Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This week, we look at 8th Wall’s new developer network, Sam & Max’s VR debut and fresh XR funding rounds. Let’s dive in…
Osso VR Raises $27 Million Series B to Expand Its VR Surgical Training Platform. This VR surgical training platform has been helping residents and introducing surgeons to new techniques since 2016. Osso VR was founded by game designer turned Orthopedic Surgeon and now CEO, Justin Barad, who understood how VR can train better surgeons. When you hear about this use case, it’s so obvious and intuitive it feels like it’s always been here. And yet it is entirely new. The virtual operating room is multiplayer, so the instructor is co-present with students in the simulation. Demand surged during the pandemic. This brings the Silicon Valley-based company’s overall outside funding to $43 million. The funding round was led by GSR Ventures, with participation from Signalfire, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, OCA Ventures, Scrum Ventures, Leslie Ventures, and Anorak Ventures.
Matterport SPAC Merger Imminent. The company, which makes 3D scans of building interiors, is going public later this month through a reverse merger with a SPAC, which is a publicly-traded pile of cash, in this case, $640 million of it, looking to marry a private company with real revenue. Hello Matterport, a rapidly growing, mature business, about to become XR’s next unicorn. With revenue over $130 million a year, the combined company will trade as MTTR when the deal finally closes later this summer.
8th Wall Creating Global Network For AR Creatives & Brands. 8th Wall provides a platform for doing AR with any smartphone with a camera and browser. Using computer vision, the camera finds the marker. The user touches the screen. Boom. You’re got AR. It’s device-agnostic and does not require the download of an app. This is especially useful in marketing and advertising, who have yielded better results with AR-enabled mobile experiences like virtual try ons. 8th Wall provides all the plug and play effects you find in Snap Lens Studio (for Snapchat lenses) or Spark AR (for Instagram and Facebook) and no new apps are required to run them. The 8th Wall Partner Program is a new network of agencies and creative studios using 8th Wall’s numerous AR tools to connect. A Linkedin, if you will, for AR designers and agencies.
Virtual Burning Man is back. With the 2021 event canceled, VR is the best way to experience the magic. Virtual Burning Man 2021: Six Virtual Burning Man Worlds — August 22 to September 7, 2021
MR startup Multinarity emerges from stealth with $28 million Seed round. The company emerged from stealth with the biggest seed round in the history of Israeli tech. Weird. Because they’re not saying what exactly their service or product is. Founded a year ago by former Magic Leapers Tamir Berliner and Tomer Kahan, Multinarity shares their former company’s mania for secrecy, saying cryptically that they are developing an all-day everyday solution. The investment of $28 million was led by Israeli VC Aleph and U.S. fund Corner Ventures.
From the department of tone-deaf billionaires. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted an iconic Instagram video showing him on a hydrofoil waving U.S. flag at sunset. “Happy July 4th!,” read the post, scored with John Denver’s “Country Road.” If you recall, the song is an ode to West Virginia, where Zuck is certainly not. Once upon a time that didn’t mean anything. Zuck, always heedless of unintended consequences, presents a contradictory yet powerful mashup of symbols here, but to what end? A Putin-on-a-horse moment? On the heels of a petition for Jeff Bezos to stay in space garnering over 120,000 signatures, an inauthentic, obviously stage-managed USA bro hug was exactly what no one wanted. Yet here it was, perfectly timed to maximize media attention on a news-starved holiday weekend. It makes you wonder if Zuck is running for president.
This just in from Tech Brew: Just 28% of Americans say they’re excited about VR and AR technologies. Of course, they once said that about computers and mobile phones.
Behind the Scenes with Jean-Micahel Jarre’s VR Concert From the Unity blog, the story of how AR/VR consultant Antony Vitillo journaled the entire experience of putting on Jean-Michel Jarre’s Welcome to the Other Side (WTTOS), in a VR replica of the Notre-Dame Cathedral to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The show has racked up more than 75 million views.
Sam and Max, This Time It’s Virtual Just came out on the Quest, soon to be followed by PSVR, Steam and game consoles. The nonstop cleverness has been praised by popular reviewers like Nathie, Upload VR, and Gamespot.
Remote Control Cars in VR Chat? Yes, Please! “Made of durable high-quality polygons!” Furries love em. And it’s free!
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.