Facebook had a pretty big week in terms of augmented reality, with much of its news coming from the Oculus 6 keynote presentation. But Mark Zuckerberg's social media company found other areas of impact outside of Oculus 6 as well.
Meanwhile, Unity also had its own keynote presentation this week, and it was also packed full of augmented reality news that should make AR developers giddy.
Finally, while startup DroneOSS did not have a keynote presentation this week, it is drawing some attention for its AR technology geared towards the drone market.
Facebook and its Oculus subsidiary have been open about their intentions to bring AR wearables into the mainstream for some time now.
Nonetheless, when Oculus talked about its AR plans at the Oculus 6 keynote presentation on Wednesday, it still managed to surprise its audience with some news... and raise some eyebrows of concern and cynicism in the process.
The company not only confirmed that it is working on AR wearables but also revealed that it has multiple prototypes in the works. But that's not all. Oculus is also developing an AR cloud platform.
REALITY BITES: It looks like Facebook's penchant for copying Snapchat's AR features has created some karmic debt, and Snapchat is ready to cash in its chips. Snapchat has reportedly maintained a dossier, cleverly titled "Project Voldemort," that details Facebook's anti-competitive actions, which is sure to include a few line items in the AR realm. In other Facebook AR news, the company acquired CTRL-Labs and its neural input technology this week.
With its 3D engine being responsible for approximately 60% of augmented and virtual reality experiences, Unity is continuing to place a premium on tools that not only keep developers working in its development environment but also make their workflows easier.
During the keynote presentation at Unity Copenhagen today, Unity's AR team, including Timoni West, director of XR for Unity Labs, Brittney Edmond, senior product marketing manager for platforms, and Dan Miller, AR/VR evangelist, took the stage to show off some of the new features coming to the Mixed and Augmented Reality Studio (MARS) and AR Foundation along with some new tools to assist developers in their quests to build AR experiences.
Continue reading for more on the new AR features coming to Unity, and how this can be a catalyst for growth in the volume of available AR content for iOS, Android, HoloLens, and Magic Leap.
REALITY BITES: The third generation of Snap Spectacles may represent a step in the direction of smartglasses, but Snap CEO Evan Spiegel maintains that the path to consumer smartglasses is still a long one. At Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference in New York last week, Spiegel stated that Spectacles are a "really long-term hardware experiment with augmented reality," and that immersive experiences were still about 10 years away from achieving real mainstream success.
Drone mishaps, such as the collision that scratched a military helicopter in New York, are becoming something of an everyday hazard.
And professional drone operators sweat bullets when their drones hover too close to their clients' things — especially their expensive things. Enter German startup DronOSS, which has uploaded a demo of its new AR-based system training drone pilots to maneuver cleanly.
Read more about how DroneOSS uses AR in drone training and the entrenched competition it faces in the niche market.
REALITY BITES: Don't call it a comeback. AR/VR veteran Jeri Ellsworth has brought the technology of CastAR technology full circle with the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for Tilt Five, a reimaging of CastAR smartglasses for AR boardgames. Within its first day, the campaign had already exceeded its goal, and now has a good chance to double up on its stated target.
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.