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Cover image composite via Nonsap Visuals on Unsplash & Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam”

People fundamentally distrust magicians. And they should. The illusions they proffer are just that, illusions meant to astound rather than tangible interactions and results that have weight and meaning in our real world. Our lizard brains know this, and, no matter what the outstanding feat of “magic” presented, we nevertheless hold fast to our survival-based grip on the truth: we just saw simply “can’t be real.”

That is, unless the magic “is” real, and the observer simply isn’t aware of the scientific and/or technological underpinnings of the experience (see Arthur C. Clarke’s “Third Law”). …


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Cover image via WaveOptics

The year 2019 was filled with all the normal peaks and valleys of the tech business cycle, but this year was particularly important in a space as relatively young as the augmented reality industry.

What once seemed like a vast fertile bed of mobile AR apps, powered by Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore turned out to be just a small beachhead in the mobile component of immersive computing.

Meanwhile, the high-end AR players at the top of the mountain swapped places, as one replaced its aging headset with a brand new device that became the state of the art, while the other experienced a surge of new apps, but even more doubts as its funding runway and market strategy has been placed in doubt. …


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Cover image by Adario Strange/Next Reality

Why do you need augmented reality? Because enterprise, they say. And while that’s certainly true for several disciplines, there’s still that mainstream use case hanging out there waiting for users to discover beyond the realm of enterprise and gaming.

After much thought — and taking the Magic Leap One through many different situations — I decided it was time to see if one of those use cases might be using it for office work. Specifically, I wanted to see if the Magic Leap One could serve as a viable tool for the average white-collar office worker through a normal day.

After almost a year on the market, you would think that someone might have already tried this, but I was unable to find an example of someone truly taking the device through its paces for an entire day in a normal office setting, so I decided to give it a try myself. …


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Cover image via Jonghyun Kim/YouTube

The research team from Nvidia is returning to SIGGRAPH, an annual hotbed of innovation, with two new advancements in augmented reality displays.

The first breakthrough, Foveated AR, is a prototype head-mounted display that uses an eye-tracking method for dynamic focus while delivering foveated rendering.

Image by Jonghyun Kim/YouTube

Foveated rendering is a technique that tracks the eye’s focus in order to display high-resolution content within the eye’s perceptible field of view and lower-resolution content in the periphery, which, in turn, reduces the data footprint of graphic rendering.

In Foveated AR, Nvidia pairs a concave half-mirrored display in the foveal area (where vision is sharpest) and a wide field of view display for the peripheral area. A mechanical system moves a holographic optical element horizontally within the system to match the pupil’s position. The optical elements are also implemented in the eye-tracking system, with the eye’s position illuminated by infrared LEDs and reflected via the half-mirror display to the eye-tracking sensor. …


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Over the past decade, Marvel Studios has been a dominant force at the box office, raking in more than $21 billion dollars. Averaged out over that span of time, the yearly earnings of those movies outweigh the gross domestic product of some countries.

And while those films have earned a reputation for massive, effects-driven epics laced with humor — a seemingly unbeatable box office formula — there’s a supporting player that has helped drive the narrative for most of those movies: augmented reality.

From the advanced technology of Iron Man to the cosmic computers of the Guardians of the Galaxy, augmented reality has contributed to the sense of wonder and awe that the movies inject into their audiences. …


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Cover image via Microsoft/YouTube

Comparing the present-day states of the consumer and enterprise sectors of augmented reality is like evaluating the merits of sports car versus work trucks. Like consumer AR, sports cars are sexy and exciting, but perhaps a bit impractical at times. On the other hand, enterprise AR is utilitarian, but it gets the job done and, in the long run, pays for itself.

And that’s why AR headsets, like the HoloLens and the Magic Leap One, and smartglasses, such as Google Glass, Vuzix M Series, Epson Moverio, and others, are aimed at business buyers rather than mainstream markets.

Despite some marvelous innovations in the enterprise space, the bread and butter of enterprise AR apps consist of hands-free workflow guidance and remote assistance. In fact, most companies that offer a workflow guidance solution also provide a compatible remote assistance app. On the other hand, there are also a number of software companies that concentrate solely on the remote AR apps. …


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When I first found out about Nreal, back in the spring of 2018, the most interesting thing about the company’s story was the founder’s background. Chi Xu, the CEO and founder of Nreal, previously worked at Magic Leap as a software engineer.

Earlier this year, when I met Xu a second time in Barcelona, Spain at Mobile World Congress (our first meeting was last year, in Silicon Valley), I asked him why he decided to leave Magic Leap. He declined to answer that question.

Now, as Magic Leap has pointed its legal arsenal at Xu and his company, it looks like at least some of the unanswered questions about Nreal will be answered in court. In the meantime, it worth looking at a timeline of Xu’s path to try to give a fuller picture of how Nreal came to be. …


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If there is a major blind spot in the AR space in 2019, it’s the impact that blockchain technology will eventually have on the software distributed in AR clouds.

For the uninitiated, the quickest way to describe blockchain technology is as a method of assigning unique attributes to digital assets using cryptography, and those assets are distributed on a (usually) decentralized, (usually) public ledger (database) called a blockchain.

The most popular application of this technology has been in the realm of digital currency, most famously in the form of Bitcoin. …


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Anyone who has been within a block of any wireless brick and mortar store or tech conference in the last couple of years has no doubt seen banners, posters, and videos promoting 5G high-speed wireless services on the way.

The last time I can remember a technology being so hyped before release or mainstream adoption was 3D televisions. Well, we know how that turned out.

Will 5G share the same fate? Yes and no.

To be sure, our wireless speeds will get faster, and those faster speeds will result in lower latency, aiding the emergence and robustness of IoT (internet of things), gaming, and AR cloud computing. …


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By far the most significant development for AR in the coming months and years — the development that will drive AR adoption — will be our reliance upon the AR cloud.

Soon, you will see companies attempt to brand this technology with some moniker they’ve created (for example, Azure from Microsoft, the “Magicverse” from Magic Leap, etc.) that will allow them to market various unique features and approaches.

But, in general, it’s all the same thing, data in the cloud tied to mobile devices that will allow AR devices to become the gateways for our avatars in this new landscape of reality layered with virtual interactive information. …

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Next Reality

Augmented & mixed reality news, rumors & dev guides.

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