July 7, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig
- Finnish headset manufacturer Varjo released a free eBook detailing the use of eye-tracking-enabled XR headsets for research. The publication comes about one month after the announcement that Varjo is working closely with OpenBCI, a company that makes sensors for studying neuroscience.
- Varjo headsets have been capable of eye-tracking for some time, as the technology helps their headsets to optimize display. Their work on the Galea headset with OpenBCI is research focused putting it in competition with HP’s G2 Reverb Omnicept Edition – While Galea will be much more capable, it will also likely be much more expensive.
- Forbes reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee is investigating ByteDance for “deception.” This wouldn’t be XR news except for the fact that ByteDance recently acquired VR headset manufacturer Pico.
- Pico isn’t currently one of the biggest names in VR in the States because it is currently limited to the enterprise market. However, its flagship headset retooled for consumers recently launched in the U.K. and is expected to launch in the U.S. shortly where it may be a competitor for Meta – the megacorporation formerly known as Facebook.
- Road to VR reported that rhythm game Beat Saber earned nearly $100M last year. The game has been a slow-burn viral fever for years as gamers share mixed reality videos of themselves playing the game. As a poster child for VR entertainment, the success of the game has been closely tied with the rise in affordable consumer headsets.
- Monaverse announced via VentureBeat that the company has just closed a $14.6M funding round led by a mix of major companies and angel investors including Protocol Labs, OpenSea Ventures, Polygon Studios, and the Venture Reality Fund. The platform makes it easy and affordable for creators to make virtual spaces for social gatherings, art, and performance.
- Fun Fact, the Venture Reality Fund also backs Beat Games and Varjo.
- XR Pioneer Avi Bar-Zeev tweeted that he is preparing the second edition of his “100 Original Voices in XR” list. Bar-Zeev’s original list consisted largely of creators and designers with original takes but that might not have large recognizable platforms in the way that executives and “influencers” do.
- Nathan Pettyjohn announced on LinkedIn that he is launching a new company. We don’t know anything about the company yet. However, Pettyjohn has been working with ThinkReality, Lenovo’s AR/VR division for the last few years. That’s in addition to his being the president of the VR/AR Association. So, whatever he does next will be worth watching.
Partnerships and parenthood seem to be themes today. Sometimes those partnerships are promising (Varjo x BCI) and sometimes they’re problematic (ByteDance x Pico). Mona’s funding announcement also gave us an interesting opportunity to look at the effect that patronage from a project like the Venture Reality Fund can impact not just one or two companies, but the whole ecosystem.
Then there’s all of the excitement that comes from Pettyjohn’s coming announcement. After covering the space for a while, a new company is like seeing a new character appear on a drama. Who knows what they’re going to bring along and how they’re going to interact with the established cast?
July 7, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig Finnish headset manufacturer Varjo released a free eBook detailing the use of eye-tracking-enabled XR headsets for research. The publication comes about one month after the announcement that Varjo is working closely with OpenBCI, a company that makes sensors for studying neuroscience.Varjo headsets have been capable of eye-tracking for some time, as the technology helps their
June 30, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig Upload VR reported that there is now an on-headset version of “Side Quest.” Side Quest is a platform for onloading non-Meta apps to Quest-line headsets. This can be a way to explore independent projects, or to essentially turn a Quest into a PCVR headset. However, this requires “linking” your Quest to a computer either over
June 23, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig Meta’s Reality Labs released a post describing efforts to “pass the visual Turing Test” with a line of prototype headsets. The post was accompanied by a 90-second video of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg explaining the prototypes and their various optimizations and aspirations.The posts definitely got people talking about “retinal resolution” VR displays – including a
June 16, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig The Governer’s Ball Music Festival took place this week and Snapchat helped to light up the sky. Through its partnerships with Verizon and Live Nation, members of the audience were able to use their mobile phones to share real-time, social, collaborative augmented reality moments with other fans. Spatial analytics company Esri released a Unity SDK for
June 9, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig MetaVRse has released the second generation of its Engine to an early access beta program now taking applications. So far, virtually all of what we’ve seen from the Canadian company has been in the realm of eCommerce and product visualization. While there’s still a lot of that, a demo video of the new engine shows
June 3, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig In celebration of Pride Month, which started this week, Virbela has released two posts dealing with diversity, one on driving inclusion within XR companies and one on pride events taking place within the platform this month.These two posts also speak to the dual nature of Virbela. The platform has proprietary tools and options for paying
May 26, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig There are a number of movements at enterprise smart glasses manufacturer Vuzix. The company announced this week that they are working with partner and remote connectivity company TeamViewer to increase services in Japan.This news follows an announcement last week that the smart glasses manufacturer has “signed a series of agreements” with French micro-LED company Atomistic
May 19, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig Pico released a video of the Neo3 Link. Now available for preorder in Europe, the headset appears to be a gaming-first modified version of the Neo3 Pro, the company’s stand-alone 6DoF enterprise headset. Pico remains an enterprise-only company in the United States, but has been exploring consumer expansion for years and could become a serious
May 12, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig Are all of your friends crying? Snapchat’s most viral new lens makes the user (or others) appear like they’re crying. According to Snapchat, the lens has been used over 1 billion times since its release less than a week ago, including by celebrities like David Dobrik and Kylie Jenner. AltspaceVR announced a new season of interactive
May 5, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig The XR world celebrated “Star Wars Day” on May the 4th.Blippar created a WebAR game that lets players shoot down waves of TIE Fighters, on their desktops or in their neighborhoods on mobile devices.Enterprise AR headset manufacturer RealWear tweeted that the design for their headsets was inspired by Boba Fett’s targeting system.Meta put a sale