Welcome back to Spatial Beats. This week, we look at conjoined twins separated with the help of virtual reality. Three-year-old twins conjoined at the head were successfully separated in a twenty-four-hour surgery that was planned in VR by doctors working together around the world. Surgeons spent months training on real CT and MRI scans. Dr. Noor ul Owase Jeelani described it as “space-age stuff.”
Quest’s Most Popular Basketball Game on App Lab ‘Gym Class’ Secures $8M. IRL Studios announced that Gym Class, its popular VR basketball game on Meta Quest App Lab, has raised $8 million in a seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) with participation from Y Combinator, Founders Inc., Todd and Rahul’s Angel Fund, Balaji Srinivasan, Zaza Pachulia, and other angel investors.
NuEyes & Samsung Creating An AR Solution For Healthcare. The companies announced a partnership to use augmented reality (AR) technology to give medical professionals access to live videos and remote specialists as well as the ability to pull up images and documents in real-time. The NuEyes PRO series AR smart glasses, when tethered to a Samsung 5G Galaxy S Series mobile phone or tablet, can run apps used for ultrasound imaging, remote medicine, and file sharing.
Xiaomi Unveils Consumer Smart Glasses. Chinese tech giant Xiaomi unveiled its own take on a Google Glass style monocular microdisplay. The ~$370 Mijia Glasses features a single high end Micro OLED from Sony. The camera/display upper can also be clipped to a pair of glasses frames or worn by itself. The company says it’s targeting “active consumers.”
ActiveLook Brings “Light AR” To Sports Sunglasses. ActiveLook is a see-through heads-up display designed for sports brands and eyewear manufacturers. The device tethers to a smartphone to provide key performance data in real-time, allowing users to stay informed and focused. ActiveLook Glasses and Goggles start around $250.
Zuckerberg says Meta and Apple are in ‘very deep, philosophical competition’ to build the metaverse. In an all-hands meeting the Meta CEO told employees earlier this month that they were competing with Apple to determine “what direction the internet should go in,” according to a recording of all-hands meeting obtained by The Verge. He said that Meta would position itself as the more open, cheaper alternative to Apple. Meta recently helped stand up the Metaverse Open Standards Group with Microsoft, Epic Games, and others. Apple is absent from the group.
Microsoft’s Battlefield AR Headset On Life Support After Deep Budget Cuts. Microsoft’s ten year twenty two billion dollar deal with the Army to create an AR system is facing a significant reduction from the House Armed Services Committee, which only allocated a paltry fifty million dollars in next year’s budget for the system. This comes amidst a reorganization of Microsoft’s XR units. HoloLens creator Alex Kipman is leaving the company.
Snap’s First AR Game Is a Found Phone Ghost Hunt. In Ghost Phone you use the camera on your smartphone to find AR ghosts around, a la Pokemon Go. Every ghost reveals a bit more about the mysterious lost phone. There is other content on the found phone, too. Find it on Lens Explorer.
Planet of the Bored Apes: Inside the NFT world’s biggest success story. Here’s the inside story about what happened when the founders of Yuga Labs, creator of the super successful Bored Ape Yacht Club had their real identities outed by Buzzfeed. The Bored Apes are a collection of 10,000 unique digital head-and-shoulders drawings of simians, each with a unique combination of traits. They just raised $320M from their token holders to build a massive virtual world called Otherisde.
How Yuga Labs hopes to get to the metaverse first with Otherside. As reported last week, Yuga Labs just tested their metaverse-in-progress with 4,500 simultaneous unique users. Yuga worked with UK-based Improbable to achieve the feat, notably without a degradation in avatar persistence or 3D audio. Dean Takahashi interviewed Yuga CEO Nicole Muniz about the developments.
VR Awards 2022 Finalists. After hosting the last two editions of the VR Awards virtually, AIXR brings the ceremony and celebrations back to the real in collaboration with Immersive Tech Week in Rotterdam, Netherlands. AIXR recently announced the 2022 ceremony will be held live in Rotterdam at the venue: de Doelen on December 1st, 2022. The full list of finalists can be found here.
The NBCUniversal News Group just started airing a special two-week series revealing the opportunities and consequences of the metaverse. Airing across TODAY, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, MSNBC, CNBC, NBCNews.com and NBC News NOW, Inside the Metaverse will investigate how users in the virtual 3D world can engage in everything from retail and religion to health care and dating. Additionally, CNBC’s Julia Boorstin will speak to Paris Hilton about her business ventures in the metaverse, including what she thinks is next in virtual entertainment.
Joanna Popper has been named Chief Metaverse Officer at CAA. Popper has a proven track record of launching cutting-edge content and technology to drive revenue, audience engagement, and brand affinity, will be responsible for establishing and executing the go-to-market strategy and core business priorities for CAA and its clients within the Metaverse.
More than any other sports league, the NBA has gone all in on Web3. With a financially savvy athlete pool, tech mogul owners, and an active sneaker culture, basketball was primed for an implosion of NFT projects. (Jared Lindzon/Fast Company)
Top 5 metaverse activations to know about (Asa Hiken/Ad Age)
Is Mark Zuckerberg taking the first step toward turning Facebook into Yahoo 2.0? By putting the algorithm in charge of Facebook to mimic TikTok, its totalitarian leader endangers the lifeblood of Meta and may be risking the type of downward spiral that has already seen popular Silicon Valley web portals fall apart. (Therese Poletti/Marketwatch)
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.