Market Reality: NASA AR Launches, Smartglasses Showdown, Vuzix Secret Lab, Magic Leap Turns the Corner

NASA AR Launches, Smartglasses Showdown, Vuzix Secret Lab, Magic Leap Turns the Corner

The beginning of autumn has delivered a number of new augmented reality developments, and we're on top of it.

This week, NASA launched several major new initiatives that involve AR as an essential piece of the puzzle. Also, Magic Leap's history turned a major new corner, while one mainstream retailer move could hint at an early advantage in the growing smartglasses wars.

Speaking of smartglasses, this week we offered a comprehensive breakdown of the leading players, how they stack up against each other, and which ones are right for certain users. Finally, the folks at Vuzix gave the world a peek at how the AR magic happens at its company, and it's impressive.

NASA Makes the HoloLens a Native Part of Its Operations Systems on the ISS

As NASA nears the launch of another mission to the Moon in 2024, and a subsequent mission to Mars in the 2030s, augmented reality is increasingly being woven into the normal space operations to test various capabilities.

The latest example comes via the current International Space Station (ISS) crew, several of whom are using the Microsoft HoloLens to carry out vital procedures.

Keep reading to find out exactly how NASA is implementing the AR device within its space-based mission initiatives...

Image via NASA

REALITY BITES: On Wednesday, eyewear startup Warby Parker finally went public, debuting its stock on the New York Stock Exchange. But while the stock is doing well so far, few in the AR space have noted the event, which could be a mistake. As smartglasses (non-AR and AR) go mainstream, glasses frames will increasingly become "smart" by default. That could immediately give Warby Parker and its 145 retail outlets throughout North America an advantage, allowing consumers to sample smartglasses in-person, with the only other possible brick-and-mortar competitor being Apple and its chain of stores, whenever Apple Glass launches.

Inside the Secret Lab of Vuzix, Where Next-Gen Smartglasses Are Being Born

Away from the hype around Facebook's smartglasses, the high-end fascination with the Microsoft HoloLens, and the unending rumors about Apple's AR wearable is the small but powerful darling of the enterprise AR world—Vuzix.

Well, now we're getting an inside look at where the wearable magic happens at the Vuzix factory based in unlikely confines upstate New York.

Read on to get a first-time look at how Vuzix is revolutionizing AR, and meet some of the people making that revolution happen...

Image via Vuzix

REALITY BITES: This week, Chinese startup Nreal decided it needed to get in on the hype surrounding Facebook's Ray-Ban Stories smartglasses by announcing its own new, trimmed down device called Nreal Air. The only problem is that the story from The Verge touting the device only showed a 3D render, not an actual device. Considering the fact that mainstream consumers who aren't developers can't even get their hands on the current flagship Nreal Light device, this new announcement seems possibly premature, especially with no evidence that it actually exists (yet) beyond a design illustration.

NASA Harnesses the Power of AR & Graphic Novels to Mark Its Launch into History

The team at NASA is in full mission preparation mode as they prepare to send a new team to the moon for the first time in decades via the Artemis program in 2024.

But one of the key points of interest in that upcoming mission is the fact that NASA will also be sending the first woman to the moon. In conjunction with that mission, the space agency has launched an augmented reality experience to build interest and understanding around the historic event.

Continue reading to learn more about what NASA is doing in the realm of storytelling, and how AR is playing an essential part in the project...

Image via NASA

REALITY BITES: The Magic Leap chapter of the story for founder and former CEO Rony Abovitz has finally come to a close. This week, Business Insider revealed that Abovitz exited Magic Leap's board of directors back in August. The departure provides a bit of closure for some longtime Magic Leap observers and will likely give new CEO Peggy Johnson more room to operate without the shadow of the beleaguered company's founder hovering over proceedings.

Smartglasses Showdown Between Snap, Facebook, & Amazon, Here's the Score

The emergence of Facebook's collaboration with Ray-Ban to launch Stories smartglasses has finally put an exclamation point on a new category of smartglasses: the pre-augmented reality wearable segment.

And while the Facebook device isn't particularly groundbreaking in terms of features already explored by other wearables, it does distinguish itself in a few important ways. But how, with an array of smartglasses options now available to mainstream consumers, can you choose the right pair of smartglasses? Glad you asked.

Keep reading to find out what the major differences are between the leading smartglasses on the market, and why some may fit your needs more than others...

Image by Adario Strange/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: On Thursday, augmented reality and social media giant Snap announced a partnership with WPP called The AR Lab. "AR has a major role to play in the future of marketing and commerce, from virtual try-on to immersive digital experiences," said Sanja Partalo, executive vice president of strategic development & partnerships at WPP. "Snap has built an impressive AR platform and we are delighted to partner with them to ensure our people can access Snap's latest AR technology and in turn develop richer, more innovative commerce solutions for our clients and their customers."

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 Ray-Ban

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