Welcome back to Spatial Beats. I saw All The XR at CES and I wasn’t the only one. Jeff Kaplan of Tech Radar shared his comprehensive list of XR at the show yesterday. My big takeaway: the next big thing for XR is not VR, or AR as we generally think of spatial computing today. It is using XR optics technology to create a screen extender for smartphones. Yup. XR is a smartphone accessory.
No sooner did I have this epiphany than Pandaily reported China’s Nreal sold more than 100,000 pair of its new $379 Nreal Air smartglasses on Amazon. The Air is… drumroll… a screen extender for your smartphone, a second screen that turns mobile games and streaming media into big-screen experiences.
Not to be upstaged by CES, Apple is still in the news this week after details about their new XR device has been leaked… by Apple. I would not be surprised. Bloomberg said Apple plans to announce a fall launch of its new XR device in the next several months. This follows the leak published in The Information the day before CES, which describes the very powerful and expensive device in some detail. Leaks don’t leak themselves. Amirite? Doubters immediately piled on Apple’s VR Headset Might Be Its Biggest Flop in Decades — Here’s Who the Real Winners Will Be says Caleb Naysmith in Benzinga. Apple’s AR headset had better be good–because everything else is doomed opined Macilope.
Inner Cosmos Raises $10 Million To Treat Depression With BCI Implant. Inner Cosmos, a new neurotechnology company founded by serial entrepreneur Meron Gribetz, today presented its first neural implant to treat depression. The neurotechnology company created what it calls “a digital pill for the mind.” similar to a cochlear implant.
Paris Hilton Invests in Proto. The holographic system makes any remote person appear in a box as a flawless photorealistic 3D digital twin. Proto is used privately for corporate communications, but consumers will see it in brand activations and at other public events.
L’Oréal Invests in Metaverse Start-Up. The $4M minority investment in Digital Village, a “metaverse-as-a-service” platform that allows brands to develop blockchain-enabled 3D spaces from end to end, was made through L’Oréal’s corporate venture capital fund, BOLD. It will use the new capital to expand its platform’s capabilities, “adding new tools to power 3D world development, advanced avatar customization, and virtual store creation.”
DigiLens unveils Argo standalone AR/XR headset. This was embargoed by the company until after CES to avoid the noise. The Lens maker was dissatisfied with the speed of development of AR smart glasses and decided to create its own for enterprise XR.
Get Ready to Hear More about Mobeus. Airglass is the first product from Mobeus, a video and audio communications tool intended to enhance virtual meetings by using transparent computing—a user-centric computing paradigm in which the hardware and software are separated in different places—to convert desktop software into a transparent, glass-like layer, giving the user the impression that they are looking beyond the display screen. Recently out of stealth, the company has raised over $20M from Accenture Ventures and others.
Alex Heath of the Verge has a newsletter. The first story you have to pay $70 for is ‘Roblox Coming to Quest.’ I paid for it, so you don’t have to. Here’s what I learned. Roblox is in early talks with Meta to bring its game universe, possibly before the end of 2023.
VRRoom Launches Venue for Concerts. The company had previously produced virtual versions of Venice Film Festival, SXSW, and the Unite 2022 event together with Unity. They famously created and produced VR concerts with Jean Michel Jarre. “I promise you that it won’t be a traditional concert: forget about a stage and a place for the audience… we don’t want to replicate in VR the same events that happen in real life. VR is the place of the impossible, so we want to show there something that is unique and different from a real-life event,” said developer Tony “Skarred Ghost” Vitillo.
Meta to Sunset Support for original (May, 2019) Meta Quest. Not that it won’t work, it just won’t work with new content and social features. When you finally take that black Quest (Quest 2 is white) out of the drawer, it may not be compatible with new software. The company says the headset will get critical bug fixes and security patches until 2024.
What Meta employees really think about their company’s brutal year (Shirin Ghaffary/Recode)
Why the Metaverse (and Meta) Flopped in 2022 (Travis Hoium/Motley Fool)
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.