Welcome back to Spatial Beats. At Google I/O 2023, the company unveiled several new products and services, including the Pixel Fold, Pixel 7a, and a new Pixel tablet. They also announced updates to their AI technology, including natural language processing improvements and new features for their Google Assistant. Most important to us, Google will be bringing more augmented reality (AR) to its Maps app, allowing users to see virtual information overlaid on the real world. The feature will provide users with more detailed information on their surroundings, such as directions, restaurant menus, and reviews. Google is also working on a new AR mode for its search engine, allowing users to see 3D objects in their real environment through their smartphone camera. AR Insider predicted in November that visual search like this will grow quickly this year, opening up a substantially new revenue opportunity.
I upgraded to the pro version of ChatGPT and it contributed substantially to the column this week. The free version on the web is for cheating on 7th grade history test. The paid version of ChatGPT is everything they say it is. It just saved me at least two hours, but it made the job a bit more menial, even as it freed me from its repetitive quality. I was just cutting and pasting and looking for hallucinations (of which there were several), corrected by hand and noted with an (x). I’m just starting to understand the incredible potential of this technology.
This is bad. If a writer can write a story in ⅓ the time, there are ⅔ too many writers.
Niantic’s New Peridot mobile AR Game A Spritely Mix of Pokemon Go and Tamagotchi. Niantic runs Pokemon Go, which has made over five billion dollars, but the IP belongs to someone else. Peridot is the company’s first original location-based AR game since Ingress. The new game combines the location-based gameplay of the company’s games Ingress and Pokemon Go, with a virtual beings like Tamagotchi, the keychain virtual pet from Bandai was a pre-teen fad the 90s. Critics are giving the game a big thumbs up, and Amazon is integrating shopping into a video game for the first time. Using computer vision, Peridot has a spatial understanding of their environment. Critters can hide behind a couch or run under a table. (x)
Me: Summarize the Peridot story as if it were a verse in a song in Hamilton
How does Niantic’s new game Peridot fare?
Some say it’s a fresh and exciting pair
Of AR and RPG, a unique blend
But others think its faults are hard to mend
Peridot, Peridot, a game of AR
With creatures to catch and battles afar
Niantic’s latest venture, does it go far?
Peridot, Peridot, a game of AR
Amazon debuts “Amazon Anywhere,” in Niantic’s new mobile AR game Peridot. The new immersive shopping experience allows customers to purchase physical products from within virtual worlds and interactive environments, such as video games, augmented reality (AR), and mobile apps. This is a significant move as, up until now, most shopping in virtual worlds has been limited to virtual currency and in-game digital items. Peridot players can purchase Peridot branded products, such as t-shirts and phone accessories, within the game after linking their Amazon account. These products will be delivered to customers like any other Amazon purchase, with tracking and order management available via the Amazon app. (x)
USC Launches $1bn XR, Generative AI Initiative. The University of Southern California (USC) has launched a $1 billion initiative to advance the field of mixed reality and generative artificial intelligence. The project, known as XR AI, will bring together researchers, engineers, and artists to explore the potential of these technologies in various fields, including entertainment, education, healthcare, and more. (ChatGPT)
Gio VR headset’s killer app: watching cricket. A new VR headset designed specifically for cricket fans has been developed by Indian tech company Moksha Technologies. The headset offers an immersive experience of cricket games and events, allowing fans to watch matches as if they were right there in the stadium. (ChatGPT)
Last stand for IVAS? New challenges, delays as Army debates future of augmented reality goggles. The US Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) is facing new challenges and delays as the Army debates the future of its augmented reality goggles. The IVAS program is intended to equip soldiers with advanced AR technology for situational awareness and other tactical uses. (ChatGPT)
The Tribeca Festival 2023 has announced its lineup for the Tribeca Immersive, an innovation platform for extended reality (XR) creators to showcase their latest works. The Immersive program will feature 13 highly-curated and author-driven XR experiences that highlight cinematic and cutting-edge virtual, augmented, mixed reality, and participatory experiences. The experiences include The Fury by Shirin Neshat, Colored from Tania de Montaigne, Novaya, and Centre Pompidou, Pixel Ripped 1978 by ARVORE and Atari, and more. The event will kick off the first-ever Games & Immersive Experience held exclusively in-person at Tribeca Festival’s hub, Spring Studios. The program is divided into two categories of selections: Main Competition and New Voices, with Main Competition projects eligible for the juried Storyscapes Award. Tribeca Immersive will run from June 9 to 17, showcasing a wide spectrum of contemporary storytelling, including impact-driven stories from acclaimed artists, groundbreaking experiences, and best-in-class XR games pioneering a new generation of interactive entertainment. (ChatGPT)
PGA Tour brings augmented reality to golf events. The PGA Tour has launched an augmented reality experience for golf fans attending its events. The AR feature, called “AR Shot Tracker,” overlays virtual ball-flight paths and other data onto real-world shots in real time, giving fans a new level of insight and immersion into the game. (ChatGPT)
Researchers develop wearable device that can simulate smell in virtual reality. Researchers from the University of California San Diego have developed a wearable device that can simulate smells in virtual reality. The device, called the “Smell-O-VR,” uses cartridges to release various scents, allowing users to experience smells as they move through a virtual environment. (ChatGPT)
Starburst opens Juicyverse experience in metaverse mall. Starburst has launched its Juicyverse experience inside the metaverse mall known as TheMall, and it’s accessible via any device on the web. The Starburst Juicyverse enables people to visit the virtual mall and engage in virtual entertainment using the MetaVRse Engine 2.0, which lets people connect from any device over a web browser.
Meta recently introduced new changes to its Horizon app, making it impossible for world builders to schedule events. The app, which allows users to create and attend virtual events in the metaverse, has been popular among creators looking to host social gatherings and meetings, and has benefitted from events moving over from the shuttered AltSpaceVR. However, the update also introduced a limit to the number of events that can take place in a single space, which has caused frustration among some VR club programmers. (ChatGPT)
The Global Mobile AR Market to Hit $39 Billion by 2027. A new study by ARtillery Intelligence examines the potential economic impact of mobile AR, including the creation of new jobs and the growth of various industries. The market growth can be credited to the increasing adoption of augmented reality (AR) technology across several industry verticals, such as brand marketing, automotive, healthcare, education, construction, and logistics among others.
Roblox’s improved metaverse fails to generate substantial revenue. Despite improving its metaverse features, the popular gaming platform Roblox has failed to generate significant revenue from its users. The platform’s focus on free-to-play games and virtual items has not translated into substantial spending by its user base. (ChatGPT)
Why generative AI is more dangerous than you think (Louis Rosenberg/VentureBeat)
The Metaverse Has Definitely Lost Steam — But Is It Dead (Nathan Sinnott/Entrepreneur)
How Mark Zuckerberg Led the Tech Industry into a Metaverse Wasteland (John Herrman/NY Mag)
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.