Before smartglasses makers can dream of taking smartglasses to mainstream consumers, they must first determine the right mix of form, function, and price that will drive customers to buy into what they're hoping to sell.
Google's AI research team may have part of the solution with a machine learning approach for hand and finger tracking. Meanwhile, Mad Gaze and DreamWorld are storming the Kickstarter gates with their own takes on consumer smartglasses.
And in non-wearable augmented reality business news, new AR experiences from three music artists are carving out a new high watermark for the adoption of augmented reality in the music business.
Although early attempts at consumer smartglasses have employed trackpads and handheld or wearable controllers for user input, its the gesture control interfaces of the HoloLens 2 and the Magic Leap One that represent the future of smartglasses input.
A new machine learning model developed by Google's research arm may make it possible to implement the complex hand gesture controls commonly found in high-end AR systems in lightweight smartglasses without the additional bulk and cost of dedicated depth and motion sensors.
Read on to learn how Google's approach to hand and finger tracking works and why this could help ramp up future adoption of consumer smartglasses...
REALITY BITES: Despite numerous challengers, Pokémon GO continues its reign as the top location-based AR game, and no one else is even close. The runner-up is a bit of a surprise, though. Tencent's Let's Hunt Monsters, available only in China, has raked in more than $50 million in player spending on iOS, according to Sensor Tower. That's more than double the third-place title, Jurassic World Alive.
It appears that the floodgates of consumer-grade augmented reality smartglasses from China are now open, with Mad Gaze being the latest company to rush its product through.
The Hong Kong-based wearables maker posted a trio of new videos on Thursday featuring its Glow new smartglasses. Weighing just 75 grams (roughly the same as a pair of North Focals), Glow comes in six colors, from the standard black and white to the more adventurous pink, lime green, purple, and teal.
Continue reading for details on the technical specifications and capabilities of Mad Gaze Glow and how consumers can expect to get their hands on a pair...
REALITY BITES: Not all augmented reality startups hail from Silicon Valley. Polarity, a security-focused AR startup based out of Farmington, Connecticut, has closed an $8.1 million funding round, led by TechOperators, a venture capital firm hailing from Atlanta. The funding will help Polarity build out its computer vision technology that assists IT and cybersecurity personnel keep track of data via AR overlays. Shasta Ventures, Strategic Cyber Ventures and Gula Tech Adventures also participated in the round.
The augmented reality space is brutal, and that means shifting directions quickly to meet whatever need the market demands. That appears to be the strategy with the latest release from startup DreamWorld AR and its most recent device — the DreamGlass Air.
Unlike the company's previous device, the DreamGlass, which was more of a 3D content-focused, immersive AR headset looking to compete with the likes of the Meta 2, the DreamGlass Air is focused on affordability and portability, but that comes at a price.
Read further to learn more about DreamGlass Air and our impressions from our hands-on with a prototype of DreamWorld's latest wearable device...
REALITY BITES: You've heard of image targets, but what about video targets? Munich-based Eyecandylab closed a $1.5 million seed funding round to build out its platform, which uses video instead of static images as the marker to trigger AR experiences. The company claims Viacom, NBCUniversal, WWE, and Softbank as clients.
He might be an O.G. rapper, but Snoop Dogg has officially entered the cutting-edge of technology via a hidden feature included with his newest music release. The artist's latest album, called I Wanna Thank Me, is his 20th since starting with Death Row Records so many years ago. This time the music comes with an all-too-modern augmented reality twist via Snapchat.
Elsewhere, much lesser-known rapper Tino Kamal recently released a music video for his single "V.I.P." which features volumetric video filmed with Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture technology at Dimension Studios, one of three studios utilizing the technology along with Metastage in Los Angeles and the Mixed Reality Academies in San Francisco and Redmond, Washington.
Not to be outdone, music producer Mark Ronson, fresh off his Oscar win for Best Original Song as a co-writer of "Shallow," the song by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for the movie A Star Is Born, has now added augmented reality to his varied repertoire with a new Snapchat-flavored AR-powered music video.
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.