Despite a revealing story about upcoming Apple XR devices in Bloomberg, there was no announcement about new XR devices at Apple’s Developer Conference (WWDC), except for spatial upgrades to maps, which will certainly be relevant to AR on smartphones and, eventually, head-mounted displays.
I wrote about de-fi, web3, and the Meta Metaverse earlier this week in Forbes. Just three days later Neal Stephenson unveiled his plan to build a carbon-neutral metaverse based on open web3 protocols. Web3 is in the air, the perfume of the moment.
Neal Stephenson’s new company is called Lamina1. Most recently he was Magic Leap’s chief futurist (2014 – 2020). This week Stephenson announced he’s teaming up with Crypto entrepreneur Peter Vessenes to make his original vision of the metaverse a reality. Our friends, Tony Parisi, co-creator of the VRML programming language, and until recently an SVP at Unity, is joining them as chief strategy officer, and Rony Abovitz, who recruited Stephenson when he ran Magic Leap, announced they, too, are involved with the new venture. Vessenes wrote in a blog post on the Lamina1.com that he thinks the company will build “the base layer for the Open Metaverse: a place to build something a bit closer to Neal’s vision — one that privileges creators, technical and artistic, one that provides support, spatial computing tech, and a community to support those who are building out the Metaverse.” The company hinted that more will be revealed when Stephenson keynotes the Consensus conference this Saturday.
HoloLens Creator Alex Kipman Leaving Microsoft Under a Cloud. Not exactly the way for such an important figure in XR to go out. Insider reported he’s accused of inappropriate behavior by fellow employees. The company has decided to restructure the group. Kipman will stay on for two months to assist with the transition. Rumors have been circulating for months about the HoloLens group. First, there were rumors Microsoft was shutting down research on a consumer HoloLens. Supposedly there’s also an internal push to move production of the device to OEMs like Acer and Lenovo.
Meta brings game development platform Crayta to Facebook Gaming’s cloud streaming service. Crayta, acquired by FB in 2021, re-launched this week as a cloud-streamed service of Facebook Games. It provides thousands of user-created games and virtual worlds along with WYSIWYG tools to allow non-technical users to create their own games and build their own experiences.
IMVERSE Secures $4.8M for Holographic Conferencing. The Swiss B2B2C conferencing company provides voxel solutions for live holograms and real-time 3D graphics with applications across social media, entertainment, gaming, education, marketing and e-commerce, remote work and training and teleconferencing. They won the CES 2021 Best of Innovation award in the Steaming category for its telepresence software. Leading the round was Ariel Luedi’s Hammer TeamHTC and Logitech, Existing investors ACE & COMPANY and Ivo Petrov, the company’s executive chairman, also followed on in the round.
Looking Glass Factory launches a 65-inch holographic display. The Brooklyn-based company showed the new 8K display in private demos at AWE last week. CEO Shawn Frayne says it’s the largest holographic display in the world. It was a CES-like moment, where you find yourself looking into the future. The pricy display is for pros only right now.
Meta Launching Horizon Home. The long-awaited upgrade first promoted in the Facebook name change movie last October is now available. You can invite friends to hang out in your Oculus home (your spawn space). Eventually, says Meta, users will be able to personalize their homes with furniture and art.
Tribeca Immersive Unveils VR, AR and World’s Biggest Holographic Screen. The Tribeca Film Festival and Immersive Cinema opened yesterday and runs through June 19th. Download the Museum of Other Realities for any tethered PC VR headset to experience the nine stories in the main competition, or any of the other ten experiences from “new voices” (e.g. less established directors). There are also nine selections in the games category. Tribeca Shorts has partnered with Meta to premiere a selection of shorts exclusively through Venues in Horizon Worlds on Meta Quest 2.
Agencies are investing in VR headsets and other tech to simulate in-person work experiences. (Alyssa Meyers/Morning Brew)
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.