Market Reality: Magic Leap Founder Launches New Company, Snap Acquires AI Tech, & Facebook Offers Spark AR Classes

Magic Leap Founder Launches New Company, Snap Acquires AI Tech, & Facebook Offers Spark AR Classes

Just as the augmented reality industry grows, so too does the segment dedicated to creating experiences for the tools becoming available.

Leading the charge is former Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz, who launched a new venture focused on immersive entertainment and content creation.

Meanwhile, three of the segment's biggest players demonstrated why investment in this area is crucial. Snap made an acquisition to add to its AR technology portfolio, Facebook rolled out a training program for its Spark AR platform, and Unity joined forces with Volvo to provide some sleek new AR assets for developers.

Abovitz Launches Entertainment Venture with AR Possibilities

The company augmented reality that Rony Abovitz was trying to build at Magic Leap apparently wasn't working out the way he hoped it would. That company, built on dreams, music, and future-looking entertainment, rather than truly new technology, came with a $2,300 price tag for a device using dynamics most mainstream consumers have never even tried.

The hurdles were steep. Today, Abovitz is about to embark upon a new journey that seems to truly speak directly to his interests: entertainment. On Wednesday, Abovitz unveiled his new company called Sun and Thunder.

Continue reading to learn more about Sun and Thunder and how it may play a role in the AR industry...

Image via Sun and Thunder

REALITY BITES: Speaking of Magic Leap, the company has formed a partnership with oil conglomerate Saudi Aramco. You'll recall that Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is a late-stage backer of Magic Leap. This news comes on the heels of Magic Leap's announcement of a partnership with Google Cloud (Google was among Magic Leap's early investors).

Snap Buys Ariel AI & Body-Tracking Tech

The year 2021 is already promising to yield a number of major shifts in the augmented reality landscape, and Snap is signaling that it has every intention of being an aggressive part of that narrative.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the company has acquired a London-based research group called Arial AI, a team dedicated to developing ways to track the human form in AR with a high degree of accuracy.

Read more about the Ariel acquisition and how it can strengthen Snap's already impressive AR technology arsenal...

Image via Ariel AI

REALITY BITES: Throughout the pandemic, Snap's stock has outperformed Facebook and Twitter. It is even trading higher than Pinterest, which has monetized its platform for e-commerce, though revenue gains between the two are similar. The Wall Street Journal (paywall) examines how investors see the opportunity for future gains in Snapchat's new augmented reality tools for brands.

Facebook Seeks to Boost Spark AR Adoption Through User Training

As Apple, Google, Snap, and Facebook wrestle for positioning to lure developers and creators to build augmented reality experiences for their respective tools, Facebook is looking at a learning approach for its Spark AR platform.

On Tuesday, the Spark AR team launched a new series of online learning courses that are aimed at novices looking to jump into the AR field feet first as well as experienced developers and creators seeking to sharpen their skills.

Keep reading for more details on the new Spark AR Curriculum and how it plays a role in recruiting new developers to the Spark AR community...

Image via Facebook

REALITY BITES: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has joined forces with other thought leaders in technology and economics to advocate for a degree of bifurcation between the U.S. and China tech economies in a new proposal. With numerous AR startups emerging from China, the proposal has implications for the future growth of the AR industry.

Unity Gives Away Free Volvo XC40 (3D Model) To Developers

To assist developers and researchers with creating apps and services for automobiles, Volvo Cars has launched a new Innovation Portal with useful tools and assets. Among the free resources featured in the Innovation Portal is a high-quality 3D model of the Volvo XC40 Recharge.

Created in collaboration with Unity, the XC40 model offers developers and creators to insert the automobile into AR experiences and applications, as well as VR and cinematic content, product apps, and car configuration tools.

Continue reading for more details on how to access the XC40 3D assets and a preview of what other AR goodies Volvo has planned...

Image via Volvo

REALITY BITES: Niantic is inching closer to realizing the highly-immersive experiences promised by its Niantic Real World Platform. Working in partnership with Verizon, Niantic has established a 5G lab testing environment for its planet-scale AR experiences.

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 Magic Leap

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