We're still basking in the afterglow of the HUGE Snap Partner Summit last week, where Snap made Snapchat a much stronger augmented reality platform while also unveiling the AR smartglasses version of Spectacles. This week, we got a peek at how Spectacles AR started and got our hands on Lenses from Lego and Disney featured during the keynote.
Undeterred, Facebook made a move to match Snap's masterstroke, with new AR features for creators to integrate into Instagram AR effects.
In addition, Volkswagen unveiled a new electric vehicle with some automotive AR features coming along for the ride.
When Snap CEO Evan Spiegel pulled off the surprise debut of the augmented reality version of Spectacles last week, it was one of the biggest moments in the company's history.
In one move, Snap moved from a primarily software-driven social media company to a legitimate hardware player. But how did it come together?
Well, it turns out that, just like the HoloLens before it, the new Spectacles also had a noteworthy prototype device that led up to the eventual polished version that we see today. Continue reading to see the early version of the device and find out another way to get your hands on a pair...
REALITY BITES: While the keynote presentation at any developer conference is where we get all the news on AR, we get valuable AR insights from other sessions as well. For example, one of the sessions from Snap Partner Summit focused on how brands are leveraging Snapchat AR in their advertising efforts, with representatives from Zenni Optical, Farfetch, and Estee Lauder discussing their approaches.
Snap is iterating its augmented reality technology at a fairly rapid pace, releasing version 4.0 of its Lens Studio AR creation platform and introducing new AR tech like Connected Lenses at the Snap Partner Summit last week.
To keep up with Snap's AR arsenal, Facebook has added two new AR capabilities for Instagram via version 114 of its own Spark AR development tool — multi-class segmentation and improved target tracking.
Continue reading to learn more about the new AR capabilities and how they'll improve Instagram's AR effects...
REALITY BITES: There's a major leadership shakeup at ByteDance, parent company of TikTok (a poster child for Google's new ARCore features unveiled last week). Founder Zhang Yiming (an NR30 alum) is stepping down from his post as CEO, with co-founder and head of HR Liang Rubo succeeding Yiming after a six-month transition period. "The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager," said Yiming in an internal letter later made public. TikTok is one of the more popular social/video apps out there right now and happens to have AR as a feature, so the competition is now on notice.
The electric vehicle space is where a lot of the most cutting-edge technology is used to push vehicles forward (the best example being Tesla).
Now, the Volkswagen Group is ramping up the EV competition with its new augmented reality-infused Cupra Born.
Read further to learn how Volkswagen's EV brand is enhancing the driving experience with augmented reality...
REALITY BITES: As Epic Games continues its legal assault on Apple and its App Store, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel says Snap has no problem paying the 30% fee on in-app transactions, crediting Apple and its hardware and software advancements, many of which enable more robust AR experiences in Snapchat, with his company's existence.
The world of Lego is timeless primarily because everyone, regardless of age or background, can build a wide variety of amazing things with the simple component blocks from the classic toymaker.
But now that Snapchat has brought that dynamic to augmented reality via the Rebuild the World Snapchat Lens the possibilities are truly endless.
Keep reading to find out how to use the AR experience with your friends near and far through Snapchat...
REALITY BITES: AR NFT startup Anima has raised a pre-seed funding round of $500,000, with Coinbase Ventures, Divergence Ventures, Flamingo DAO, Lyle Owerko, and Andrew Unger participating. The company's aim is to develop a system for AR objects to interact with real-world environments, in turn making those AR NFTs more practical.
Last week, Snap powered through a mountain of important software and (shock!) hardware updates, as well as a few very big business partnerships.
One of those partnerships is Disney World, but if you weren't paying close attention, you might have missed how exactly you can bring Disney's iconic characters into your real-world via Snapchat.
Continue reading to find out how to transport Mickey and Minnie from Disney World into your own real world...
REALITY BITES: Over the past four years, Niantic has leveraged its AR games in an effort to promote sustainability efforts. For its Sustainability Campaign 2021, nearly 2,000 players in 33 countries participated in activities such as trash clean-ups, with more than $41,000 donated to environmental nonprofits. In addition, the company unveiled details for its annual Pokémon GO Fest, which will again be a virtual event with a reduced ticket price.
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.