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Adventurous taps live actors and AR to take families on high-tech scavenger hunts – TechCrunch

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Augmented reality looked like it was supposed to a ubiquitous success, Apple and Google and Facebook seemed to say so, but things are taking a bit of time to get kicked off so the startups in the space are having to get real weird with it.

Adventurous is an augmented reality scavenger hunt geared towards families, but it drags in enough elements of the real world to make it a pretty robust experience. This isn’t your typical AR phone app that you pop open once. For one thing you have to be at a certain physical location in order to try it out, you also have to make an appointment, and, oh yeah, there are live actors involved.

This may be one of the more odd companies in Y Combinator’s latest startup batch, it’s basically a kind of tech-enabled live theater. The company’s co-founders acknowledge that having appointments and live actors involved with an app isn’t the most scalable business model in internet history, but they say that they’ll figure stuff out as they move along and that for now the families and kids involved really like the experience.

“We know that families are constantly looking for stuff to do with their kids and not all screen time is good screen time,” Adventurous co-founder Jeany Ngo tells TechCrunch.

Adventurous co-founders Jeany Ngo and Brian Schulman

When a family or group books an adventure, they meet at a designated location at a given time and get a run down on the mission and story from actors in full dress and character, then they’re tasked with walking around to different physical locations where different geo-tagged experiences will pop up on their ARKit or ARCore-enabled phone and they’ll have to complete the tasks to move on.

The experiences are designed to be around 45 minutes to 1 hour each and the whole shebang costs $15 per person.

One of the big selling points of augmented reality as a medium is that it can theoretically gain an understanding of a location’s geometry and plunk down digital content in a way that’s tailored to your space. That may be true for something like Google’s AR Stickers where it’s a little stationary 3D model, but when you start talking about actual storylines, the fact is that computer vision just can’t make reliable sense of a dynamic environment when it comes to a game or experience.

The company has been testing out various locations for their AR adventures, right now they’re sticking with missions in San Francisco’s Chinatown and Golden Gate Park. It’s a little unclear whether there could be any associated legal issues for a startup tying digital experiences to physical public locations, but the co-founders say they haven’t run in to any issues yet.

With Adventurous, the startup is banking on the robustness of an ironed-out experience to suck in fans and bring them back. The company’s co-founders foresee a world where narratives fit together like episodes in a TV series bringing families back to book appointments to see what happens next.

Location-based entertainment has been a hit-or-miss vertical for the VR industry, though some startups have seen success. Sandbox VR finished out a $68 million Series B earlier this year in a round led by a16z. For AR startups, there haven’t been too many stories of entertainment experiences that have been strictly tied to geographic areas outside of event activations. While you can find Pokéstops inside Pokémon GO, it isn’t a full linear experience that requires everyone to move along an identical path.

Adventurous is live now, if you’re in SF you can book yourself a fancy scavenger hunt in augmented reality this weekend.

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The iPhone Battery Percentage Is Back Where It Should Be In iOS 16 Beta 5

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The iPhone battery percentage icon in the status bar has returned with the new release of iOS 16 beta 5. All iPhones leading up to the X display battery percentage in the status bar, but Apple sacrificed the convenience of the icon in favor of the then-groundbreaking notch design, which left little room for status bar data. Now, it looks like the company has figured out a way to do both.

On the models prior to the iPhone X, the battery percentage was displayed next to the battery icon. With the new design, the percentage is housed inside the battery icon, leaving space for other status bar data like Wi-Fi and cell signal information. Users no longer have to go through the hassle of opening the Control Center to check their battery level. When an iPhone running the latest iOS 16 beta is in Low Power Mode, the battery icon changes to yellow while still displaying the percentage. When charging, the battery icon turns green and shows a small charging icon next to the percentage.

The new indicator is available for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models, excluding the ‌iPhone 12‌ and iPhone 13 mini, as well as on the iPhone X and the ‌iPhone‌ XS models. If you have an eligible model and you are already running iOS 16 beta, first update to beta 5, then go into Settings, Battery, and then Battery Percentage to enable the feature. According to CNBC, Apple hasn’t said whether the new feature will make it to the final cut of iOS 16, but our fingers are crossed hoping it does.

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Can Your iPad Get A Virus From Safari? Here’s What We Know

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As with any other source of access to the internet, it’s possible to get viruses depending on which websites you visit and what you do on them. There are many websites out there with less than good intentions, and from these, there is a potential for harm. Apple isn’t wrong about the extent of its security measures, though, when it comes to its devices. The iPhone, like the iPad, does have a layer of security already built in, with iOS keeping each app separated from the others. This makes it harder for viruses to infect the device and spread (via Apple.)

However, you do still need to be careful about what you do when you’re using the internet on your iPad. Although viruses are unlikely to happen, malware (or malicious software) is still possible. If you visit suspicious sites promising things too good to be true, don’t appear legitimate, and/or that prompt you to download files to your iPad, you’ll want to be very wary of the site and refrain from completing any download. If you have jailbroken your iPad, you’ll want to be even more careful, as this opens it up to security issues. In general, if a site is asking you to give up sensitive information such as bank information or your credit card, you’ll want to be extra careful. Only buy things from sources you trust. 

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DJI Avata Leak Teases A Drone You Can Fly Indoors

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Leaks suggest that the Avata will rely on three-inch propellors with a ducted design, while the mounted camera’s movements will be limited to a single axis of rotation. Alleged images of the package also appear to confirm the DJI Avata branding. The leak also mentions the ability to shoot stabilized videos at 4K resolution, a built-in propellor guard, low-latency transmission for high-resolution visuals, and a palm-sized build.

If the leaked retail box imagery is to believed, the next DJI offering will come bundled with accessories such as the Goggle 2, the new Motion Controller, flight battery, headband, spare propellors, USB-C cables, lanyard, screen protector, an eyeglasses frame, and a dual-band antenna to name a few. However, it must be noted that wearing the Goggles 2 will put the small drone out of the line of sight, which means you will need a spotter. It might also be a legal headache in some regions with strict drone regulations.

For folks only intending to use it for indoor video capture (or, perhaps, to participate in drone racing), the restrictions might be a tad easier. Unfortunately, DJI hasn’t shared any official details about the Avata FPV drone’s release. However, given the recent FCC appearance of the DJI Avata alongside the Goggles 2, it is quite evident that an official debut is likely just around the corner.

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