Welcome to the first annual "Next Reality 30", our list of people who had the biggest impact on augmented reality in the last 12 months – and what a 12-month rollercoaster ride it was. Apple launched ARKit-powered apps last fall, Google soon released ARCore for Android, Snapchat began monetizing AR, and the Magic Leap One headset finally came out. These are historical times.
If this is your first experience of tectonic technological disruption, you may not realize it, but we are experiencing an incredibly important moment in the history of computing. Just as many today can not remember a time before e-mail, near-omnipresent Wi-Fi and smart phones become more commonplace in just a few years of interacting with virtual objects anchored in the real world. Because augmented reality goes beyond games and unique app curiosities, it becomes an integral part of our interaction with the digital world.
From the AR apps in the bag to the state-of-the-art headsets that are gradually finding their way into the marketplace, none of these milestones take place without much creativity and innovation pushing the boundaries of what's possible in AR ahead.
As the rest of the tech industry focuses on the more obvious technical challenges and solutions ahead of them With established platforms and concepts, a select group of innovators look deeper into the future to imagine what might be. But they not only envision the next generation of computers, they do it, even though in some cases the benefits and rewards of their work for most of the 201
The members of the NR30 share all three essential qualities: courage, vision and the ability to implement that vision. These pioneers of immersive computing – be it mixed reality, spatial computing or augmented reality – are the NR30's goal to recognize and celebrate their risks and massive bets on our common future.
In an earlier issue, just over a year ago, we released the Next Reality 50. Although it was important to recognize so many important people, the industry has matured rapidly over the past year and we have realized that a new approach is needed.
It was not enough just to highlight so many people working to push AR forward as much as possible. Instead, as AR has finally come into fashion as a mainstream instrument, it is now clear that it is now important to focus on those who shake up the field "right now" on a consistent basis, largest and most far – reaching Art.
In the coming weeks, we'll focus on what each NR30 user in five different categories in the AR area meant: hardware, software, investments, mobile devices, and industry influencers / community builders. Keep an eye out for the detailed features that will come soon, but let's first look at the full list of winners.
. 1 Tim Cook, CEO – Apple
A large number of people included in the NR30 mentioned ARKit as an important turning point for AR in 2017 and 2018. Apple has a huge team that makes ARKit what it does but his main agent is none other than Apple's CEO Tim Cook. In 2018, Cook became the number one cheerleader for Mobile AR, supporting his vision with robust ARKit updates and the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone X, which points to big things for Apple's mobile AR in the future.
Of course, the rumors of the Apple SmartGlasses have only added to the excitement over what Apple could do to bring AR all the way to mainstream via a handheld device. Whether this rumor is true or not, when the first publicly traded company that has ever reached a $ 1 trillion market capitalization on AR, under the leadership of Cook's vision, is sure to say that AR is only at the beginning of its journey mass marketing.
. 2 Evan Spiegel, co-founder and CEO of Snap Inc.
Snapchat faces constant piracy on Facebook – Evan Spiegel turned away years ago despite Mark Zuckerberg's $ 3 billion offer. Today, the once playful high school messaging app for kids was an AR powerhouse.
From lenses, the mainstream-friendly, easy-to-clip smartphone camera filters, the AR For the conversion of faces and environments, to Spectacles, the company's portable camera (and possibly AR Smartglasses in the future), Spiegel is already setting the stage. Because Snap Inc. is considered one of the early pioneers of mobile AR.
Snap is also a leader in transforming AR into a profit engine through its SHP platform that can deliver celebrity and branded AR entertainment that leads to e-commerce opportunities, with just a few clicks on the smartphone -Screen.
And he does all this while he likes about Snapchat's ever-changing user interfaces, doubts of shareholders, and increasing competition from him, now, all are launching mobile AR apps via ARKit and ARCore. Nonetheless, Mirror's company still does an important and incredibly difficult thing that had many problems: Snap makes AR fun.
. 3 Rony Abovitz, Founder and CEO – Magic Leap
In the first half of 2018, you could almost hear the collective sigh of despair from the tech community when Magic Leap was waiting for the release of the Magic Leap until the end of the summer. But now that it's here, we can come close to all the speculation about one of the most hyped tech products since the iPhone, and the Segway before that. Now is the time to see if the public (for now a small developer community) loves the product.
While HoloLens generally offers companies and developers a more enterprise-focused tool, the Magic Leap One is hoping for a go-to-AR headset for the entertainment industry, from games to the upcoming Invaders of Dr. Ing. Grordbort, through sports, through a partnership with the NBA to films (Legendary Entertainment is one of the company's first proponents) [ButthestoryofMagicLeapisbeingexpressedintermsofadoptionafteryearsofteasingRumorsandbillion-dollarinvestmentshavealreadyearnedRonyAbovitzsomethingnooneelsehas-hehastheseedsofexcitementanddaretosay magic in the minds of the public in relation to AR. Whoever develops the leading portable AR system, we all remember this moment as the time when the portable AR device wars really started. Today it's Magic Leap vs. HoloLens, and Apple is expected to join the fight soon. Nonetheless, Abovitz will be rewarded for winning over the competition and turning the wearable AR into a true race, whether his company ultimately wins or not.
. 4 Tony Parisi, Head of AR & VR Strategy – Unity
Tony Parisi, visionary, passionate and above all inspirational, calls himself "VR OG" and has earned this title several times. He was one of the earliest innovators working to make immersive computing tools and experiences available to everyone on the planet. Now, in his pivotal role at Unity, his vision is finally coming to fruition, and the entire AR community is better for it.
At about that time last year, Unity announced great support for ARKit and ARCore. Platform API called AR Foundation to support cross-platform development. And for those who do not have solid programming skills, the company has launched Project MARS (Mixed and Augmented Reality Studio). Finally, a few months ago, Unity worked closely with Magic Leap to integrate its tools into the startup's new AR platform. And these are just some of the highlights – Unity has been incredibly busy advancing AR through aggressive developer community reach and internal technical development.
Although Parisi leads the AR and VR vision of Unity, he has slowly evolved into a whole evangelist for the entire immersive computing industry. Whether it's his insightful presentations at tech gatherings like AWE and other events or his frequent and profound thoughts about the future of AR on his beloved Medium Feed and on Twitter, Parisi's soothing voice is just what AR an eye Building must have the present and a lens in the future.
"My original inspiration for getting into the technique of immersive was to see the original Star Wars as a child in the theater," Parisi told Next Reality, and told how Hollywood influenced his early vision of AR. "Even with the highly productive AR and VR renderings we've seen in movies over the past few decades, the scene of Princess Leia as a tabletop hologram remains the most inspiring portrayal of augmented reality I've ever seen."
Hugo Barra, who has just been working with Xiaomi with Hugo Barra in the mobile industry in China, is back on Facebook and uses that, What he has learned in Asia's incredibly tough and fast-moving market The old company has found out how to make immersive computing part of the social media experience.
In his new role, Barra helps Facebook slowly merge and leverage its Oculus VR efforts with its AR efforts with the Facebook Messenger App, the News Feed, and Instagram.
Not only has Facebook published tools for personal engagement on its AR menu, but it has also partnered with Nike, Sephora, Asus and KIA, and that's just the tip of the promotional (and revenue) AR iceberg. The company's AR Studio tools already support Facebook users who are interested in using the power of AR. Through these immersive computer initiatives, Facebook is helping to bring AR into the mainstream bloodstream of billions of users around the world.
After an incredibly tough year and a fresh slap on the stock price, Facebook is in the process of renewing itself, and Barra's leadership will be an integral part of the company trying to do what Facebook for the world means to redefine.
. 6 Alex Kipman, HoloLens Inventor – Microsoft
The inventor of HoloLens and Microsoft's most enthusiastic and visionary supplier of AR, or as Microsoft prefers to call it, "Mixed Reality", Alex Kipman is a name you would often hear more if he did not work within the vast ecosystem of the Redmond, Washington-based firm.
. 7 Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist – Facebook Reality Labs
When Facebook hosts its annual Oculus Connect conference, Michael Abrash is one of the leading voices the company uses to outline the future of immersive computing and what Facebook does to drive it forward , 19659002] In addition to his speech at the company's annual Oculus Connect conference, Abrash wrote an essay titled "Invent the Future" in the final months of 2017, showing exactly how he designed the first pair of truly mainstream-friendly AR- SmartGlasses makes it come true. Together with Oculus Research insiders, the paper has described some of the hardware and software steps that his team is taking to implement such a product. AR enthusiasts talk about a future with AR Smartglasses, but Abrash's detailed roadmap makes it seem closer than ever.
It is Abrash who really prophesied in 2016 that truly mainstream, small AR smartglasses will not be ready until at least 2022. Depending on where you stand on the subject, that statement is either incredibly optimistic or a bit bearish given the rapid speed of technology. Yet his secret work on Facebook Reality Labs can already turn his prediction into a tangible reality. Hopefully Abrash will continue to give us updates, stunning demos, and finally some awesome AR Smartglasses.
When Snapchat's first secret sauce was Spiegel's ability to attract young users and pave the way for the rest of the world, the platform Imran Khan is the person who translates all the users' attention to AR-based marketing campaigns.
The best examples of this are contained in Snap's new Shoppable AR initiative, which puts the power of AR in the hands of marketers who want to capture the volatile attention spans of Snapchat users ways that can be directly monetized , In addition, the company enables brands to leverage the popularity of its lenses for lenses and world lenses by offering sponsored versions of the features.
Gradually, with every blockbuster movie and every new product campaign using the Snapchat platform, Khan moves into the world of immersive computing faster than anyone expects with large non-tech companies.
Niantic works much longer than most of them. Founder John Hanke founded the company on Google nearly a decade ago. Long-time Niantic users chuckle at the focus on Niantic's role in popularizing Pokémon GO because they know that this was made possible primarily by their early work on their true obsession, Ingress.
Today Pokémon GO is used as a shorthand for almost anyone trying to launch a successful mobile AR experience, be it a game, a navigation tool or an educational experience. This impressive track record is probably why Hanke, when Lenovo recently came up with his AR experience, cast some unspoken sharp criticism of the project, calling it a "gimmick". In the same breath he emphasized the perseverance of Pokémon GO and announced an expansion of the game to China.
But the company does not rest on its past victories, such as a Harry Potter AR game called "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite". Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…39&Itemid= 32 incress & # 39 ;: The company will continue to develop its first AR product, Ingress, to the delight of a small but unusually engaged fanbase.
Hanke holds back in general, but he can not escape that The fact is that all his hard work in the shadow of the search giants of the world now pays off and many hope to follow his lead.
10th Clay Bavor, VP of VR / AR – Google
He plays a pivotal role in Google's vision for VR and VR. This automatically means that any business that has ever done business with Google (which affects most large businesses) will be affected by Clay. Bavor is immersed in immersive computing under the banner of the search giants.
It took Google some time to catch up with Apple's ARKit, but when the first quarter of 2018 arrived Finally, the company released its competing AR toolkit called ARCore and gradually opened up the various Android phones in the world for the same kind of AR apps offered on the iPhone.
Recent months The company's advances in products such as Daydream View have been mixed in acceptance, but Google's rapid development and enhancement of ARCore for Android smartphones underscores how important AR is to the business. The number of ARCore apps is still relatively low, probably due to the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem over developer priorities, but Google's frequent updates are rapidly expanding the presence of ARCore apps on Android smartphones.
Part of Bavor's mission is to make sure that none of Google's comprehensive vision solutions for immersive computing lag behind the competition and that he's done a great job so far.
. 11 Bob Iger, CEO – Disney
While many Hollywood entertainment companies use VR, AR has seen a slower path toward adoption outside of individual actions. But as Disney's Bob Iger is now putting his bet on AR over VR, as recently described in a LA Times interview where he said his team should not even think about [VR]Hollywood shifts Attention to the related but different discipline of creating virtual experiences that merge with the real world. What this means is that instead of Disney theme parks and VR entertainment features include in the same way as many other entertainment giants in the last few years, Iger plans to focus the company on "high-tech augmented reality -Attractions ". As the standard carrier of successful mainstream entertainment innovation outside of Silicon Valley, Iger's decision to focus on AR rather than VR is a significant market signal.
Thanks to Iger, it should not be long before the rest of the entertainment industry begins to see Disney's efforts around the world as a reliable model for the implementation of mainstream AR entertainment experiences.
We've got some of the first clues about what was possible with AR and the makeup industry through apps like Snapchat's Face Enhancement AR filters that make almost everyone look sweet and youthful. But L & # 39; Oréal's Lubomira Rochet has been much more aggressive than others in her quest to make AR a fundamental part of the beauty industry.
The acquisition of AR Modiface this year has consolidated L & # 39; Oréal's role as a leading AR company in the beauty space. Not long after this acquisition, the company partnered with Facebook to provide its face recognition AR tools to millions of social media users.
The killer app for every new technology is Utility, and Rochet relies on the fact that most people soon realize that, yes, AR is a powerful tool in the race to help consumers look good.
Over the years, Amazon has dominated the book industry, retail and, more recently, grocery retail, so it is hardly surprising that the company is also AR in the Eye has. Internally, these efforts are led by Kyle Roche, who helps Jeff Bezos develop new tools, such as Amazon Sumerian, that allow anyone to develop AR and VR apps with little technical know-how.
Launched in late 2017, Amazon Sumerian switched from beta to a full-fledged tool that was available to everyone just a few months ago. But instead of keeping the tool in its massive platform, the tool supports WebVR, WebGL, iOS, Android as well as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The web-based tool can also be used in conjunction with Amazon's Polly text-to-speech tool, AWS IoT (for Internet of things devices), and Amazon Lex (for Alexa-style conversational interfaces).
It's still early days for Amazon Sumerian, but given the company's incredibly broad product database, turning AR business into something that could be made from most of the planet in the near future could prove crucial is being used. When this new reality becomes reality, Roche will be in a leading position to help the company achieve its ambitious vision for AR.
While Magic Leap kept most of the public in check and held his secrets firmly in his hand, Aleissia Laidacker did not take on the difficult task within the company just helping build the product suite, but also helping the developer community in a way that made Magic Leap more accessible, human and entertaining right away.
Now that Magic Leap One is out in the world, Laidacker has been a little more open about how the company's interaction lab works and explains the team's vision at some of the most important tech and gaming conferences, Siggraph and Gamescon , While Magic Leaps CEO Rony Abovitz stirs the public's enthusiasm for the Magic Leap One, Laidacker brings developers and the general gaming community together with the same message: "The use of artificial intelligence," Laidacker Next Reality said AR is missing. "I think that's something we'll see a lot more about in the years to come, with a real focus on creating believable characters that not only look believable, but also respond and adapt to their environment."
What started out as a cool art project became a test for the entire AR industry in terms of the future of immersive computing. Now, Keiichi Matsuda's Vision (the short film Hyper-Reality ), which has inspired thousands in the AR room, has lured him into one of the companies that actually built part of that vision.
In late 2017, Matsuda will join the Leap Motion team Trying to get the sci-fi infusion images from Matsuda's imagination using the very real software and now hardware (in the form of Project North Star), the company hopes will be used by a variety of AR players and new start-ups
"When I started making my AR movies, I did not necessarily believe AR would be the future," Matsuda told Next Reality, describing the moment he knew AR was the future. "It was really just a nice way for me to think about the relationship between technology and architecture, then it became a cinematic device, a nice way to comment on the way we use technology today, and after a while I started to see that it is transformative potential. "
16. Julie Young, Co-Founder and CEO – SH // FT
One of the great achievements of immersive computing space is that space is open to a range of voices and perspectives because no rules have been set. But to avoid repeating some of Silicon Valley's erroneous patterns regarding corporate cultures and industry opportunities, more efforts are being undertaken by industry experts such as Julie Young, a Snap Inc. veteran, to ensure that various voices are represented in the AR and are VR-room
As a former VR-producer of the Emblematic Group, the company led by the VR content pioneer Nonny de la Peña, she produced large-scale VR experiences among others Out of Exile: In Daniel's Shoes and About the line . More recently, Young's work on SH // FT, in collaboration with Microsoft and his HoloLens device, has helped highlight the broad range of perspectives and capabilities AR has in the public domain.
If you look away from smartphones and devices like HoloLens and Magic Leap, you'll soon realize that AR is dominated mainly by hardware makers like Vuzix. Paul Travers, the company's founder and visionary behind many products with decades of experience in consumer electronics, leads Vuziz's Hardware.
The highlight of Vuzix & # 39; Year is when the company introduced an Alexa-enabled version of its Vuzix Blade AR Smartglasses, an extremely early look at what it's like to interact with smart wizards via an AR Wearable. At the moment, the company seems to focus on the users of the company, but the look and feel of the Vuzix Blade could change that in the near future.
Travers has been around for a long time, so we asked him if it was there. Underexposed guides he would add to a list honoring AR Innovators. "Thomas Alt, founder and CEO of Metaio, acquired by Apple in May 2015," said Travers.
"Metaio was one of the world's leading providers of computer vision and augmented reality technologies, and Metaio's vision was to teach smart devices. Look quickly, overlay relevant information, and make that technology available to the masses "If you see what Apple has done with ARKit, it's clear that they have responded to Metaios (and Thomas's) long-term vision of overlaying information by smart devices and bringing it to the masses through smartphones."  18. Ralph Osterhout, Founder & CEO – ODG
While most AR eyewear manufacturers focus on enterprise solutions, ODG is trying to look to the future by manufacturing devices that can be used both in the factory and in the office Working in the office and in your living room
At the forefront of this effort is Ralph Osterhout, a man with so many patents in the last decade The company has been in the past few months with its R-8 and R-9 AR smartglasses, teaming up with top Japanese company KDDI Smart entertainment-oriented interfaces for AR Smartglasses featured mainstream in Japan, revealing its Smoke Assured Vision Enhanced Display (SAVED), an AR mask designed to help aircraft pilots in emergency situations. Although ODG does not get the same kind of presses as Apple, Google and now Magic Leap, the smooth design of the company and the increasingly impressive software can not be denied, and everything happens at Osterhout's watch.
There are investors, and there are tech evangelists, and then there is Tipatat Chennavasin, which is a dynamic combination of the two. He is a frequent speaker at some of the leading AR and VR conferences and events, most recently at the 2018 AWE conference. Not only does he feed the AR area with startup support, he is also one of AR's best new ambassadors for the uninitiated.
Chennavasin is co-founder and general partner of the Venture Reality Fund, which launched a $ 50 million fund in 2016. Letztes Jahr sicherte sich das Unternehmen zusätzliche Mittel von HP Tech Ventures und schloss eine Partnerschaft mit Yahoo! Japan beschleunigt die Einführung von AR- und VR-Technologien. Vor kurzem, im Jahr 2018, beteiligte sich der Venture Reality Fund an einer Finanzierungsrunde über 8 Millionen US-Dollar für die von ehemaligen Google- und Facebook-Ingenieuren geführte AR-Entwicklerplattform 8th Wall.
Weitere vom Venture Reality Fund in den letzten Monaten getätigte Investitionen umfassen PLNAR ( ein AR-Messwerkzeug), Facemoji (Kamera-gesteuerte Avatare für Live-Spiele-Streaming und Video-Chat) und Virtualitics (Datenvisualisierungen in Augmented-Reality-Umgebungen). Die Firma war auch eine der drei Organisationen (zusammen mit Super Ventures und dem GFR-Fonds), die das diesjährige Global Online Augmented Reality Pitch Event zusammenstellten, eine Veranstaltung, die AR-Startups mit Startkapital- oder Serie-A-Investoren verbinden sollte.
Wenn Sie passieren auf seinem Twitter-Feed, Sie werden meist seinen ständigen Strom von überschwänglichen AR und VR-Fan-Gedanken sehen. Aber hinter dem Enthusiasmus und dem fröhlichen Social-Media-Networking arbeitet er sehr leise hinter den Kulissen mit seinem VC-Team, um einen noch sehr jungen AR-Bereich zu unterstützen, der die Art von Finanzierung und Unterstützung benötigt, die der Venture Reality Fund bieten sollte. 19659010] 20. Robert Sumner, Mitarbeiter Dir. – Disney Forschung
Disney Research veröffentlicht regelmäßig Experimente, die verblüffen, aber einige der jüngsten Arbeiten der Gruppe zu Immersive Computing waren transzendent. Einer der Leiter der Gruppe ist Robert Sumner, der, während er in Zürich in der Schweiz lebt, Disney dabei hilft, zu verändern, wie die Welt mit der Realität interagiert.
Sumner ist Co-Autor mehrerer Publikationen für Augmented-Reality-Innovationen wie AR-Gesichtsprojektion und eine mobile AR-App, mit der Benutzer Gemälde in AR neu einfärben können.
Die neueste Disney Research-Innovation, die Anfang des Jahres vorgestellt wurde, umfasst intelligente AR-Charaktere, die mit realen Hindernissen interagieren und darauf reagieren können . Unterstützt von der Geschäftsführung von Bog Iger, ist Disney Research bereit, die Art, wie wir alle unsere Lieblingsfiguren und -geschichten erleben, zu verändern.
Das Endspiel für AR ist mobil, nicht Smartphone-Handy, sondern letztendlich kopflose mobile Geräte. Occipital, angeführt von Jeff Powers, ist mit dem Ziel beschäftigt, die reale Welt zu erfassen und zu verfolgen, um sie nahtlos mit mobilen AR-Anwendungen interoperabel zu machen. Powers ist nicht der Einzige, der auf dieses Ziel hinarbeitet, aber er ist einer der Besten.
Vor Jahren war die erste Kickstarter-finanzierte Initiative des Unternehmens zur Bereitstellung eines 3D-Sensors für iPhones unglaublich erfolgreich und brachte schließlich 1,2 Millionen Dollar ein. Aber jetzt, da ARKit hier ist, hat das Unternehmen begonnen, einige seiner Bemühungen darauf zu konzentrieren, dieses neue AR-Toolkit zu nutzen. Jüngstes Beispiel hierfür ist TapMeasure, eine mobile AR-App zur Messung von Räumen, die Ende letzten Jahres veröffentlicht wurde. Occipital followed that up by acquiring 3D scanning company Paracosm.
"The introduction of scale accurate and robust AR frameworks like ARKit and ARCore, and importantly, the work going on behind the scenes to properly factory-calibrate devices for AR, is the biggest shift in the last year," Powers told Next Reality. "It's leading to a radical growth in AR developers, and I look forward to the first practical uses or AR that aren't predominantly a gimmick like most of what we've seen to date."
His title at Meta makes Joe Mikhail sound like a buttoned-up, bottom line guy focused on keeping the lights on at the company, but he's not just a numbers guy; His passion for AR is apparent as soon as he begins talking to you about the space. It will take visionary developers and hardware makers to bring AR to its full potential, but none of it will start to take off until people like Mikhail harness their genuine excitement for AR into revenue that begins to make the rest of the world take notice.
This year, Meta reached a significant milestone by partnering with Dell. The longtime PC giant is the first authorized reseller of Meta 2 hardware and immediately lifted Meta's profile as a potential solution for business customers around the world. As someone who has been behind the scenes with Meta for some time, sitting on the company's Board of Directors as far back as 2015, his recent shift to the role of chief revenue officer puts an experienced operator (he's a veteran of Lenovo) with a deep understanding of Meta's roots on the leadership team. And he has quickly made an impression on his peers in the AR space, most recently delivering a stirring speech at AWE on the art of storytelling in AR.
"Minority Report," Mikhail answered when Next Reality asked which movie influenced his future vision of AR. "A decade ahead of the technology, potentially shaping our collective dream of what's possible."
If you've been involved in AR for even a short time, you've probably heard of Tom Emrich; He's literally everywhere. Between his role at Super Ventures, searching for AR startups that can transform the world, and his tireless work at the annual AWE conference, Emrich lives and breathes AR, and if you follow him on social media or in the real world, you will, too.
During the most recent AWE conference, some estimates put the number of attendees at around 6,000, the largest ever for the still growing AR meetup of large and small companies in Silicon Valley. Initially launched with a relatively small (by Silicon Valley standards) $10 million fund, Super Ventures most recent investment in 2018 was in the UK-based Gravity Sketch, a startup focused on developing immersive 3D design software for designers in the film industries, fashion, and car industry.
"I started working with augmented reality back in 2009 when flip phones were still the most common devices in people's hands," Emrich told Next Reality while describing one of his first experiences with AR. "At the time, I was working as a product manager in publishing to 'save paper' with emerging tech like AR and so one of my first memorable experiences was Esquire magazine's AR cover with Robert Downey Jr. which was facilitated by a giant QR code triggered when you held up the cover to your web cam."
Even if you have no role in the tech industry, you've almost certainly read his work as one of the founders of Gizmodo and then Engadget. In the same way that he planted his flag early in a still unformed blog universe, Peter Rojas is now working to fund and support innovative AR startups in his new role as one of the space's leading venture capitalists.
This year, Rojas launched Visioncamp, a Betaworks startup accelerator offering funding for new companies working with augmented reality, computer vision, and "camera-first products and services." Among Betaworks' most notable AR investments are 8th Wall, Camera IQ, and Streem.
As someone who has been involved with translating tech into mainstream consumable concepts for many years, we were curious as to what his favorite TV science fiction take on AR has been. "The 'Men Against Fire' episode of Black Mirror," said Rojas. "[It] does a good job of highlighting some of the ethically murky areas we are heading into when it comes to AR and how it could (and surely will) be used to manipulate people."
25. Alban Denoyel, Co-Founder & CEO – Sketchfab
Serving the creators of AR and VR experiences is a tough job, but Alban Denoyel has turned his practice of developing the Sketchfab community into an art form, mixing hands-on user passion with the kind of backend business stewardship artists and developers need in these early days of AR growth.
Using Sketchfab, users can access over 2 million 3D models, some for free, others for a fee. Those models can then be easily integrated into AR and VR applications and experiences. Despite the company's small size, it has been on a tear in the past 12 months, launching a professional store for creators, adding ARCore functionality to its mobile app, and integrating its tools directly into Facebook via its Download API.
"[There’s] too much focus on native solutions," Denoyel told Next Reality regarding one of the things the AR space could be doing better. "[Because of this] progress on web solutions is too slow!"
The New York Times is the company most referenced when tech experts frame the story of old-school media working (often without success) to adopt the tools of the 21st century. Luckily for the TimesGraham Roberts has been expertly steering the "Gray Lady" into the rough and mostly unexplored arena of AR news reporting.
By now, you probably already know about the paper's involvement with the launch of the Magic Leap One, featured as the only made-for-AR news app during the device's launch. But before that, the paper was already aggressively rolling out numerous long-form AR news features via its mobile app. So far, the media giant has used AR to dive deeper into stories about natural disasters, rock legends like David Bowie, and historical events like the Olympics.
"Seeing this art project (featuring photos with smartphones from the hands of models), [I realized] how dumb and inhuman phones are," Roberts told Next Reality when asked when he knew AR was the future.
27. Gordon Meyer, VP of Product & Marketing – Lampix
Over the course of the past year, there have been a number of VR professionals moving over to the AR side, and Gordon Meyer, previously of YouVisit, is one of those executives. Although he's been in the space for a relatively short time, he has quickly ramped up awareness for Lampix and is helping pioneer the idea of marrying AR with blockchain technology.
Instead of focusing on headworn devices or AR via smartphones, Lampix want to turn everyday objects, like lamps and ceiling fixtures found in nearly every room on the planet, into AR devices. The company's flagship device contains a high definition projector, a built-in speaker, and depth-sensing camera that allows users to directly interact with imagery projected onto tabletops. To help drive its efforts, the company launched an ICO (initial coin offering) to raise funds and inject itself into the cryptocurrency space. Ultimately, the company wants to use blockchain technology to facilitate a vast image database.
"For VR it was Tilt Brush," Meyer told Next Reality, detailing his first experience with immersive computing. "As a formally trained artist it was a truly groundbreaking experience. I truly fell in love with the medium through that experience. For AR, it really was Snapchat Lenses, which I think has been most people's introduction to augmented reality."
28. Matt Miesnieks, Co-Founder & CEO – 6D.Ai
Many in the AR space think that the AR cloud could be the holy grail of supercharging AR adoption, and Matt Miesnieks and his team at 6D.ai are trying to be one of the first companies to provide a seamless solution to address this dynamic. Backed by some of the most prominent investors in Silicon Valley, Miesnieks is moving fast to take 6D.ai from beta product to full-fledged game changer.
What 6D.ai does is enable persistent, shared AR experiences with just a regular smartphone camera. The company's demos showing off virtual object occlusion, as well as its focus on the AR cloud makes 6D.ai one of the most exciting bleeding AR startups we've seen.
"Concept videos that don't show the actual UX in an unstaged setting," Miesnieks told Next Reality while explaining one of his pet peeves about new software in the AR space. "[Or the demo videos] are ambiguous about what it's running on. Subtract more points if the video contains a cliché dragon or a dinosaur."
Not every path to success is perfect, but the point is to keep on trying, and that's what DreamWorld founder Kevin Zhong is doing as he works to put his DreamGlass mobile AR headset in the hands of the world. He's facing significant challenges on all fronts but, so far, it looks like the big players may need to watch out because he is making a lot of progress with a tiny team and a lot of ambition.
At the latest AWE conference, Zhong demoed the DreamGlass headset and showed off just how well it works with existing smartphones. Although not on the same level as the HoloLens or Magic Leap, the device's headworn dynamic paired with the mobile aspect of DreamGlass, which is cheaper than anything similar on the market, gives this startup a fighting chance in the coming year.
"Robert Downey Jr., and I am not joking," Zhong told Next Reality when asked who he'd put on this list. "The Iron Man series greatly helped the AR industry. It told the mainstream what AR is and what AR is capable of. Countless AR companies use Iron Man for their PR when they launch their products, or deliver their pitches to VCs. I hope one day we can really change the world and everyone can be like Iron Man."
The video game and VR communities have their artists, so it's only natural that the AR space would have its own art-focused creators, and Stuart Campbell is leading that charge. If you're not an AR gamer, or a still have trouble figuring out how iPhone/Android AR measuring and map tools work, how about just looking over there at that framed illustration and watching as a beautiful creature crawls out of it? That's the kind visual adventure and artistry Campbell brought to the AR space with his Eyejack app, and he's just getting started.
Campbell followed the initial release up with the EyeJack Creator app. That tool allows anyone to take videos or gifs and produce the same kind of real-world art-triggered AR animations as seen in the original EyeJack mobile app.
"I did a little AR eyeball sticker a few years back, where a little laughing worm pops out of an eyeball," Campbell says, telling Next Reality how and when he knew AR was the future. "I gave it to some kids and they immediately went and stuck it on their dog's butt. That was a pivotal moment. They went and stuck it on their dad's chest when he was sleeping, and then they stuck it over each [other’s] eyes. Those kids were having so much fun with that one sticker."
Congratulations to everyone on the 2018 edition of the NR30. Over the course of the next year, the story of AR will change, but the brilliant insights and inspiring efforts of everyone on the NR30 will live forever. Check back here next week as we begin delving deeper into the individual stories of everyone mentioned in the NR30, starting with the leading investors in the AR space!