Market Reality: Apple's AR Spaces, Facebook's AR Future, Snap's 3D Acquisition & Campfire AR Headset Launch

Apple's AR Spaces, Facebook's AR Future, Snap's 3D Acquisition & Campfire AR Headset Launch

There's already some fierce competition between Snap and Facebook in the AR space, but it's about to heat up even more, with Snap snatching up a 3D mapping startup that could add some new AR capabilities to its arsenal.

Meanwhile, Facebook is investing a sizable portion of its research and development budget on AR and VR. On the hardware front, startups Campfire and Tooz previewed AR wearables with very specific use cases. Finally, Zoom and Apple have added new immersive features that push the boundaries of their respective video apps.

Snap Acquires 3D Mapping Startup Pixel8.Earth

The concept of Metaverse, otherwise referred to as AR cloud, where a digital twin of the real world filled with virtual content anchored persistently for all to see, has been a sci-fi dream of futurists for years and an aim for most tech companies who are serious about AR.

It appears Snapchat's parent company Snap shares those aspirations, 3D mapping startup Pixel8.Earth confirmed this week that Snap has acquired the company.

Continue reading for more details on the deal, how Pixel8.Earth's tech works, and why it means Snap is preparing to build its AR cloud...

Image via Pixel8Earth

REALITY BITES: The NFL Draft began with the first round on Thursday and will continue through Saturday. Ahead of the event, Snapchat shared some insights regarding its partnership with the league, including some interesting takeaways regarding AR content. Last year, when the NFL switched to a virtual format for the draft, more than 80 million users in the US and Canada interacted with AR Lenses during the draft. In a recent survey of Snapchat users, 64% of respondents agreed that AR and camera filters add to their enjoyment of the draft.

Facebook Underscores Its Focus on AR During Earnings Call

Facebook's annual earnings call on Wednesday didn't come with any big surprises, that is, if you took everything at face value.

However, if you read between the lines, and paid close attention to the very specific and intentional language the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, used, then a few things stood out that reveal exactly where Facebook intends to take its nearly 3 billion users in the next year.

Read further to find out what Zuckerberg had to say about its plans for developing AR technology and products...

Image via Facebook

REALITY BITES: ARCore is getting some new features along with platform improvements, according to program descriptions for Google I/O. One of those new features appears to be post-capture AR, which will give apps the ability to retain AR scenes when users leave the camera view.

Zoom Adds Virtual Rooms to Video Conference Platform

The era of virtual meetings has been evolving every few months, with augmented reality filters leading the charge in changing the way we interact when chatting via video streams.

Now Zoom, the current leader in the virtual meetings space, has changed the game again by bringing a new kind of immersion to virtual meetings with Immersive View.

Read on to see what Immersive View can do and how it can spur evolution in video conferencing...

Image via Zoom

REALITY BITES: Release 16 of 8th Wall's AR platform is centered around huge performance improvements, including a 70% increase in frames per second and 50% decrease in pixel error rate. In a blog post, Nicholas Butko, vice president of engineering, gives us some insight into the company's approach to developing and iterating on its computer vision algorithms while making a pitch for qualified engineers to join the team.

Meta IP Lives on via Campfire Startup

The augmented reality space is no longer about if but when every company and creator will use some kind of immersive device and software to produce and distribute 3D content.

Now, a surprise new contender has entered the AR arena and it's called Campfire. The company emerged out of stealth on Tuesday, finally showing off its Campfire AR headset and system in action.

Read further to learn more about Campfire AR, its value proposition, and what it has to do with the former Meta company...

Image via Campfire

REALITY BITES: On Monday, May 3, ESPN will broadcast a special edition of the NBA regular season game between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orlean Pelicans that will integrate virtual Marvel characters, such as Iron Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Captain America, Black Widow, and Doctor Strange, into the game with 3D virtual characters (similar to the AR integration in Nickelodeon's broadcast of an NFL playoff game earlier this year). The augmented game will be shown on ESPN2 and ESPN Plus.

Tooz Previews Adidas Smartglasses for Fitness

The progress Tooz has been making in the smartglasses space has been mostly kept under wraps, but the company is slowly giving us a deeper look at what it has in store for smartglasses wearers.

In the latest update, Tooz and Adidas have revealed footage that shows off what the collaboration looks like in the field.

Continue reading to see how the two companies have been experimenting with AR and fitness...

Image via Tooz

REALITY BITES: Rumors and reports have projected that Apple's long-awaited AR headset may arrive in early 2022. However, according to the latest whispers (behind a paywall), Apple has not started testing its P2 prototype as expected, meaning the expected first-quarter 2022 arrival may be delayed.

Apple Shows Developers How to Leverage LiDAR Sensor with AR Spaces

Ever since the debut of the LiDAR Scanner in the latest batch of Apple's iPhones and iPads, the questions have swirled as to how this would benefit augmented reality interactions.

Well, now we have one major new treat that could spur even more adoption and it's called AR Spaces.

Read further for more details on how to get AR Spaces and what the iPhone 12 Pro and iPad Pro series devices can do with it...

Image via Apple

REALITY BITES: Another waveguide maker has entered the AR hardware conversation. Startup Dispelix closed a funding round of approximately $12 million, including venture debt financing from tech investment firm Flashpoint. The influx of capital will enable Dispelix to further develop its full-color Laser Beam Scanning (LBS) optics and scale of customer acquisition and support globally.

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 Campfire

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