With over 100,000 square feet of dedicated exhibition space for the latest Augmented and Virtual Reality exhibits and 350+ speakers, this year’s Augmented World Expo was the biggest in the event’s history.
While we are somewhat reluctant in reporting any groundbreaking technical advances from the show floor, this year's AWE was more about the existing technology adapting to real-world cases as the adoption of Augmented and Virtual Reality becomes more prevalent in both commercial and enterprise spheres. Here’s our list of the top announcements and tech at AWE 2018.
Qualcomm introduces a dedicated chip for mass market AR/VR headsets.
Qualcomm, famously known for their Snapdragon chipsets and found on most Android phones such as Samsung and Nexus, released their first dedicated chip for standalone VR and AR headsets. Capable of 4K video at 30 frames per second, the future of mass-produced VR headsets looks clear. Their previous 845 chip (released earlier this year at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona) was all about high power with more GPU power for high-end VR rendering. The new XR1 is a low cost and more efficient alternative that satisfies the needs of more simple devices that require less rendering capabilities (such as the Oculus Go). This is big news for enterprise providers looking for a low-cost VR entry point that gets the job done and solve their problems. The timing is also perfect as the release of this chip truly rides the wave of the Oculus Go - that has gotten a lot of attention and seen huge numbers of commercial users buy-in to the low-cost VR entry headset.
Could this be a topic for the AR headset providers? Probably not, most AR headset providers are still a bit behind their VR counterparts. The primary concern for AR headsets is still solving display issues rather than rendering power. Either way, watch this space as low-cost chips are always interesting as they signify a mass market direction (Cheaper devices) - and - when this also kicks off with AR glasses it's a sign of maturity and consumer AR taking off.
AR for industry takes a step in the right direction with Ruggedized AR head-mounted wearable helmet.
Certified for potentially explosive environments and compliant with the safety protocols and standards mandated at oil and gas drilling rigs, pipelines and refineries, RealWear’s HMT-1Z1 could be a major proponent for AR in industry. As more and more enterprise customers finalize their AR Proofs of Concepts, we are starting to see each of the serious headset providers also getting more serious about the real world requirements.Since industrial cases are proving some of the most lucrative and sensible starting points for Augmented Reality in the workplace, real-world problems such as device breakability, compatibility with hard hats, gloves and other safety requirements are becoming more critical for mass rollout in larger companies. This is not the first time we have seen these sorts of rugged AR Headsets - for example, ODG has also released indestructible headsets for industrial environments. Trimble services HoloLens users that need hardhat integration. And Vuzix is currently working on mounts for sound canceling headsets in loud environments… not to mention Epson’s BT Movario Pro- 2000 with glove-friendly controls or DAQRI’s first AR Smart helmet that was more or less an AR hardhat.
What does all this mean? AR is no longer a proof of concept or buzzword for enterprise. Instead, it is now a high stakes game to meet real-world requirements on the hardware side as serious industrial players prepare for mass rollouts under tough working conditions.
RE'FLEKT Unveils Sync: Industry's First Solution Empowering Edge-Based 'Tracking' For Augmented And Mixed Reality
RE'FLEKT has launched the latest ingredient to its suite of Augmented and Mixed Reality application development tools: REFLEKT ONE: Sync, the first software solution to create edge-based tracking from CAD data for enterprise AR/MR applications.
This is big news on the software side for any of these industrial players ready to roll with AR applications. Sync simplifies the creation of tracking configurations to seamlessly transform existing technical documentation and proprietary CAD data into AR/MR manuals and applications for maintenance, training and operations—without the added cost, delay or security concerns of third party involvement. Why head to an external provider to create a custom AR application for your business when you have all the knowledge and skills to do it yourself? REFLEKT ONE: Sync eliminates the final boundary to creating complex AR applications on your own for enterprise.