We attended the Augmented World Expo… in person!

AWE gathered 3,000 XR professionals with a hybrid approach, physically happening in Santa Clara and virtually accessible from all over the world

Rafa Pagés
3 min readNov 23, 2021


Almost two years later, we attended an event in person! And that event was no other than AWE, the most important XR conference, which took place in the heart of Silicon Valley two weeks ago.

As Charlie Fink explains really well in Forbes, AWE is all about the people, the community. It was amazing to finally meet some of the people we virtually met during this last couple of years, and reconnecting with some of our friends and partners.

Nico and I right before Ori Inbar’s opening keynote

We realised that Volu had a really good reception within the community, so it was an amazing opportunity for us to hear feedback, learn about use cases and meet with partners that will be using our technology in crazy new ways. I also discovered that my silly dancing videos showing Volu’s reconstruction capabilities have a higher reach than I thought! 😅

Niantic, Snap and 8thWall were probably the stars of a show where the word “Metaverse” (a.k.a. the M word) was used as a double-edge sword: while we all acknowledge that it has exposed our field to the general media, our industry wants to make sure that the term remains open, inclusive and not associated with any single company in an unbalanced way. The three companies were all about the community and creators, and they nailed it.

John Hanke, Niantic’s CEO, told us more about the recently launched SDK for AR developers, and also Niantic Ventures, the company’s initiative to help the whole ecosystem thrive. It’s no secret that I’m a huge Niantic fan (and a level 39 Pokemon Go trainer 🤣), as they are building the tech stack needed by developers for the AR field to really thrive, with very smart strategies such as gamifying 3D scanning and involving users in building a digital twin of the world.

The amazing Lauren Goode from Wired moderated a panel with Bobby Murphy, Snap’s CTO, and Brielle Garcia, one of the most prolific AR creators. Snap is one of the most innovative companies in the space (they joked about how Snap’s features get copied all the time), and their creative tools are among the most powerful and easiest to use.

And Tom Emrich, 8thWall’s VP of Product, introduced Reality Engine, the company’s WebAR solution that allows creators to build one single experience and deploy in almost any XR device: from headsets to mobile phones. Pretty amazing!

We also got the chance to see the latest devices in person! Pico, Varjo, CREAL, Meta Materials, Lenovo, HTC, and many others showed their solutions. I was especially amazed by the Tilt Five AR gaming tabletop: lighter, wider field of view and clearer images than expected! Now I really want to buy one!

We lost the Best Consumer App Auggie to Google Maps…

And no, we didn’t win the Auggie Award. I have to say that losing to Google Maps in the Best Consumer App category was a bit disappointing… There wasn’t even anyone from the Google Maps team to pick up the award 😓. But anyway, we are grateful to all of you who voted for us and pushed us to the top 5! Thanks a lot!

I also want to thank our friends at Arcturus, Anything World, BITKRAFT, OpenBCI, Luma Labs, 4Dviews, Avatar Dimension, and many others for the lunches, dinners, beers, coffees and all the fun we had together. Looking forward to seeing you again!

Lastly, shoutout to the AWE team for minimising the COVID-transmission risks at the event. With cases in the rise in many geographies, we appreciated the vaccination checks, the hygienic measures taken around the conference centre, and all the information received. It’s great to be back to in-person events, but only if we can manage to keep them safe!



Rafa Pagés

Coffee Enthusiast Officer at Volograms, creators of Volu: user-generated content for #AR ☕️ 🍻 🏀 🤿 🎸 📷 📱