From May 31 to June 2 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in California, AWE 2017 showcased a variety of innovators, from pre-seed startups to major tech players like Microsoft. Companies based everywhere from Germany, Sweden and Japan to locally in the Bay Area demonstrated their latest advances in the world of AR and VR. The variety of showcased products revealed both current market trends and niche opportunities innovators are exploring.
The show boasted an impressive resume of content, firmware, and hardware companies building in a variety of spaces. For AR smart glasses, Epson showed off two new headsets in their Moverio lineup, the BT-350 and Pro BT-2200, both focused on the enterprise market. Designed for heavy usage, the BT-350 is designed for workforce-use with a battery docking station for multiple glasses and an easy adjustable fit. Epson has focused on the consumer market with the BT-300, which has been promoted in partnership with DJI drones. Other AR smart glasses manufacturers have specifically marketed to enterprise markets (Atheer, DAQRI, ODG, Meta). With the release of BT-350 and BT-2200, Epson is looking to have a larger presence in the enterprise market.
In addition, Stereolabs showcased their new ZED mini and ZED Stereo Cameras. In a demo, Stereolabs used the ZED paired with an Oculus Rift headset to provide an AR experience where virtual objects were able to interact with the surrounding environment, including in outside environments. Using inside-out and object tracking, either of the ZED products can add depth, spatial mapping, and object, motion and positional tracking to a diverse range of use case: from VR/AR applications to robotics and autonomous vehicles. The diverse use of ZED mini could be a way for developers and companies to bridge applications throughout emerging tech. Though consumer use of ZED mini may be a distant future, enterprise industries, specifically construction, could benefit from using 3D camera for depth sensing and motion tracking on different types of technology and machinery.
Tracking user movement, whether it be volumetric or gesture-oriented, will continue to be important as AR moves its way into the workspace.
Manomotion debuted its 27-degree of freedom tracking with any 2D camera, making it compatible with smartphones. By tracking depth and hand gestures, Manomotion’s technology will bring AR to mobile smartphones. On June 1, the company announced an SDK to developers. The mobile-based SDK could potentially bring a plethora of gesture control mobile AR content. This will also be beneficial for AR smart glasses manufacturers as consumers will learn how to interact with gesture controls before investing in expensive AR products, bringing a new level of understanding to the general public.
Meta CEO and Founder Meron Gribetz demoed several new features to their AR workspace, Meta Workspace. One such feature is Airgrab, which uses gesture controls for file sharing between devices. During his demo, Gribetz also pulled content out of his iPhone using Airgrab and moved it into his virtual workspace.
As VR/AR continue to develop as a viable marketplace, the next evolution will bring about even more innovation from developers.
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