This Week In XR/AI: Anthropic Adds $450 Million, NReal Rebrands As XReal, Intros New Beam XR Glasses

This Week In XR/AI: Anthropic Adds $450 Million, NReal Rebrands As XReal, Intros New Beam XR Glasses

For the past ten years, the long-awaited introduction of the Apple Reality Pro has been both a sword of damocles and source of hope for the entire immersive industry. The June 5th launch of the new XR headset at their annual developer conference (WWDC) comes a week before the immersive industry gathering AWE down the road in Santa Clara, May 31 – June 2. While the unfortuntate timing may make things awkward there, the Apple Reality Pro is nothing but good for the XR ecosystem and brings welcome momentum to a sector shoved aside by the Metaverse and then by emergece of conversational and generative AI (even though that is what XR really needs).

Forbes’ contributor David Phelan on Mark Gurman’s Reporting on the Apple Reality Pro Headset. This is reporting on reporting behind the Insider firewall. [CF – ironically behind the Forbes’ firewall] from the remarkably accurate Apple watcher. Supposedly Palmer Lucky saw the Reality One and described it as “so good.” XR Publications Road to VR, Upload VR, Have been Invited to WWDC for First Time.

Anthropic raises $450 M in latest AI funding. Microsoft, along with Salesforce and Zoom, led the round. This takes them up to $1.45B in total funding with early support coming from Google. Anthropic, which is working on a chatbot called Claude, was started by ex-OpenAI execitoves. Earlier this month, they were one of only four companies invited to a meeting with VP Kamala Harris at the White House, along with Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and OpenAI. Big AI is soaking up investment like a sponge right now.

Introducing a new era of AI-powered ads with Google. If you think ad tracking and targeting are accurate now, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The keyword in your search will be integrated into the ad.

Meta reportedly wants to license Magic Leap’s AR technology. The tech behemoth is reportedly negotiating a licensing deal with Magic Leap for their augmented reality (AR) technology. In a strategic move aimed at enhancing the metaverse’s AR experience, the deal could provide Meta with advanced optics and light field technology. The deal could be a milestone for Magic Leap, which is not a direct competitor to Meta since it switched its focus exclusively to enterprise applications.

Sony says it sold 600,000 PS VR 2 units in six weeks. It is outselling the original Playstation launch six years ago – and there were a lot more PS4’s in the market then than there are PS5’s now. Sony supposedly lowered sales projections, partly due to a tightening economy, but the company denies this and is publicly sticking to its three million first-year sales projection. It’s way too early to tell since data is based on April alone.

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AI Experiment Goes Terribly In New Mobile AR Thriller, Asset 15. From director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), 30 Ninjas, and Verizon comes the tale of two sisters, Flux and Petra. When Petra falls into a mysterious coma after being exposed to an experimental new technology, her hacktivist sister Flux fights to find a way to save her. ASSET 15 features cutting-edge immersive augmented reality mobile gameplay and photorealistic 3D holograms.

VR Chat Introduces “Creator Economy.” In a blog post this week the company says it is in early beta for a patreon-like system to support creators and performers in its metaverse. The company declined to share any details of how this will work, and if it means there will be a digital currency, and a way for builders and other users to buy and sell things. Second Life makes $60M a year taking pennies from transactions. Much of the VRChat economy now exists on platforms like Fiverr.

The pre-AWE announcements have started.

NReal Becomes XReal, Introduces New Headset, The XReal Beam. In addition, the company is launching Spatial Display, an upgraded app that will allow better compatibility (yay!) for its air casting app. The new 3DOF headset will give anchoring capability to the 210” screen projected in their Air screen reflectors, which have already sold 150,000 since November. The CEO and founder will give one of the keynotes at AWE. XReal always draws a crowd at AWE and CES. People stand in line to try their headsets. XReal will start taking pre-orders June 1st.

Looking Glass Unveils Liteforms for AI Characters. ChatGPT animation and the company’s holographic display technology to bring 3D characters to life. Founder and CEO Shawn Frayne will be on hand at AWE, giving demos of the system in the expo and speaking at the conference. Applications include retail, out-of-home advertising, and location-based entertainment, as well as individual users.

Volograms Introduces Vologram Messages. The new creation system system that uses AI to turn standard video into professional quality 3D holograms. Now, anyone looking for a better way to engage people — from marketing announcements to corporate communications to wedding invitations — can simply record a standard video of the person, then upload the clip and receive a 3D version back.

This Week in XR is also a podcast hosted by the author of this column, Ted Schilowitz, Futurist, Paramount Global, and Rony Abovitz, founder of Magic Leap. This week our guest is Artur Sychov, founder and CEO of Somnimum Space. We can be found on Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.

What We’re Reading

I tried the AI novel-writing tool everyone hates, and it’s better than I expected (Adi Robertson/The Verge)

Apple Hoping People Will Wear Its Pricey VR Headset to Parties (Victor Tigermann/Yahoo News)

This Week in Schadenfreude

Mark Zuckerberg’s metaverse vision is over. Can Apple save it? (Alex Hern/The Guardian)

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