes allowing manufacturers, engineers, and technicians to use wearables or mobile devices to see instructions visually, among other uses that promote technician independence and efficiency in the manufacturing industry.

“Craig Sutton, manager of Advanced Manufacturing at Deere & Company, said, “Given the amount of complexity that this workforce manages, written instructions remain a challenging medium. A tool like augmented reality will enable us to improve our productivity and quality measures in our operations.””

GOOGLE MAKES CARDBOARD AVAILABLE IN GERMANY, CANADA

For the average consumer not yet ready to take the leap and spend hundreds of dollars on a VR headset, Google Cardboard just launched in Canada, the U.K., Germany, and a few European countries at prices ranging from £15 to $20 (CAD). The low-cost virtual reality headset viewer lets users experience Google’s VR content including YouTube videos, apps, and games. Cardboard can be purchased from Google Play with an estimated delivery time of 1-2 business days.

“The idea is simple: it’s a no-frills enclosure that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset.”

OCULUS RIFT CREATING VR DOCUMENTARIES

To expand virtual reality beyond the usual gaming and entertainment avenues, Oculus Rift is packing an emotional punch with their documentaries, which include the VR documentary “Notes on Blindness” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and documentary episodes of a 360-degree video series featuring nomadic cultures around the world. The company is aiming to showcase virtual reality as a prime tool for storytelling.

“Oculus this week showed reporters the documentaries, which transport the viewer into the point of view of the subject in a way that’s not possible with standard photos, movies or TV.”

SONY DEVELOPING AUGMENTED REALITY EYE LENS CAMERA

Working hard to line up the perfect photo snapshot may eventually get a bit easier if Sony has its way. The technology company filed a patent application to develop a camera that will be fitted over a user’s eye, just like a contact lens. Taking a photo or video won’t require pushing any buttons, it’ll be literally done with the blink of an eye.

“That lens would act as an augmented reality device, overlaying images directly on the wearer’s eye.”

NEW AFFORDABLE, CONSUMER-FRIENDLY VR CAMERA COMING

With Google Cardboard helping newbies test the waters of VR headsets, HumanEyes is trying to help consumers dive into shooting virtual reality video. The Israeli-company announced the VUZE camera as an alternative to other more expensive VR cameras by competitors GoPro and Facebook. The VUZE is portable and easy-to-use with point and shoot technology for the eight cameras embedded around its flat surface that shoot 4K 360 video. It’s available for pre-order now and shipping starts in October.

“The camera comes bundled with a combo selfie-stick/tripod, carrying case and VUZE Studio, the company’s software suite that stitches together the individual cameras and offers filter and editing capabilities.”