The AR Roundup: May 2020

Here is what happened in augmented reality between May 1–31, 2020

Source: Disney — DisneyNow App Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway: Adventure Kit

Numbers

  • AR/VR investment volume (number of deals) declined significantly in the last 2 quarters. Total quarterly investment volume in Q1 2020 was at a similar level back in Q4 2013, before VC interest in the current wave of AR/VR was sparked by Facebook acquiring Oculus, according to Digi-Capital (VentureBeat)
  • Brooklyn-based sneaker retailer GREATS saw 3.4x higher brand lift with Augmented Reality ads resulting in 38,300 additional people who remembered the brand. (Facebook)
  • Nreal has sold more than 2,000 #Nreal Light Developer Kits to-date (as at May 12) (Nreal)
  • Customers using AR in their ecommerce efforts are 2.5 times more likely to convert to a sale (Shopify at AWE USA 2020)

Featured Video: Advertising Enters the Next Dimension

Source: 8th Wall / Tom Emrich

Money

  • RLab and Super Ventures announce Spring 2020 cohort (RLab)
  • Magic Leap has raised another $350 million (TechCrunch)
  • Microsoft acquiring Microvision, a leader in ultra-miniature projection display (MSPoweruser)
  • Scandit raises $80M as COVID-19 drives demand for contactless deliveries (TechCrunch)
  • Facebook is buying Giphy and integrating it with Instagram (The Verge)
  • Unity snaps up Vancouver-based studio building AR/VR tech (TechCrunch)
  • Poplar closes $2.1 million investment led by Fuel Ventures (Poplar)

Featured Tweet: Elon Musk debuts X Æ A-12 baby picture using a Paige Piskin face filter

(Twitter — Elon Musk)

News

Launch Announcements

  • Italian airport leads Europe in adopting AR thermal scanning helmets (VentureBeat)
  • SK Telecom Begins Operating Mixed Reality Capture Studio (BusinessKorea)
  • Qualcomm Reveals Plan to Help Commercialize Lightweight, 5G-enabled AR & VR Headsets (Road to VR)
  • ThirdEye and NuEyes Introduces the Pro 2 (The Optical Journal)

Updates

  • Microsoft HoloLens 2 adds 5G support and is getting easier to buy (CNET)
  • You can now simulate a HoloLens 2 in a Windows Mixed Reality headset using the HoloLens Emulator (MSPoweruser)
  • Magic Leap warns users to update headsets over battery issue (VentureBeat)
  • Nreal Light AR glasses add multi-user shared spaces and WebXR support (VentureBeat)
  • Varjo Base 2.3 brings improved visual markers and support for alternative tracking systems (Varjo)
  • Looking Glass updates its HoloPlay Core SDK (Looking Glass)

Rumors, Patents & Relevant Research

  • Apple’s AR glasses won’t launch until at least 2022, analyst says (CNET)
  • Apple’s AR Glasses! Here you o! Design, Name, Price and more (Front Page Tech / Jon Prosser)
  • Apple Wins Major Patent for Next-Gen Input Gloves, Thimbles, Glasses & other Wearable Attachments for VR+ (Patently Apple)
  • Apple Wins a Patent for a Next-Gen Apple Pencil Adapter that will allow Artists to Draw in VR/AR Environments wearing an Optical Headset (Patently Apple)
  • Microsoft patents a smart speaker with a ring of optical sensors (MSPoweruser)
  • This Lickable Screen Can Recreate Almost Any Taste or Flavor Without Eating Food (Gizmodo)
  • Apple Accessory Maker Logitech is working on a 3D Mouse/Input Device for In-Air VR/AR Controls for Future Headsets (Patently Apple)

Launch Announcements

  • 8th Wall Brings AR ‘Face Effects’ To The Web (Forbes)
  • Clay AIR brings native hand tracking and gesture recognition to Lenovo ThinkReality A6 AR headset (Clay)
  • Matterport’s new Capture app brings 3D digital twins to the iPhone (Spar3D)
  • Cognitive3D launch Objectives System to help enterprises get actionable insights from VR/AR (Cognitive3D)
  • Sketchfab launches team platform to share and collaborate on 3D models (TechCrunch)
  • Facebook launches Avatars, its Bitmoji competitor, in the US (TechCrunch)
  • Unreal gives first look at Unreal Engine 5 (Unreal)
  • High Fidelity launches new spatial sound platform (High Fidelity)
  • First Public Release of Firefox Reality for HoloLens 2 (Mozilla)
  • WebXR Viewer 2.0 Released (Mozilla)

Updates

  • Facebook updates Spark AR with Gallery Picker and AR Music feature (TechCrunch)
  • Unity AR Foundation updated with ARKit 3.5 feaures including realtime meshing (Unity)
  • Unreal Engine 4.25 Improves Support for HoloLens 2, Magic Leap, Adds Azure Spatial Anchors (Road to VR)
  • Google Lens can now read other languages out loud, and scan text to your computer (CNET)
  • Google updates Search with more AR objects and animals (Google)
  • Niantic to begin collecting 3D visual dat from Pokémon GO players (TechCrunch)
  • Reality Blending and PokéStop Scanning Come to Pokémon GO (Niantic)
  • Perfect brings AR tools for beauty brands to WeChat (Mobile Marketer)
  • Grib3D by Grib wins Best Creator or Authoring Tool at AWE USA 2020 Auggie Awards (AWE Blog)

Rumors, Patents & Relevant Research

  • TikTok is coming after Snapchat with a new augmented reality ad format (Digiday)
  • iOS 14 may have a new AR app that can read Apple-branded QR codes (The Verge)
  • Leaked pics from Apple’s AR app Gobi (Moving Product)
  • Apple looks to the future of video conferencing with Memoji avatars (Apple Insider)
  • Microsoft Research’s VROOM combines life-sized AR avatars with robots (VentureBeat)
  • DeepFovea: AR/VR rendering, inspired by human vision (Facebook)
  • Apple patent application describes an iPhone able to make binaural recordings (9to5 Mac)
  • Google Lens working on a step-by-step math problem solve (9to5 Google)

Featured Creator: Kat Vlasova marks graduation with an AR-enabled cap

Twitter — Kat Vlasova

News

Consumer

  • Google Expands AR Effects in Duo to Video Calling for iPhone & Android in Time for Mother’s Day (Gadget Hacks)
  • Exer launches AI-based fitness coach on your mobile phone (VentureBeat)
  • Mickey Mouse AR Game Brings New Disney Attraction To Your Living Room (VR Scout)
  • Weyo’s Kid-Friendly AR Apps Offer A Magical Escape While Under Lockdown (VR Scout)
  • Wallace & Gromit’s Next Adventure Will Be In AR (VR Focus)
  • Virtually Style Your Dream Home with the New Castlery AR App (Man of Many)
  • KaviAR Tech Launches New Augmented Reality App for Travel (AR Post)

Enterprise

  • Butterfly Network’s AR-assisted ultrasound can let doctors guide your own home scans (CNET)
  • Taqtile announced 2.0 version of its flagship product, Manifest, an augmented reality knowledge capture solution (Forbes)
  • Frontdoor makes Streem available at no cost to contractors and real estate agents (BusinessWire)
  • Spatial goes free, aiming to become the Zoom of virtual collaboration (Engadget)
  • HoloLens used to protect staff at London hospital from coronavirus exposure (MSpoweruser)

Featured Quote: Autonommy on tech’s positive potential and our post-humanity cravings

At the end of the day, to enable this idea of technology as something that can bring hope or positivity, it needs to be correlated with representation. For technology to have a truly positive potential, it needs to be acceptable, and in order to be acceptable, it has to be made by people from all walks of life — regardless of gender, sexuality, or social background.

Especially now, with social media, there’s so much focus on curating our own identities. We want control over how we represent ourselves, maximise the aspects of ourselves that we like, minimise those we dislike, control even the seemingly uncontrollable aspects of our identity such as our speech or body language. And that’s where this technology comes in. It gives us a very strong feeling of autonomy over our own image. There absolutely is a craving for a post-humanity.

Autonommy — (Dazed)

News

Social AR

  • Benefit Cosmetics brings AR try-on to WeChat (Mobile Marketer)
  • Facebook and Instagram launch a week of grad-themed evens and features (TechCrunch)
  • Snapchat Becomes a Partner in the #BeatTheVirus Platform (Adweek)
  • Kohl’s, Snapchat Team Up on an Easy Way to Shop for Athleisure Gear (Adweek)
  • DoorDash’s Snapchat AR Lens Re-Creates the Dining Experience at 5 Partner Restaurants (Adweek)

WebAR

  • Nike aims phones at the sky in search for sneaker-shaped AR cloud (Mobile Marketer)
  • AR Experience by Rose Digital Helps Us Visualize Campaign Spending (AR Post)
  • Wonda Coffee introduces the first webar social distancing guide (Marketing Magazine)
  • New Huracán EVO RWD Spyder: Launch in Augmented Reality (Lamborghini)
  • Developer creates SpaceX-inspired WebAR experience to mark Falcon 9 launch (Twitter)

Other

  • American Heart Association Uses Augmented Reality to Boost Its Youth Market Fundraising Program (BusinessWire)
  • Sony Electronics Announces the Envision TV AR App, Bringing Sony’s TVs Straight to Your Home (Sony)
  • With stores closed, MAC Cosmetics expands AR try-on for e-commerce (Glossy)
  • Asos is using AR to promote and sell fresh products in lockdown (The Drum)
  • Audi India has launched its new digitised platform which will allow people to buy their next car from the comfort of their home (Financial Express)
  • PORTAL with Nreal Shopping experience wins AWE 2020 Auggie Award (AWE Blog)

Editorial

  • Sending love while six feet apart isn’t easy. We want to help. (Yahoo News)
  • No mask? Here’s how far your germs can travel (USA Today)
  • Chef at former World Trade Center restaurant hopes COVID-19 crisis unites Americans (Yahoo News)

Music & Art

  • Make your own Damien Hirst with Snapchat’s new filter (Fast Company)
  • Cuseum debuts Museum From Home AR experience for closed art galleries (VentureBeat)
  • NYC Tattoo artist gets nominated for a Webby for AR filters (Inked Mag)
  • Wilder World Launches As Global Art Gallery In AR (Forbes)
  • Katy Perry’s Mixed Reality Performance On American Idol Was A Virtual Showstopper (VR Scout)
  • With a haunting sculpture, the Met expands its push into augmented reality (The Art Newspaper)
  • Olafur Eliasson Creates First Augmented Reality Artwork in Quarantine (Hypebeast)
  • 4th Wall debuts “DRIVE-BY-ART: Method NO. 13” in LA (Twitter)
  • Artist Gracey uses filers and mesh in her music video for Empty Love (Twitter)
  • Tokyo-artist Yellock debuts Future of Music WebAR experience created by Mawari (Twitter)

Human Impact & Ethics

  • Blair Macintyre sparks a conversation around avatar licensing (Twitter)

Follow me on Twitter @TomEmrich. Got news to share or have feedback on “The AR Roundup”? Email me at tom@tomemrich.com.

Watch my latest presentation “Augmented Reality Will Save Retail”.

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