Welcome back to Spatial Beats. The VRX standalone from Lenovo is a brand new device from a company still new to XR. Lenovo launched its tethered ThinkReality A3 smartglasses in 2019. The new HMD focuses on a growing remote corporate training market. Meanwhile, Nreal’s Air smartglasses, launched in Asia earlier this year, target the massive mobile market with a screen replacement, or supplement, which could launch a new era in mobile and wearables. No one has nailed the consumer use case for AR glasses nor screen replacement, yet.
Let’s take those and other spatial news items one at a time…
Lenovo Debuts New Think Reality Enterprise Headset. The ThinkReality VRX standalone is going to be a competitor of the Vive Focus for business applications. The HMD sports thinner “pancake” lenses that slim down the form factor, along with additional color passthrough cameras enabling both VR and AR experiences. The battery in the back of the headset provides a nice counterbalance to the device. No word on price or release date, but Lenovo did say its ThinkReality VRX will be available to select partners later this year.
Nreal Air Now Available on Amazon for $379. A different take on smart glasses, these dispense with outward facing cameras and sensors in favor of a screen with a 46 degree field of view. The equivalent, says nReal, of watching a 130-inch screen from three meters away or a 201-inch screen from a distance of six meters. In addition to videos and games, the expansive display could be used to mirror anything on the smartphone screen.
Distributed computing startup Hadean nabs $30M to power the metaverse. The UK-based start up builds metaverse infrastructure that powers massive multiplayer games like Minecraft. Hadean is also working with the British Army to support training simulations.The Series A round of funding came from Epic Games, Tencent and others.
The Game’s Not Shopping In The Wal-Mart Metaverse on Roblox. Working with new experience design firm Journey, Walmart is entering the Roblox metaverse with two experiences, Walmart Land and Walmart’s Universe of Play. William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer, emphasized the company’s strategy is experimentation and education, as everyone is just figuring out what the metaverse may mean for the world’s largest retailers.
Rec Room’s New Unity-powered Creation Suite Brings Industry Standard Tools to Social VR Platform. Rec Room creations can be brought into Unity where assets from Maya, blender, asset stores, can be added, along with textures, physics and animation.
Neal Stephenson‘s Lamina1 blockchain technology startup dropped a white paper on building the open metaverse. The company explained its mission is to deliver a Layer 1 blockchain, tools, and decentralized services for the open metaverse, providing communities with infrastructure, not gatekeepers, to build a more immersive and fair internet that protects users and rewards creators. The company has a multi-pronged approach: Layer 1 blockchain, metaverse-as-a-Service (MaaS), community economic participation, incentives, and original content.
Not Too Long From Now, You’ll Wonder How You Led Your Life Without AR said Apple CEO Tim Cook in response to a question at Università Degli Studi di Napoli Federico II in Naples, Italy, where he is receiving an honorary degree. “If you look back… you’ll wonder how you led your life without augmented reality. Just like today, we wonder, how did people like me grow up without the internet. And so I think it could be that profound, and it’s not going to be profound overnight.”
Walkabout Mini-Golf VR Launches New Course Based on “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.” Jules Verne’s Nautilus is the setting for Walkabout Mini-golf’s outstanding new game experience. The course is inside the sub, as if it were the made by bored sailors on a long voyage. You don’t have to play mini-golf to experience this love letter to Verne’s Victorian steampunk world and the indelible Disney movie and theme park ride. Teleport around and appreciate the art and imagination of this world.
Crypto Darling Helium Promised A ‘People’s Network.’ Instead, Its Executives Got Rich. (Sarah Emerson, David Jeans, & Phoebe Liu/Forbes)
‘Fortnite’: Battle Royale, concert venue and, maybe, the start of the metaverse (Teddy Amenabar and Jonathan Lee/Washington Post)
Fortnite is the antidote to metaverse skepticism (Luke Winkie/IGN)
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.