The AR Roundup: December 2018

Here’s what you missed in augmented reality for December 2018

Screen capture from Episode 7 of Glimpse by Futurism (This months’ Featured Video)

Numbers

  • Worldwide Spending on Augmented and Virtual Reality Expected to Surpass $20 Billion in 2019 (IDC)
  • AR & VR headsets for Q3 of 2018: VR market saw 8.2% year-over-year growth in the third quarter of 2018, while AR headsets achieving a smaller 1.1% gain according to IDC. (VentureBeat)
  • Mobile AR reaches over 1 billion users worldwide. Social media AR apps are the most popular among mobile AR users (84%), but a sizable 41% of users report using AR features in online shopping apps. (SuperData Research)
  • Google’s ARCore support has jumped significantly. Google has indicated that the latest ARCore update, version 1.6, will be rolling out to over 250 million phones compared to the one million reported back in February with ARCore’s initial release. (9to5 Google)
  • New survey data from Digi-Capital and AWE show interest in mobile AR is higher than other XR platforms. Mobile AR matters to 76% of all respondents, with smartglasses at 65% similar to VR 62%. (VentureBeat)
  • Toyota is the latest car manufacturer touting the merits of Microsoft HoloLens from visualizing new models on the factory floor at scale and in 3D to reducing repeatable tasks on the line. Toyota highlighted one use case in particular in which HoloLens was used to reduce a common task of measuring the thickness of a vehicle’s paint and rust-prevention coating down from an entire day for two employees to four hours only requiring only one worker. (CNN)
  • Huawei’s CEO, Richard Yu, promises AR glasses in 1–2 years while focusing on mobile experiences to help customers get accustomed to augmented reality in the meantime. (CNBC)

Featured Video: A “Glimpse” into the future of AR

Futurism gives us a “Glimpse” into what a world with AR smart contact lenses could look like and what it would feel like if the tech malfunctions in Episode 7 of its futuristic short film series.

Money

Big News

  • Microsoft Wins $480 Million Army Battlefield contract which will lead to a purchase of 100,000 HoloLens (Bloomberg)
  • UK Government issues £72 million investment in new Core Innovation Hub to bolster VR/AR and other tech to make UK world leader in construction (Gov.uk)
  • Samsung to invest $40m in Niantic in ‘exclusive’ games deal (The Inquirer)
  • Magic Leap is Offering Individual Developers up to $500K for Their AR Projects (Road to VR)
  • AR startup Blippar in danger of becoming a blip as shareholders fight over future funding (TechCrunch)

Hardware

  • Ultrahaptics raises £35m for expansion (The Sunday Times)
  • DigiLens raises funding for holographic AR displays from Niantic and Mitsubishi Chemical (VentureBeat)
  • WaveOptics Raises $26 Million to Expand AR Optics Supply Chain (Road to VR)

Platforms & Tools

  • Phiar raises $3 million for an AR navigation app for drivers (TechCrunch)
  • Wearable Augmented Reality Startup ARtGlass Closes $1.3 Million Angel Round (Digital Journal)
  • Banuba raises $7M to supercharge any app or device with the ability to really see you (TechCrunch)
  • VR/AR Adtech Startup Admix Secures $2.1m Investment (VR Focus)
  • Admix Completes Acquisition of VRFocus.com (VR Focus)
  • China’s AI start-up Megvii raising $500 million at $3.5 billion valuation (Reuters)
  • Capture raises $2.4M to use your smartphone camera to create 3D models (TechCrunch)

Applications & Solutions

  • Streem raises more cash for AR-powered home improvement tech, hints at larger vision (GeekWire)
  • Genies brings lifelike avatars to other apps with $10M from celebrities (TechCrunch)

Featured Tweet: HoloLens brings Tinkerbell to life

TheatAR — a student-led Carnegie Melllon project demonstrates how AR can make live theater even more magical

News

Hardware

  • Bose opens pre-orders for its augmented audio sunglasses (TechCrunch)
  • Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon 855 processor for 5G phones (The Verge)
  • Snap will reportedly release AR-enabled Spectacles with dual cameras for $350 (Cheddar)
  • 2nd gen. Google Glass Enterprise Edition gets FCC certification (9to5 Google)
  • Facebook’s Portal video chat devices are on sale now (VentureBeat)
  • Ctrl-labs details Ctrl-kit, which lets users control computers with their brain (VentureBeat)
  • Occipital launches new Structure Core Sensor (Next Reality)
  • British AR pioneer Wave Optics signs deal with Google supplier Goertek (Telegraph)

Platform & Tools

  • Snap launches a certification program for AR shops to craft branded lenses (TechCrunch)
  • Google’s ARCore version 1.6 rolls out adding support for more realistic lighting and screen capture (9to5 Google)
  • Unreal Engine 4.21 Adds Support for Magic Leap’s Lumin OS & Windows Mixed Reality Apps (Next Reality)
  • Samsung Unveils Its Project Whare AR Cloud Service & Wacom Partnership for AR Creations (Next Reality)
  • Mozilla debuts an early developer preview of Servo browser on Magic Leap One (Mozilla)
  • Konica Minolta enters augmented reality market (Print Week)
  • Immersal launches multi-player AR Cloud SDK powering indoor navigation and more (PR Newswire)
  • VR veterans found Artie augmented reality avatar company (VentureBeat)
  • Modiface launches new tool that enables photo-realistic AR simulation of nail polishes (Next Reality)
  • TwentyBN demonstrated a brand new computer vision based-avatar named Millie that is designed for retail and entertainment applications (NVIDIA)

Applications & Solutions

  • Chris Milk’s first AR app, Wonderscope, is here, and it’s revolutionary (Fast Company)
  • Google’s Arts & Culture app lets you turn your home into an augmented reality museum featuring the works of Johannes Vermeer (Next Reality)
  • Google Lens can now be accessed directly from the search app on iOS (The Verge)
  • Seedling launches as the first paid app for Magic Leap One (Road to VR)
  • LEGO’s ARKit Playgrounds app launches with NINJAGO theme (9to5 Mac)
  • Magic Leap Roars into the Auto World via Kia Stinger App from RelayCars (Next Reality)
  • ‘David Bowie Is’ Exhibition Will Become Augmented Reality App (Rolling Stone)
  • Niantic Partners With United Nations to Promote Global Tourism (Variety)
  • Fantasmo pivots to scooter cameras that keep them off sidewalks (TechCrunch)
  • Children’s Book Classic Peter Rabbit & Other Tales Come to AR via iOS App (Next Reality)
  • Korean facial recognition avatar app Zepeto takes China’s youth by storm (TechNode)
  • Cheddar to launch in mixed reality on Magic Leap devices (Axios)

Marketing Campaigns

  • Haagen-Dazs Presents a Mini Augmented Reality Concert Atop Your Pint (Fast Company)
  • Domino’s launches world’s first AR pizza chef (Dominos)
  • Marriott teams with Pepsi’s Lifewtr for in-room AR art displays (MobileMarketer)
  • Sneaker marketplace GOAT announces an AR-centric Black Friday giveaway (TechCrunch)
  • Office Depot launches first holiday-themed AR ad on Facebook for ‘Elf Yourself’ (Marketing Land)
  • Walmart & Target Unwrap New Augmented Reality Features to Bring in Holiday Shoppers (Next Reality)
  • 8th Wall, Sumerian and Sony Pictures launch WebAR Spider-Man experience (VR Focus)
  • CoverGirl opens first brick-and-mortar retail featuring augmented reality (Glossy)
  • The New York Times publishes an AR tour of the Statue of Liberty’s Torch (Next Reality)
  • The New York Times publishes an AR tightrope performance by actor Lakeith Stanfield in its “Great Performers” issue (Next Reality)
  • Mall of America debuts helpful holographic elf for the holidays (Engadget)

Featured Poll: Did you pre-order Bose AR?

Arguably a very small sample size for this poll but some a I took a quick temperature gauge on Twitter on how many folks pre-ordered the Bose AR sunglasses when they were announced.

Featured Quote:

“In a few years, we’re not going to be able to imagine our lives without [AR]. It’s that profound a platform,” Tim Cook — CEO of Apple. (Next Reality via Axios)

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