AWE EU 2019: Interview Highlights

The Augmented World Expo (AWE) may not be on the consumer radar as the event tends to focus on enterprise but that doesn’t mean to say there’s nothing interesting going on. As a matter of fact, the recent AWE EU event in Munich, Germany saw quite the turnout, and naturally, VRFocus caught up with several of them to see what they had in store for the future of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology.

AWE EU 2019 image1

Exhibitors covered the length and breadth of the VR/AR industry, whether that was Hologate demonstrating its location-based entertainment (LBE) platform allowing up to four people to play at once to Glue, a collaboration platform that’s both customisable and scalable depending on a businesses needs.

In the interview below you’ll hear from the likes of Varjo, the Finnish hardware manufacturer behind the new VR-2 and VR-2 Pro headsets. The company unveiled the two new VR devices just prior to the event, meaning AWE EU was the first time Varjo had demoed them to the public. Needless to say, the Varjo stand remained busy throughout, as attendees tested the high-resolution display alongside Ultraleap’s hand tracking.

Also on hand was Blend Media which had just officially announced Blend Market. This is an online marketplace designed to connect creatives working in the immersive industries with corporate clients looking to hire professionals for projects.

AWE EU 2019 image2

While there were some big fancy stands by XR’s more prominent companies AWE EU was also about highlighting the smaller startups trying to make their presence known. One of those was Nucurrent, a specialist in wireless charging technology. Fairly standard in high-end smartphones nowadays, Nucurrent displayed its wireless charging system retrofitted to an Oculus Go and its controller using a docking station. Ideal for those who want a storage and charging solution in one.

Check out the interview compilation below. And for all the latest enterprise-focused VR/AR news from around the world, keep reading VRFocus.

New Speakers & Sessions Confirmed for AWE 2019

There’s just over a week to go until the European leg of the Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2019, offering a chance for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) professionals from around the world to get together, share ideas, and test the latest immersive technologies. As the event details are finalised AWE EU 2019 has confirmed a new bunch of companies and speakers attending, plus the topics they’ll be discussing. 

AWE USA 2019
Image credit: AWE USA 2019

A wide range of companies are now confirmed to speak, including Accenture, American Museum of Natural History, Audi, BBC, Blippar, BMW, Boeing, Bose, Coca-Cola, Deutsche Telekom, EDF Energy, European Parliament, Facebook, Google, HP, HTC Vive, Hugo Boss, L’Oréal, Louvre Museum, Magic Leap, Microsoft, Nestle, PTC, Siemens, Snap, Spatial, Tetra Pak, T-Mobile, Tobii, Varjo Technologies and Volvo.

As for some of the newest and most interesting sessions, whose talking and where:

AWE USA 2019
Image credit: AWE USA 2019

The fourth iteration of AWE in Europe, all the talks will be held alongside the main exhibition for attendees to go hands-on with the latest VR and AR tech.

Tickets are still available to those that wish to attend from 17th – 18th October 2019. You can even use VRFocus‘ AWE EU 2019 code: EUVRFOCUS20 which provides 20% off an all-access ticket. For any further updates, keep reading VRFocus.

AWE EU 2019 Returns in October, Discount Code Inside

The European leg of the Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2019 will commence this October, held across two days in Munich, Germany. Today, the AWE EU 2019 agenda has gone live, revealing a rich lineup of talks focused on current and future augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) technology.

AWE USA 2019
Image credit: AWE USA 2019

Now in its fourth year, AWE EU 2019 will feature some of the leading spatial computing companies from around the world.  Taking to the stage will be the likes of Ori Inbar, Co-Founder, AWE and Super Ventures, holding a session called ‘Enter the Next Dimension with Spatial Computing’, while a multi-panel contingent featuring the BBC, ARTE, Verison Media Group, Euro News and Immersionn will discuss ‘XR’s impact on Storytelling & Journalism.’

Lenovo will be hosting an important keynote address, Magic Leap will be providing a ‘Getting Started Guide’ for developers; Microsoft will be holding a session called ‘Modeling Reality: How do we build a map and a stateful model of reality?’, and Blippar’s Ambarish Mitra is discussing ‘How AR and 5G will make 3D Internet a reality,’ to name a few.

“The European market for spatial computing is quietly becoming a contender for the world’s top spot driven largely by industry adoption on the one hand, and creative tools and applications on the other hand. The calibre of speakers embodying this will once again position AWE as the epicentre of the AR and VR industry,” says Ori in a statement.

AWE USA 2019
Image credit: AWE USA 2019

Alongside all the talks AWE EU 2019 will also have its usual expo show floor featuring over 100 exhibitors demoing the latest XR technology. Exhibitors include Admix, Lenovo, ViewAR, Atheer, AVRSpot, Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, Crunchfish, Delta Reality and many more.

AWE EU 2019 takes place from 17th – 18th October 2019. Early Bird tickets are now available starting from €179.00 EUR (normally €249.00) for a Two Day Expo Only Pass, while a Two Day All Access Pass €695.00 (normally €895.00). For all you lucky readers of VRFocus wishing to attend AWE EU 2019, use the code: EUVRFOCUS20 which provides 20% off any all-access ticket to the event, on top of current Early Bird prices.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of AWE EU 2019, reporting back with further announcements and updates.

The DeanBeat: The Building Blocks Of Better AR/VR At Augmented World Expo

The DeanBeat: The Building Blocks Of Better AR/VR At Augmented World Expo

Most of the tech at the Augmented World Expo 2019 event wasn’t about games. But it was still intriguing for me to see the technologies that are coming together that will lead to the next-generation augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality technologies.

Some people have given up on these technologies as the path toward the games of the future. But while consumer VR doesn’t have the best adoption curve, it is moving along at the same rate that society adopted color television, said Stephanie Llamas, an analyst at market researcher SuperData Research.

Above: VR is growing as fast as color TV did.

That growth rate is a lot slower than what everybody expected, during the past couple of years of overhyped mania. But it is fast enough to enable the basic technology and the companies creating it to survive and continue to the next generation.

Above: Varjo’s XR-1 headset lets you drive with AR viewing.

Image Credit: Varjo

If these technologies can find early adopter markets, the companies may be able to last long enough so that they finally deliver on the promise. At AWE, I was happy to see some of that potential as the show at the Santa Clara Convention Center was bigger than ever. Enterprises are beginning to adopt and embrace these technologies, as I saw with Volvo’s investment in AR/VR headset maker Varjo.

Above: PTC CEO Jim Heppelmann.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

I met with Jim Heppelmann, CEO of PTC, the provider of the AR platform Vuforia, at AWE. He said his company’s AR revenues are about 7% of the total, and it’s growing about 90 percent a year, thanks to enterprise AR adoption for things like training and field work. That growth rate is enough to deliver 6% growth per year to the larger corporation, and it is enough to keep investing in AR.

If big companies like PTC and their big customers in the enterprise carry the torch, then we will see a market for things like Varjo’s amazing XR-1 AR technology, which the company is trying to polish so that an AR headset can be worn while driving a car. The resolution of the headset displays is much better than what is in the market today in the form of Oculus or HTC Vive VR headsets. It has two 12-megapixel cameras that can create images with a resolution of more than 4K per eye.

An enterprise might pay something like $6,000 for this kind of tech. But you can’t sell it to consumers until it costs $300. It takes a lot of spins of Moore’s Law to get to that lower cost.

A lot of companies are pivoting right now, leaving the consumer AR and VR markets and moving into enterprise, location-based entertainment, and the health, education, and industrial markets.

Above: Mojo Vision can create extremely small and dense displays.

Image Credit: Mojo Vision

But the pieces of the consumer revolution in AR, VR, and mixed reality are visible today. Varjo could no doubt benefit from the tech I saw in a hotel room with the Mojo Vision crew. Under a microscope, I could see a green monochrome image of Rick Astley singing his Never Gonna Give You Up song.

Mojo Vision claims its MicroLED displays can create the smallest and densest pixels ever. The screen makes it a candidate for ultra-small and dense augmented reality and virtual reality displays. The prototype powers tiny pixels, with a pixel density 300 times greater than current smartphone displays. Mojo Vision can put 15 pixels in a space the size of a red blood cell.

MicroLEDs use 10% of the power of current LCD displays, and they have five to 10 times higher brightness than OLEDs. That means that MicroLEDs enable comfortable viewing outdoors. Mojo Vision can create 14,000 pixels per inch, and it can place them near your eyes.

And yet, if you improve the displays so that they make the animations in AR and VR completely believable, you just kick the can down the road a little. Once you have the graphics, you need the haptics (the sense of touch), said Nicole Lazzaro, head of XEO Design and a VR game designer.

Above: Ultrahaptics and Leap Motion combined their technologies at AWE 2019.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

That’s what Ultrahaptics and its newly acquired Leap Motion company were showing at the Playground area of the expo at AWE. I was able to put on a VR headset and move into a fantasy world. I could see my fingers in VR and move them around, thanks to the Leap Motion tech. I put my hand over some animated orbs, and I felt like I was touching something. That was Ultrahaptics’ speaker technology, blowing air upward to make my hands feel the sensation of touching something.

Above: Vadim Kogan shows off the Logitech VR Ink stylus.

Image Credit: Logitech

That was a kind of magical experience. Another kind of magic came from Logitech, which figured out how to create a stylus, or ink pen, for VR. The company showed a pilot of its Logitech VR Ink, targeted at enterprises. It lets you write in both two dimensions and three dimensions in a VR space. Now you can point at something and create in VR, and hopefully get haptic feedback.

Above: Artie founders Armando Kirwin (left) and Ryan Horrigan.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Lastly, the software makers can make use of this technology. And they’re the artists who are just getting started. Ryan Horrigan and Armando Kirwin, the founders of Artie, told me that they are trying to create virtual beings, or digital humans who can be superimposed on the real world in ways that engage with people. They will start with simple smartphone AR first and then eventually get to the technologies that can deliver digital humans in a realistic fashion.

Above: SuperData’s predictions for the VR, mobile AR, and AR/mixed reality markets.

Image Credit: SuperData

And so you can see how these technologies that are not meant for games will eventually swing back and help the mixed reality, AR, and VR companies. Llamas hopes that VR will grow from $4.9 billion in 2019 to a diminished but still impressive revenue level of $13.7 billion by 2022.

Llamas believes that much of the market will be games, but other sectors will be key to the long-term growth of VR as well. I hope we get there.

Let’s just hope it happens in time to see the pioneers get their rewards for going out on the edge.

This post by Dean Takahashi originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

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Fraunhofer Reveals Plans To Use Microdisplays To Overcome VR Motion Sickness And Headaches

One of the most comment problems that a small but significant number of users encounter when using virtual reality (VR) is that of motion sickness and headaches. This is something that researchers and developers have been trying to tackle since the early days of the technology and one that now Fraunhofer believe can be dealt with by using high-speed microdisplays that are positioned closer to the users’ eyes.

Fraunhofer Institute VR microdisplay

As reported by venturebeat, the work is being funded by a European project to popularize tiny but cost-effective high-speed screens which the German R&D institute will put on display next month. The key to the innovation is a chip design that enables multiple high-resolution OLED-on-silicon microdisplays to work quickly together at high 120Hz framerates. The displays will also offer a 100,000:1 contrast ratio and ultra-low power consumption and will also include a mode that eliminates flicker and motion artifacts. Because of their speed and quality, the displays promise to reduce motion sickness and headaches.

Fraunhofer are also trying to get more pixels out of these new one-inch microdisplays than that of a 1080p display by offering a 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution with a density of 2300 pixels per inch. As two of these displays are used per eye, four displays are used in total with a total pixel resolution of 4800 x 920, which offers a wide field-of-view of over 100 degrees.

Fraunhofer Institute VR microdisplay

These screens are then paired with a new optics system which has been designed by Limbak, a third-party partner on the project. Your typical VR headset will have screens placed around 60 to 75 millimeters from a user’s eyes, were Limbak’s optics will cut the distance down to 37 millimeters, reducing the overall size of the headset. This is one are that Fraunhofer are keen to see developments made with an expect headset weight with this solution to be around three-quarters smaller than a typical headset, without compromising the field-of-view or resolution.

Fraunhofer are planning to exhibit the new displays and a prototype headset at Munich’s AWE Europe 2018 event on October 18th and 19th. Though details such as release date and pricing have yet to be revealed, VRFocus will be sure to bring you all this and more when it becomes available.

Augmented World Expo Announces Partnership With Digi-Capital

The Augmented World Expo (AWE) announced earlier this week that they are partnering with Digi-Capital, an analytics firm and global adviser and provider of XR industry intelligence. AWE of course provide events focusing on virtual, augmented and mixed reality (VR/AR/MR) which all fall into the umbrella term of XR. This new partnership gives the XR industry a new level of access to leaders and products combined with data, survey analysis and regional reports.


This means that AWE attendees will gain access to select Digi-Capital material such as analytics and reports to help drive XR innovation initiatives, spur corporate and VC investment, along with helping new startups go to market. Part of the partnership also includes Digi-Captial having a survey program offering unique access to AWE’s industry “brain trust”. This partnership will see people across the XR industry able to benefit from a range of services and information, helping to making it a better place all-round.

Additionally, the partnership will also see Digi-Capital founder and managing direct, Tim Merel, headlining AWE events, providing the State of the Union keynotes and sharing live, global and regional XR analytics. He will first be presenting at the upcoming AWE Europe 2018 conference and expo.

Elsewhere, AWE also announced that the AWE Europe 2018 conference would be returning to Munich this year and is co-locating with ISMAR, the IEEE International Symposium on AR and MR to deliver the industry’s most comprehensive showcase of XR innovation to help bridge the gap between scientific ideation to market commercialization.


“Since my first ISMAR in 2008 where I was introduced to the promise of AR to change our lives, it was my dream to bring together the research and commercial sectors of the AR Industry. This year, by co-locating AWE and ISMAR in Munich we achieve this goal; the cross-pollination between research and industry will manifest itself in deeper understanding of the current research as well as what’s required to support XR adoption in the industry. ” said Ori Inbar, co-founder and executive producer of AWE. “At no other event can you see the products available today combined with the critical-ingredient science inspiring the technology of tomorrow–for an interconnected vision of the road ahead for XR.”

AWE Europe 2018 is planned to take place on October 18th-19 in Munich, Germany at the MOC Exhibition Center. It will see over 2,000 attendees, 100 speakers and 100 exhibitors come together to share their love and knowledge of all things XR.

Tickers are currently on sale starting at €149.00 (Euro) for a one day pass going up to €1,295.00 for a two day all access pass and ISMAR combo pack. More details on tickets and availability can be found here and for more news on AWE in the future, keep reading VRFocus.

Check Out Hundreds Of Augmented World Expo Videos

Check Out Hundreds Of Augmented World Expo Videos

Augmented World Expo, or AWE, is one of the biggest conferences in the world focused on AR. The most recent AWE conference was held from May 30 to June 1 and featured a wide array of demos and presentations from across the spectrum of AR and VR experiences. Now you can check out hundreds of videos posted from sessions and presentations at the event.

Hundreds of videos available free on YouTube offer hours of content for professionals to peruse for tidbits and insights into work with VR or AR. Subjects range considerably from outlining new approaches to 6DoF tracking to how best to tell stories in AR. I’ll break out some of the individual sessions which grabbed my attention near the end of the post, but here are some playlists grouping together various AWE videos:





Individual Videos

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Living Wine Labels Celebrates National Wine Day With Auggie Award Nomination

The 25th May is National wine Day in the United States. Many will be celebrating this with a nice glass or red or white, perhaps even enhancing the experience with some virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR) such as that provided by the Living Wine Labels app, which has recently got an award nomination.

An increasing number of alcoholic beverage producers have started turning to immersive technologies in a bid to attract customer attention. One of the world’s largest wine companies, Treasury Wines Estates, turned to Unity Technologies to create AR wine labels.

The result is called Living Wine Labels, which allows brands such as Chateau St. Jean’s Chardonnay and Chateau St. Jean’s Sparkling Brut Blanc de Blancs to bring the user interesting and informative AR content, such as showing the history of the vinyard the wine came from, or supplying tasting notes for the wine.

That’s not all, though, there are more esoteric usrs for the technology, including some pop culture such as Walking Dead wine, where using the Living Wine Labels app brings Sheriff Rick from the Waling Dead TV show into your room to battle the zombies again.

Living Wine Labels has just been announced as a finalist for the Best Campaign at the 2018 Auggie Awards. 2018 will be the ninth year that the Auggie Awards have run, celebrating the best in AR and VR. The winners will be presented at the Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, which is due to run from 30th May – 1st June, 2018.

“For almost a decade, AWE has recognized hundreds of exceptionally talented and profoundly influential AR and VR technologists whose work is changing the world,” said Ori Inbar, co-founder and executive producer of AWE. “This year’s submissions—the largest number in AWE history including many by giant companies —represent an incredibly diverse and competitive assortment of achievements. These finalists illustrate the XR technologies and use cases with the greatest potential to impact our lives.”

Further information on the Living Wine Labels app can be found on the official website. As always VRFocus will continue to bring you the latest news on VR and AR content.

Eight Finalists For Global AR Online Pitch Revealed

Sometimes in order for something to truly succeed and create something bigger you have to work together. This is true in any line of business, even the immersive technology sector. After all where would the Gear VR – arguably virtual reality’s (VR’s) most prolific headset – be, without the partnership between both Samsung and Oculus? It’d certainly be a very different industry.

Global AR Online Pitch LogoNear the end of last month VRFocus reported on the Global AR Online Pitch, an event put together by three of the biggest investment names in the field of augmented reality (AR): The GFR Fund, Super Ventures and The Venture Reality Fund (a.k.a The VR Fund).  Open to submissions from all around the world, the aim of the Global AR Online Pitch’s goal was to give an unprecedented opportunity to developers to secure funding for their AR related developments. Now, some 241 submissions later, eight finalists have been announced.

They are:

  • ARwall – A Los Angeles based company. It has created the first AR display that requires no headset, goggles or smart device.
  • Cortex Core – Created by Binary Bubbles, Inc., is a codeless content management system that enables IP owners to maintain a strong and personal relationship with their consumers through always-on, world-aware digital AR characters.
  • DeepAR – A powerful face-tracking, face FX and deep learning SDK that allows any app to integrate advanced, Snapchat-like face lenses in hours. The most advanced AR Advertising SDK on the market, DeepAR currently powers over 50 million users each month through its integration with top ad networks.
  • JigSpace – Creates and shares interactive, 3D knowledge for anything.
  • Infiniverse – Connects the entire world’s digital space into a single, persistent, virtual AR world. The augmented reality land registry, content distribution platform and marketplace runs on the blockchain.
  • Insider Navigation (INS) – The first company that offers augmented-reality based indoor positioning and navigation for mobile devices.
  • PLNAR – An Austin, TX, AR startup that optimizes the settlement of home interior property claims (flood, water, fire). PLNAR generates fully measured, detailed 3D models and material summaries of rooms using augmented reality. (Read more about them here.)
  • SentiAR – Developing the first real-time AR software platform for interventional procedures on the HoloLens. Initially focused on catheter ablation procedures treating cardiac arrhythmia, the company aims to significantly change clinical practices.

Not only will all eight be pitching to investors, they will also be a part of the forthcoming Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2018, taking place in Silicon Valley from May 30th to June 1st. Taking to the stage to present to attendees.

“There is a huge advantage for companies to be able to pitch key investors without spending the time and money required to go on a roadshow,” commented GFR Fund CEO Teppei Tsutsui. “The AR Online Pitch event puts every startup on a level playing field and lets the entrepreneurs, and their vision and innovation, speak for itself.”

VRFocus will continue to bring you news on the event as well as updates from AWE 2018 at the end of the month. Be sure to look out for those.

ThirdEye Gen Showcasing AR SmartGlasses For Enterprise Use

There has been an upsurge in interest among businesses, brands and manufacturers regarding augmented reality (AR) technology. One company taking advantage of this interest is ThirdEye Gen, who have worked for some time with the US Department of Defence on AR applications and are now turning their attention to AR for the enterprise market.

ThirdEye Gen are planning to showcase its X1 SmartGlasses product at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) in California at the end of May, 2018 along with a new software platform.

X1 smart glasses

The X1 SmartGlasses will be compatible with ThirdEye Gen’s custom ‘See What I See’ enterprise AR software, which allows users to experience the point-of-view of another person through audio and video, with useful information placed in their field-of-view in order to help with complex tasks.

The AR SmartGlasses paired with the software allows employees on sight to receive precise mentoring, training and instructions from a specialist remote operator, which removes the need for every employee to be a ‘jack of all trades’ and allows specialists to save time and money on costly site visits.

ThirdEye Gen say its current customers such as OneBonsai Inc and BAN3 Engineering Inc have already seen a 30% reduction in employee training time by implementing this feature.

“We’re in conversation with businesses from over a dozen verticals, including Fortune 500 companies, about our X1 Smart Glasses and remote assistance AR platform” said Nick Cherukuri, President at ThirdEye Gen. “We give organizations a straight-out-of-the-box solution and can customize the hardware and software that meets their specific needs.”

The ThirdEye Gen platform gives users hands-free user interface and what equates to a 90” HD screen at 10 feet, along with a 13 Megapixel camera and replaceable batteries so spare batteries can be charged whilst the SmartGlasses are in use.

The company will be showcasing its products at Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, California from 30th May until 1st June, 2018. The ThirdEye Gen booth can be found at Booth 715. VRFocus will continue to bring you the latest news on new AR products and services.