Market Reality: Apple Assembles AR Team, Google & Amazon Invest in New UI, & Qualcomm Powers Next Vuzix & Meta Devices

Apple Assembles AR Team, Google & Amazon Invest in New UI, & Qualcomm Powers Next Vuzix & Meta Devices

The Augmented World Expo is winding down in Santa Clara, where Qualcomm, Vuzix, and Meta Company were among the companies making big announcements.

But some of tech's biggest players still made news outside of AWE. Apple is looking for talent with augmented reality experience to help with its next big product category, while Google and Amazon invested in the future of immersive computing interfaces.

Apple Seeks AR Talent for Possible Smartglasses Development

Between acquisitions, hirings, patent applications, and insider reports, all signs point to Apple building a smartglasses product that could ship as soon as 2020, but the company has not officially confirmed such plans.

Apple currently has 21 open positions that mention augmented reality, but two positions in particular heavily imply that the company is feverishly at work on an AR headset.

Read on to find out more about Apple's job postings and learn why they hint at some particularly interesting clandestine activity...

REALITY BITES: Speaking of jobs, Nell Waliczek started a new one as principal engineer for Amazon Sumerian after previously working on Windows Mixed Reality at Microsoft. She wrote about the move and why she believes webXR is a bigger opportunity than AR hardware.

CTRL-Labs Taps Google, Amazon, & Others for $28M to Build Neural Interface Tech

New York-based startup CTRL-Labs has closed a $28 million Series A round of funding from Google parent Alphabet's GV and Amazon's Alexa Fund, among others, for its next-generation neural interface technology for AR/VR and robotics.

CTRL-labs offers a twist on the brain control interface proposed by companies like Neurable. Instead of reading brainwaves via head-mounted electroencephalogram (EEG) sensors, the lightweight skin-contact sensors from CTRL-labs intercept signals closer to the point of output and relays the information to PCs and smartphones wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Read more about how the technology works, what CTRL-labs will offer developers, and who else is investing in the platform...

REALITY BITES: Elsewhere in the realm of investments, XR advocate Spencer Corpuz recounted four key insights from this week's AWE investor panel for emerging XR startups.

Next AR Wearables from Vuzix & Meta to Include Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1

Confirming a previous report from last week, Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon XR1 platform designed for augmented and virtual reality devices during an event at the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara on Tuesday, with Meta and Vuzix among the first manufacturers to adopt it.

With power consumption and thermal efficiency optimized for interactive AR experiences, the XR1 combines an ARM-based multicore central processing unit (CPU), vector processor, graphics processing unit (GPU), and AI engine to run on-device machine learning for pose classification and image recognition.

Keep reading to find out more about the XR1's capabilities and what Vuzix and Meta have planned for it...

REALITY BITES: It's hard to talk about the next generation of AR without mentioning Tony Parisi, the global head of VR/AR brand solutions at Unity Technologies. This week, Parisi published a transcript of his AWE presentation titled "What's Next for AR?," and it's more than worth of read for those invested in the real future of mainstream AR.

Meta Courts Office Workers with Meta Viewer

This week, augmented reality headset maker Meta unveiled Meta Viewer, during its keynote at the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara.

Meta Viewer enables Meta 2 users to view 3D CAD models in augmented reality while maintaining the integrity of design information that can be lost when converting files to AR formats.

Learn more about the app's capabilities, how to get it, and what it means for Meta's product strategy by reading more here...

Image by Augmented World Expo/Twitter

REALITY BITES: And for HoloLens developers, the coming of AWE brought with it a special treat: Digital solutions company Valence launched its HoloLens Innovation Accelerator at the conference.

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

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Cover image via Qualcomm/Twitter

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