Welcome back to Spatial Beats. The stock market trembles as the vulnerabilities of our deeply interconnected electronic world are tested by growing international tensions. We are gripped by fear when contemplating a prolonged power outage. The effects of that alone could be catastrophic. No one carries cash anymore. What could go wrong?

Meta’s ad in the Super Bowl, “Old Friends, New Fun” tells the touching tale of an anthropomorphic animatronic band at shuttered “Questy’s.” Separated and alone, one sad shaggy dog musician is rescued from the jaws of a trash compactor, and repurposed in a kid’s science museum. Someone puts a Quest headset on it at closing time, he’s transported to a virtual Questy’s in Horizon Worlds VR metaverse with his old bandmates. For most of this little opus, you have no idea this was a Meta Quest commercial.

Meta hosted a free Foo Fighters Concert in its proto Metaverse Horizon Venues, but no one could get in to see it. The company said it was taken by surprise by “unprecedented demand.” It was also streamed on Facebook Live.

Talespin raises $20M to train workers using spatial technologies. The creator of XR training content had raised twenty million dollars previously, now expands its mission by creating a no-code platform that can support others making training content. Talespin plans to create a marketplace for “training for the metaverse.” Demand has surged during the pandemic as companies look for ways to train an increasingly distributed workforce. Seek Investments and Allomer Capital led the round, with participation from additional investors, including Pearson Ventures, Accenture Ventures, Go1, and Sony Innovation Fund.

Beem Raises $4 Million And Launches Holographic AR Messaging App. The London start up announced the launch of its new eponymous messaging app, Beem. The app uses the rear facing camera of the smartphone to enable users to create AR video messages or livestream in 3D. It does not have two-way capability yet, but that is a near-term goal, says CEO Janosch Amstutz. The company also announced it has raised four million dollars in seed funding from VCs 5 Lion, Ascension Ventures, Grouport Ventures, Inertia Ventures, and the personal fund from Lior Messika, a partner at Eden Block.

New Perceptus Platform Gives a Shot of AI to AR. Perceptus gives apps a semantic understanding of what the camera sees, allowing them to identify and continuously remember the objects in the physical world, grounding augmented reality with more real-world context.


China’s tech giants push toward an $8 trillion metaverse opportunity — one that will be highly regulated (Arjun Kharpal/CNBC)

Why you can’t have legs in virtual reality (yet) (Rachel Metz/CNN)

Their Bionic Eyes Are Now Obsolete and Unsupported (Eliza Strickland and Mark Harris/IEEE Spectrum)

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.

Header image credit: James Yarema on Unsplash

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