Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This week, we look at the ongoing development of the metaverse… or at least today’s early versions of it. The pieces are coming together but it will take several years to materialize…
Facebook launched Horizon Workrooms, a private mixed-reality spatial meeting room for both video conference participants and those in VR. It is packed with features like whiteboards, notes, screen sharing, and can accommodate 16 VR users and 50 video users. Here’s the big thing. The headset’s external cameras use computer vision to give users access to their physical PC and keyboard while still in VR. Head of Facebook Reality Labs Andrew “Boz” Bosworth said Horizon Workrooms has within it “a hint about the direction the metaverse is headed… You’ve got avatars, identity that is continuous and you can take it with you. It works for people in 2D and in headsets… It only really becomes a metaverse when it crosses platform boundaries.”
The FTC Re-Filed Its Suit Against Facebook for anti-competitive behavior. The initial lawsuit was filed in late 2020 and was tossed out back in June by a judge which argued that the FTC failed to make its case. The Commission wants to break up the company, spinning off Instagram and WhatsApp. VR isn’t included, for now, but the amended complaint brings the “metaverse” into the picture for the first time.
Geenee Launches Code-Free WebAR Builder For Anyone to Create AR in Minutes. The cloud based no-code AR creation platform enables publishing AR content to the web in a simple WebXR interface. eliminating the need to download an app. Simply scan a QR code or tap a url to launch AR content. We did the free trial and it really works, which means any idiot or schoolkid can do it. The company release did not mention the metaverse, making it much more credible.
Augmented Reality Startup Red 6 Lands Multimillion-Dollar Contract to Support US Air Force Training. Red 6 provides air to air combat training in AR by using a display inside the pilot’s helmet. Back in June they landed a 30M investment. Today they announced a five year seventy million dollar contract with the Air Force.
Roblox acquires Discord competitor Guilded. The Guilded paltform enables text and voice conversations. There are other social features like shared calendars for competitions. They raised $10.2 million in venture capital funding to date. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Zero Latency Free Roam VR Company Attracts New Majority Investor Advent Partners. Free roam, or warehouse scale VR, is the only truly immersive VR, where you move with natural locomotion through virtual spaces. Category leading Zero Latency VR has 55 venues open in 24 countries. Co-founder Tim Ruse will continue as CEO.
Virtual Burn Week (August 29 – September 7) is the virtual version of the Burning Man Festival, cancelled IRL for the second year in a row. Last year Doug Jacobson and his company BRCvr created a virtual Burning Man on Altspace. I thought it one of the best VR experiences of the year. They captured the magic and scale of Burning Man with hundreds of worlds, art installations,and performances. RSVP here to receive a code that you will enter in AltspaceVR to access the BRCvr festival area.
Can Facebook Make Virtual Reality Happen for Real This Time? (Mike Isaac, New York Times) The history of Facebook VR in five minutes.
Facebook’s Metaverse Is More Real Than You Think (Doug Thompson/ Bureau of Bright Ideas)
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.