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Reality Report #5: Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality

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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