Reality Report #5: Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality

Apple WWDC, Google I/O and Augmented World Expo. Three big happe­nings all at once and now the focus of this edition of the Reality Report. Google  already hinted heavily about their focus on AR, now the search engine has clearly indi­cated how important the tech­no­logy is – check out their major announ­ce­ments for I/O. There were also high expec­ta­tions from Apple, espe­ci­ally after a Foxconn employee leaked infor­ma­tion a day before WWDC. Even though Apple didn’t show any glasses, they did confirm Tim Cook’s promise about the impor­t­ance of Augmented Reality. With these 2 major events in action, it was also the perfect time for Augmented World Expo to host and show the global players in the AR and VR market.

TOP NEWS

APPLE-SPECIAL FROM WWDC

Apple is the first big player to inte­grate Augmented Reality into its own OS. According to Apple, their ARKit will be the biggest AR plat­form. This is a big shot for the AR deve­l­o­pers and an important signal to the market. Mashable has more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/05/apple-arkit-hands-on…

The SDK itself doesn’t seem to be very diffe­rent to other AR systems avail­able on the market. It will be avail­able with iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad and allows anyone to create AR appli­ca­tions. Unity inte­gra­tion was mentioned, SLAM tracking as well, but no object-based tracking at the moment. Also, there were no apps commu­ni­cated so far, which is what I expected. Maybe that will happen with the iOS 11 release.

In that context, read Robert Scoble’s thoughts on Apple and Augmented Reality – with a focus on what can be expected from Cuper­tino in terms of AR glasses: http://scobleizer.com/apples-glasses-rumors…

Apple adds external GPU support for Mac and Macbook VR deve­lop­ment. Not the perfect solu­tion yet, but at least a first step for Mac users in the VR commu­nity. The Verge has more: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/5/15743274/apple-external-gpu-vr-development…

Steam also announced to support Mac during WWDC. The Beta version is avail­able and requires Metal graphics support in MacOS 10.11.6 or higher. Here is the SteamVR announ­ce­ment: http://steamcommunity.com/games…

GOOGLE SPECIAL FROM I/O

Google’s most inte­res­ting announ­ce­ment at the I/O confe­rence was Google Lens. The AI supported camera feature can reco­gnize objects such as flowers, restau­rants or retail stores. That can change the way we search for infor­ma­tion in the future. Recode has more: https://www.recode.net/2017/5/19/15666704/google-lens…

Another big thing from Google I/O is VPS – the Visual Posi­tio­ning System. Google is using Tango-tech and Google Maps features to allow a precise indoor navi­ga­tion as well as the place­ment of AR content in real envi­ron­ments. Watch the VPS announ­ce­ment from I/O: https://youtu.be/NVWD0vrHFjI

Google also showed stan­da­lone VR head­sets from HTC and Lenovo. The head­sets will have inside-out tracking and it is reported that Google will use Tango tech­no­logy from AR for the new devices. The Verge has more: https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/17/15655102/google-io-vr-standalone-headset…

AWE SPECIAL

The biggest AR show – the Augmented World Expo in the Silicon Valley – just closed its doors. AWE is getting bigger and bigger. Since our first visit years ago, it has since turned into an event with all major players as well as leading media.

Forbes’ Charlie Fink shared his thoughts in a chat at our booth and wrote about it in his article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/charliefink/2017/06/02/five-big-takeaways-so-far-from-the-augmented-world-expo/#41e7742736af 

Husain Sumra from Wara­bles put the most inte­res­ting things toge­ther in his post. When he showed up at our booth and started the conver­sa­tion with “The Micro­soft guys told me that your demos are better than theirs”, I didn’t know what to say. Here is the full over­view: https://www.wareable.com/ar/the-best-and-weirdest-of-awe-2017

Meta-CEO, Meron Gribetz showed how they want to use glasses for the AR work space. In an on stage demo he intro­duced Air Grab, an inter­face to drag and drop objects. There were many inte­res­ting features shown. It seems that Meta is reali­zing that AR glasses in that segment are better in B2B. Hope­fully they can deliver the pre-ordered devices soon. Next Reality News has more: https://meta.reality.news/news/meta-cuts-ribbon-new-ar-workspace…

INVESTMENTS, NEW TECH…WHAT’S HOT!

Micro­soft showed a concept for another kind of glasses – much smaller than the Holo­lens. The video shows a display for holo­gra­phic projec­tions of AR content. More details will be unveiled during Siggraph confe­rence. VR Status has more: http://www.vrstatus.com/news/microsoft…

Unity raised $400M in private equity from Silver Lake. With the invest­ment, the San Francisco-based game engine company is valued at $2,6B. Venture­Beat has more: https://venturebeat.com/2017/05/23/game-engine-maker-unity-raises-400-million-in-private-equity…

The Chinese startup Dream­world wants to make glasses for under $350. Dream­world curr­ently has 10 employees and $2M funding. Can they beat the $1,5B financed Magic Leap? Find more on UploadVR: https://uploadvr.com/thes-ar-glasses-connect-smartphones-keep-prices-350/

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