Welcome back to Spatial Beats. CES was more online than off this year, as nearly 200,000 people dwindled to tens of thousands in the physical world. Exuberant dinner parties have given way to room service hamburgers. One CEO told me he’s spent most of his time in a hotel suite doing Zoom calls. More than one attendee shared photos of the empty cab lines on Twitter. To its credit, the CTA was prepared for a hybrid event, deploying an impressive app and website powered by Summit Engine, the product of one of the other international mega events on the planet, WebSummit.
No traffic, no cab lines, walk-in tables at the best restaurants and very, very, few people. CTA
Despite many major exhibitors and journalists punting on the event due to Omicrom fears, there were still comprehensive reports from some outlets. CNet’s Five Big Takeaways were (1) CES couldn’t overcome COVID-19, but that didn’t matter; (2) Laptops and TVs are flashy again, and you’ll like the new ones; (3) Phones and 5G provided a meaty unofficial CES; (4) Smart glasses could have an iPad moment in 2022; and (5) The EV tsunami is about to come ashore. TechCrunch noted that connected fitness had a huge year. Gizmodo compiled a list of their favorite gadgets at the show.
Mojo Vision Raises Additional $45M to Put Smart Contact Lens in the Eyes of Athletes. The company raised an additional $45 million to support further development its smart contact lens. Mojo is partnering with a number of fitness brands (Adidas, Trailforks, etc.) to explore how to better integrate its smart contact lenses into sports and training.
Matterport announced its acquisition of the 3D geospatial data processing company Enview for roughly $60M–1.59 million shares and $35M in cash. The acquisition will enable Matterport to accelerate the development of its next-generation spatial data analytics platform that optimizes the operations and management of any physical space, while providing powerful insights and building intelligence.
Qualcomm and Microsoft are partnering on chips for future AR glasses. Qualcomm already powers the HoloLens but this takes their collaboration into custom chips and software like Snapdragon Spaces.
Sony confirms PlayStation VR2. In his CES keynote, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan announced the name and not much else. Sony still hasn’t shown off what the headset itself will look like.Compatible with the PS5, the headset supports haptic feedback, eye tracking, 4K HDR, 90/120Hz frame rates, foveated rendering, and an impressive field of view of 110 degrees.
Vuzix unveils its new Vuzix Shield Smart Glasses which were a multiple CES® 2022 Innovation Awards Honoree. Previously referred to as Vuzix Next Generation Smart Glasses (NGSG), the Shield is built for enterprise customers. Vuzix’ waveguide optics driven by miniature microLED (uLED) stereo displays provide a completely non-occluded see-through heads-up display housed inside lightweight, stylish, prescription-ready safety glasses combined with stereo HD cameras.
ThirdEye announces new ‘Razor MR Glasses’ consumer Mixed Reality device. The glasses weigh 85 grams, run on the Android 9.0 operating system, feature a 43-degree field of view (FoV) (equivalent to a 120″-inch display), and have an 8-hour battery life. Additional features for the Razor MR Glasses include voice control and a dual high-definition (HD) directional sound system.
Panasonic’s tiny glasses-sized SteamVR goggles are coming this spring. They’re a preview of the shrinking design of VR headsets. They also have an optional immersive heating-cooling chest strap.
DigiLens Reveals XR Advances at CES 2022. The low cost see-through XR Waveguide lenses will be available to manufacturers in the next six months. With Samsung leading a $50 million investment in November, it’s not hard to imagine where those lenses will be going.
HTC Vive Unveils New Hardware Solutions At CES 2022, Including A Wrist Tracker & Charging Case. HTC released three virtual reality (VR) headsets in 2021, the Vive Pro 2, Vive Focus 3 and Vive Flow. At CES 2022 they unveiled a bunch of accessories specifically for the standalone Vive Focus 3, a wrist tracker, charging case and multi-battery charger.
Rendever has announced the availability of its new RendeverFit platform to keep seniors physically and mentally fit. From senior living communities to hospitals, their platform is being used to reduce depression and loneliness by fostering personal connections amongst populations where life has become limited. Participants in group sessions can check off bucket list items together, revisit meaningful places and share stories, and stay engaged with family members.
Vrgineers released the XTAL 3 at CES. The Czech company make the most high resolution VR headset on the market. It was developed with U.S. Air Force specifically for pilot training. Pilots train in the headset with a fully functional replica cockpit. The mixed reality experience is said to be the most immersive and convincing in the world.
How Yahoo Immersive made the Jan. 6 XR interactive. Yahoo just published multiple January 6 anniversary XR pieces which include a minute by minute breakdown of the events of last year’s Capitol riots, with a 3D breakdown showing how the rioters got within 2 doors of VP Mike Pence. This is Yahoo’s biggest XR endeavor to date and is a compelling piece of immersive 3D investigative journalism that gives a unique look at the Capitol riots.
Cambridge University Hospitals Partners with GigXR For Holographic Medical Simulation Training. The company announced a partnership with the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust to collaborate on volumetric medical training applications for medical students, nurses, and doctors seeking to enhance their skills in clinical practice.
Dating is about to see a historic shift. Experts predict VR will change how we date. (Anna Iovine/Mashable)
Wired’s top editor: Metaverse ‘feels like a terminological land grab’ (Kerry Flynn/Yahoo News)
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.