Welcome back to Spatial Beats. Steve Koenig, VP CTA Research, gave an overview of CES to conclude the first day of press conferences. There are tens of thousands of reporters and analysts at the show. Koenig identified five main themes of CES this year: (1) Metaverse and Web 3.0 (2) Transportation/mobility, including autonomous vehicles, charging, and in-vehicle experiences (3) Health Tech (4) Sustainability and (5) Gaming and services. Koenig said this year’s show would represent a “Metaverse of things.” XR and gaming hardware seemed to have a much bigger footprint than our last in-person show three years ago, in 2020.
All The XR at CES is our roundup. XR hardware is alive and well, and compelling new trends in AR and haptics show how the technology has developed in the past three years.
Until I read this I’m not finished with CES. The summary I look forward to most every year (other than my own, nartch) is by veteran tech writer Dean Takahasi, the prolific Dean of tech writers. There are other round-ups from Cnet, ZDnet, TechCrunch, and The Verge. They don’t focus on XR the way we do, though.
The end of Mojo Vision as we know it. The company said in a blog post that it had been unable to raise another round of financing and will shut down its AR contact lens project, which is conducting trials with humans. The company will instead focus on the micro LED technology it has developed. Marketing head Steve Sinclair, formerly with Apple, said he is leaving the company.
Apple’s AR/VR Headset In Blistering Detail. A blockbuster leak was published by The Information and then everyone reported on that reporting. The highly anticipated headset is super light, made of glass and carbon fiber, and is powered by a waist-mounted battery. Apple’s as-yet unnamed headset uses a hand-tracking interface and has a 120-degree field of view (the Meta Quest Pro is 110). The new HMD will have two LiDAR scanners and more than a dozen inward and outward cameras and other sensors built in. A major focus of the headset is avatar chat with realistic avatars that accurately reflect facial and body movements. VR experiences will be offered via a partnership with Unity. Bloomberg says an announcement is imminent.
Rendever acquires VR Social app Alcove from AARP. At CES this week Rendever, the Boston-based elder-tech company, announced it was buying the social VR platform for the Quest that it developed with AARP in 2019. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed, but Techcrunch says Rendever is paying cash for Alcove, and AARP is taking equity in Rendever. In other words, it’s unclear if any money actually changed hands.
Holoride Launches In-Car VR Device For Any Vehicle. The company creates multiplayer VR experiences for the Vive Flow that sync with the car’s motion. Audi was their first customer but now anyone can clip a Bluetooth motion sensor on the dash so passengers can enjoy synchronous sensations of movement in the game.
It’s Not Too Early To Become Metaverse-Ready (Scott Belsky/Wired)
This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by Paramount’s Futurist Ted Schilowitz, Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz, 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.