Amid a troubling resurgence in coronavirus cases, led by the new Delta variant, augmented reality is once again moving back into the spotlight as a solution, especially now that the move to return to offices has been stalled.
This week, a few developments in the AR space offered more proof that immersive remote work solutions could be the answer for a number of corporate and private consumers. Among these developments is the increasing rise of spatial audio, which is vital to truly immersive mobile AR apps, and we have a great new example.
Also, Facebook's latest developer initiative allows access to the passthrough AR functions of the Oculus Quest, and this move already produced some impressive new AR applications, we take a quick dive into one of the best. Finally, one of the oldest tech giants in the US just landed a new deal that will help it to propel itself further into the bleeding-edge world of enterprise AR.
In our review of Amazon's non-augmented reality Echo Frames smartglasses, we made the case for audio virtual assistants being the linchpin for AR wearables.
Given that premise, it's now vital to pay attention to developments in the spatial audio space, the latest of which comes from a popular little startup known as Clubhouse.
Read on to see exactly how and why the audio app update is a preview of how mobile AR will become a lot more immersive...
REALITY BITES: Facebook has opened up applications for its 2022 fellowship positions and augmented reality and crypto are front and center. Among the categories listed are AR/VR computer graphics, AR/VR perception, cognition, and action, AR/VR photonics and optics, augmented reality audio, and blockchain and cryptoeconomics. "We would like to support students who are working on advancing the state-of-the-art in human understanding for AR/VR," reads the description of one position. "Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, tracking and modeling humans and objects, action and gesture recognition, non-rigid fusion and reconstruction (e.g. NeRF), image synthesis (e.g. GAN), segmentation, differentiable rendering, novel text input techniques, novel sensor/sensor fusion (e.g. EMG, accelerometer, ...) and efficient ML techniques to run these methods on AR/VR devices."
The augmented reality passthrough abilities of Facebook's Oculus Quest were only fully opened to independent developers recently.
But despite the recency of the shift, the change is already yielding interesting AR applications that few would have considered for the primarily VR-centric device.
Keep reading to see exactly how Facebook's VR headset is becoming the perfect testbed for its future AR wearable devices...
REALITY BITES: RealWear, the maker of the HMT-1 hands-free Android-based augmented reality wearable for enterprise customers, has teamed up with Lenovo. The partnership effectively certifies RealWear HMT-1 devices for use on Lenovo's ThinkReality platform. "The addition of RealWear's field-proven monocular device on the ThinkReality platform means we'll be able to support an even larger and growing number of enterprise customers as they equip industrial frontline workers with cutting-edge XR technology that improves workplace safety and drive unprecedented ROI," said Jon Pershke, vice president of strategy and emerging business development for the Lenovo Intelligent Devices group.
The enterprise-focused category of augmented reality doesn't often get the headlines due to its relatively sedate profile as a mostly factory floor and training-based tool.
But a new massive investment in one of the biggest enterprise AR players, Xerox's CareAR, will likely fuel new activity in this still emerging category.
Continue reading to learn how this old school player is boldly leading the way into the future of enterprise AR...
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.