Market Reality: Apple & Snap Boost AR Features, Magic Leap & Nreal Work on Truce, & Mojo Vision Unveils Smart Contacts

Apple & Snap Boost AR Features, Magic Leap & Nreal Work on Truce, & Mojo Vision Unveils Smart Contacts

While the big names in augmented reality demonstrated the breadth of opportunities in the industry's landscape this week, one new startup showed off what is possible further in the future.

On the AR wearables front, Magic Leap and Nreal, two of the current front-runners for AR hardware, de-escalated their legal skirmish. In terms of AR development tools, Apple has made it even easier to create AR experiences within its Reality Composer app. And in the mobile AR app context, Snapchat added new AR superpowers for gaming (and, eventually, smartglasses).

But startup Mojo Vision took the industry's breath away by revealing that it may be further along in developing AR smart contact lenses than expected.

Magic Leap & Nreal Agree to Mediation Talks in Lawsuit

This week, the beginning of an epic legal battle was set to begin between augmented reality players Magic Leap and Nreal, the small China-based startup accused by the former of stealing trade secrets.

However, a new wrinkle has emerged in the legal skirmish that could change everything.

Continue reading to catch up on the latest developments in the face-off between Magic Leap and Nreal and the implications this case has on the future of consumer-grade augmented reality hardware...

Image via Nreal

REALITY BITES: Of the top 10 US patent holders of 2019, five are companies working on augmented reality technology -- Samsung, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, and Huawei. Microsoft was the biggest gainer among those companies, with a 31% increase in patents awarded compared to 2018. Also among the top 10 is Intel, which sold its smartglasses patent portfolio to North and dropped one spot in the rankings.

Apple Adds Reality Converter to Its AR Dev Tool Arsenal

After introducing and launching Reality Composer alongside iOS 13 and ARKit 3 last year, Apple is making it easier for developers to create apps with it.

This week, the company released a new tool for macOS called Reality Converter that enables developers to convert common 3D file formats to Pixar's Universal Scene Description (USDZ) protocol, which Apple adopted as its preferred 3D format in 2018.

Read further to find out more about what Reality Converter does and how it positions Apple in the growing field of easy-to-use augmented reality development apps...

Image by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: Apple continues to build its augmented reality technology portfolio through acquisition. This time around, the company has reportedly bought out Xnor.ai, which includes image recognition tools among its AI tech arsenal. Ironically, the Seattle-based startup is a product of AI2, an incubator founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Snapchat Deploys Object Recognition for AR Gaming with Eye Towards Smartglasses

While Snapchat is no stranger to location-based AR scavenger hunts, the app's new world-facing game adds some environmental understanding to the mix.

This week, Snapchat launched a new Snappables game dubbed Scavenger Hunt. However, while most Snappables games use the front-facing camera to insert users and their friends into the game, Scavenger Hunt flips gameplay to the rear camera.

Keep reading for more gameplay details on Scavenger Hunt and how the tech behind the game bolsters Snapchat's capabilities for a future smartglasses platform...

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: Augmented reality studio Draw & Code has appointed former Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment executive Spencer Crossley as its new CEO. Co-founders Andy Cooper and John Keefe will continue in their roles as creative director and technical director, respectively.

Mojo Vision Confirms Invisible Computing Equals AR Contact Lenses

After more than two years of teasing, augmented reality startup Mojo Vision has confirmed that "invisible computing" means what we've suspected all along.

That's right -- the company is working on smart contact lenses, and it claims to have a working model in testing. On Wednesday, Mojo Vision announced the appropriately named Mojo Lens, the first smart contact lens capable of overlaying information in the wearer's field of view.

Read further more details on Mojo Lens and future iterations of the device, how far away the product is from hitting the market, and who Mojo Vision plans to target with its AR contact lenses...

Image via Mojo Vision

REALITY BITES: There's a belief among mainstream consumers that Pokémon GO has fizzled out and died after its 2016 debut, but it's time for noted myth-buster Jonathan Frakes to correct the record. The fact is that the AR gaming trailblazer actually had its best year ever in 2019, raking in almost $900 million through in-app purchases.

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.

Cover image via Mojo Vision

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