Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This week, it’s all about recapping the spatial happenings at CES. The Consumer Everything Show as we call it, attracts more than 200,000 people from all over the world to Las Vegas each year. For tech investors and writers, entrepreneurs and manufacturers, it is the place to make deals and soak in the zeitgeist. The events that took place online, which were seen by many more people than would have participated in person, suffered from the same lack of presence and commitment that derails all virtual conferences.
Hot topics included Healthtech, foldable screens and 5G (yes, again). Here come the high tech masks. You’re going to need them in the new normal and, hopefully, at CES back in the real world, 2022. Here are round ups of the show from Forbes, Flipboard, CNet, Wired, and Financial Times.
Panasonic’s VR glasses debuted at CES with a steampunk look. The glasses have micro OLED panels and support HDR. For audio, the product uses built-in headphones. The product might be targeting 5G networks when they roll out for virtual travel and VR sports. They were also showing off their new HUD tech for vehicles.
Sony unveils a new virtual concert experience at CES. Artist Madison Beer, as a virtual avatar, performed her song “Boyshit” on a virtual stage before a virtual live audience. She was actually in a VR suit performing in a studio. The experience will debut this winter on PSVR and Oculus.
Vuzix’s new microLED smart glasses look like eyewear you’d want to wear in public. The glasses are more heads-up displays than true AR and are designed to mirror info from a connected smartphone. Although there is currently not a release date, product name, or a price point, it is expected to release sometime over the summer according to rumors.
Lenovo introduced the ThinkReality A3 AR glasses for enterprise at CES. The glasses tether to a PC or select Motorola smartphones via USB-C cable to enable smart workers to view documents, collaborate, and visualize schematics. The glasses will be available in select worldwide markets in mid-2021.
YouTube Channel Defunctland recreates Disney’s retired 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea attraction in VR. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea can be experienced with a PC VR headset by downloading a .exe of the VR app [with VR and non-VR capabilities] or through YouTube’s 360 degree video feature. The Defunctland VR team is a non-profit, volunteer-run preservation/passion project and they plan to continue to digitally archive other attractions in VR.
ThirdEye Launches AR/MR Software Digital Ecosystem for Enterprise. The company now provides end-to-end AR solutions through its X2 MR Smartglasses, Mobile Device Management, and RemoteEye and RespondEye software all from one vendor. ThirdEye products are targeted for healthcare, government and field services.
CREAL reveals its first light-field prototype AR & VR headsets. Compared to other displays, light field displays generate images that reflect how we see light in the real world. The company’s goal is to not build its own headsets but to instead provide its light field technology to other headset makers.
SenseGloves Nova, which are haptic feedback gloves for professional VR training, were announced at CES. The product increases and improves upon haptic feedback, form factor, and hand tracking to enable a user’s feeling of shapes, textures, and resistance in VR. The company plans to ship its first SenseGloves Nova gloves in March 2021 and can be pre-ordered at $5,000 for a set of two gloves on the SenseGlove website.
Looking Glass Portrait, a personal holographic display, ends its Kickstarer campaign, raising over $2.5M. This product can turn any 2D photo into a 3D hologram with Looking Glass Factory’s cloud-based service. The product can still be pre-ordered on Indiegogo for $249 and plans to ship in May 2021.
Roblox raises $520M in a private funding round ahead of IPO. The company’s valuation is currently at $29.5 billion and plans to go public via direct listing after delaying their IPO at the end of 2020 due to the unexpected soar of Airbnb and DoorDash stocks at their debut. The company plans on raising more money in the near future.
Zoom plans to explore and expand beyond videoconferencing. The company is currently developing an email service to compete with Google and Microsoft. A calendar app may also be in the works.
Snap acquires Streetcred, a location data startup. The acquisition includes four team members from Streetcred, where they’ll be working on map and location-related products. With this acquisition, the company will be able to build on Snapmap and location lenses.
This Week in XR is now a podcast hosted by Paramount’s Futurist Ted Schilowitz and Charlie Fink, the author of this weekly column. You can find it on podcasting platforms Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube. Watch the latest episode below.
Charlie Fink is an author and futurist focused on spatial computing. See his books here. Spatial Beats contains insights and inputs from Fink’s collaborators including Paramount Pictures futurist Ted Shilowitz.