December 16, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig
- MyWebAR has added a Ready Player Me plugin allowing users to incorporate their own personalized 3D characters into their free, no-code AR experience.
- Ready Player Me also has its own news: the cross-platform avatar creation tool rolled out some fun and festive holiday clothing items for all of your virtual humans.
- Speaking of virtual humans, ICONIQ is selling “Kukli Metabots” — digitally embodied personal AIs to serve as companions in the metaverse. The individual metabots start at .101 ETH (about $380 at the time of this writing) and are available on OpenSea.
- eBay partnered with Unity to create a desktop 3D viewer so that users can see items “from every possible angle” thanks to AI-generated models.
- Nike, Inc. has acquired design studio RTFKT. RTFKT (pronounced “artefact”), started out selling NFTs of virtual sneakers. However, since then, the pandemic-born company has moved into 2D and 3D NFT profile images that have largely taken over social media.
- For yet another major industry collaboration, Universal Music Group announced a partnership with Genies to create official avatars of top performers, as well as a line of virtually-wearable NFT items. The first musicians to get avatars include Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Rihanna.
- Also onboard for NFTs, Spatial. The company launched as an enterprise remote work platform a few years ago and recently announced a major pivot toward NFT exhibits and cultural events in the metaverse. Included in the move: new spaces including a customizable “home” space, a revamped user interface system, and a shiny new integration with the MetaMask digital wallet.
- Spatial isn’t the only group adopting blockchain. Toronto-based 3D engine MetaVRse announced a partnership with the Hedera blockchain network.
- Also in gaming and social, Meta has announced that Horizon Worlds is finally available to users in the United States and Canada. Materials from the company say that users must be over the age of eighteen, but if Facebook doesn’t know how old a user is, Meta probably won’t either.
- A final note on gaming and social, the browser-based VR platform FRAME has announced a slew of updates including textured environments, a new interface for experimental features, and more.
Last week, we went to press while Snap’s Lens Fest was still ongoing. We got all of the major news to you in time, but we weren’t able to share the winners of the inaugural Lens fest Awards with you and promised to fill you in this week:
- Best in Art & Expression: ¡Vendedores, Presente! by Sallia Goldstein
- Best in Creativity: Rock Hand by 2020CV’s Hart Woolery
- Best in Originality: SKIN THIEF by Denis Rossiev
- Best in Technical Skill: Jig Kitchen How-To by JigSpace
- Best in Utility: Food Menu by Brielle Garcia
- Best in Environmental & Social Good: Bleached Seas by Helena Papageorgiou
- Best in Fashion & Beauty: OG MetaJacket by RTFKT STUDIOS
- Best in Information & Education: BLACKSOUL GALLERY by Leighton McDonald
- Best in Gaming: Ponk by Aden Wolf
- Also new from Snap, the first annual “Lens on the Year” report. It’s a massive report recognizing fifty lenses that made 2021 special, so we won’t list them all here but we encourage you to take a look. Even if you aren’t on the camera-based social media platform yourself, it presents in interesting look at how Snap’s massive creator community are using mobile AR.
- Also occurring last week, the annual XR Safety Week hosted by the XR Safety Initiative. The event was dedicated to open forums on topics relating to safety in immersive environments, including privacy and security. As a result, the event wasn’t “news-heavy” – though it did include the launch of the new community forum Metaverse Reality Check.
The themes for this week have to be interoperability and convergence. We’re seeing VR companies adopting NFTs, conventional companies adopting VR, VR companies working together on standards and safety, and more. It’s a good time to be in XR.
December 16, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig MyWebAR has added a Ready Player Me plugin allowing users to incorporate their own personalized 3D characters into their free, no-code AR experience. Ready Player Me also has its own news: the cross-platform avatar creation tool rolled out some fun and festive holiday clothing items for all of your virtual humans. Speaking of virtual humans, ICONIQ is
December 13, 2021 Global Chief Digital Officer Ben Spiegel of Procter & Gamble Beauty talks with CEO Paran Johar of ARExperience about what brands need to know about augmented reality (AR). You can hear more from Ben at the ARExperience conference this October 17 in Santa Monica, CA: https://www.arexperience.us
December 9, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig Nreal Light consumer AR glasses began selling online through Verizon and in select Verizon retail locations throughout the United States last week and subsequently sold out within days. While U.S. consumers cannot currently find Nreal through Verizon, they can still place orders through the Nreal website, linked above. VR development studio Gleechi announced the release of
December 6, 2021 Global Chief Digital Officer Ben Spiegel of Procter & Gamble Beauty talks with CEO Paran Johar of ARExperience about why augmented reality (AR) is the next big thing for marketing. You can hear more from Ben at the ARExperience conference this October 17 in Santa Monica, CA: https://www.arexperience.us
December 2, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig Epic Games has acquired Rockband maker Harmonix. Epic is widely hailed as a leading metaverse company despite limited XR offerings – an area in which Harmonix is more accomplished. Yet to come into play: Epic CEO Tim Sweeney’s stated but as-yet stagnant interest in blockchain-based games. In other blockchain gaming news, Jadu has announced Hoverboards going
December 2, 2021 Ben Spiegel, Global Chief Digital Officer, P&G Beauty, talks about finding the right partners to bring value to consumers in everyday lives. You can hear more from Ben at ARExperience this October 17 in Santa Monica, CA: https://www.arexperience.us
November 24, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig Reality Labs, the XR research branch within Welcome to Meta | Meta (facebook.com), released a report on some of their research into advanced haptic wearables. Following the report, HaptX founder and CEO Jake Rubin posted an open letter asserting that “the core components of this prototype … appear to be substantively identical to HaptX’s patented technology.”
November 18, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig XR expert and promotor Stephen Black is trying to bring Bubiko Foodtour to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade through augmented reality. Bubiko Foodtour is an AR character used in Black’s educational content often focusing around cultural foods from around the world. You can learn more about Black’s project and support it here. Full Sail University announced
November 11, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig A collaboration between RTFKT Studios and Daz 3D was announced. Together, NFT platform RTFKT (best known for the “crypto punks” project) and 3D modeling studio Daz 3D will develop software for 3D avatars for use in gaming and social metaverse applications. In related news, Apes are in Decentraland – kind of. As of November 14, the
November 4, 2021 by Jon Jaehnig The last week saw a lot of major events including Connect, Social Media Week, and Microsoft Ignite. Also included: updates from Snap and HP, a call for participation from the VR/AR Association, a funding announcement from DigiLens, and more. Connect took place on October 28. While leaked images had many fans anticipating hardware, no new devices