Welcome back to Spatial Beats. Now ByteDance wants Meta’s Metaverse business, too. Having taken on the social media empire formerly known as Facebook in social media, ByteDance purchased VR company Pico last year to go after their Metaverse business too. Pico’s well-reviewed new device, The Pico 4, is better and cheaper than the current Quest 2. Pico will launch in Europe, Korea, and Japan next month. No word on a US launch.
Immersive Monitor from Breylon raised $15 million. We first encountered Breylon in a suite at CES and were impressed by the headset-free immersive gaming experience with a high-definition monitor. The round was led by Lockheed Martin and the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund, with participation from Corning, LG Technology Ventures, UDC Ventures, and Franklin Templeton.
Taqtile AR Closes $5M Funding. The makers of the Manifest AR-enabled work-instruction platform announced new funding from Ascend, London-based Mesmerise, Downer Group, and Innovation Lab. The company raised a $3 million round in 2019.
The US Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) Is Now Live. According to Jane’s Defense Weekly, the Army began receiving the first of 5,000 units from Microsoft. Instead of the usual Microsoft HoloLens standalone system, the IVAS HoloLens is tethered to a puck. IVAS uses AR to give the infantryman a heads-up display for maps, drone feeds, night vision, and two-way see-what-I-see communications. Despite the Army’s enthusiasm, Congress slighted the program in their current budget, leading to premature rumors of the program’s demise.
Wal-Mart “Be Your Own Model” Uses AR to Dress Their Customers. For the first time, an app can do a real-time virtual try-on. Today users choose one model with their build and dress it like a doll. Using technology from Zeekit, a start-up acquired by Wal-Mart in 2021, the app uses computer vision and neural networks to instantly generate an image of the user wearing the garments. The app is able to generate all the different variations of a product, including size, color, sleeve length, fabric texture, etc to generate an accurate, personal fit.
Neal Stephenson Named the Metaverse. Now, He’s Building It (Steven Levy/Wired)
Facebook, Beware: The Metaverse Is Flat (Parmy Olsen/Bloomberg)
How Tumblr went from a $1 billion Yahoo payday to a $3 million fire sale (Leah Collins/CNBC)
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.