CES 2017 which took place in Las Vegas this year, was a place to discover different novelties of VR & AR technologies like VR and AR glasses and even helmets, that can show you a completely new world enriched with digital content. These technologies erase the borders between real and digital worlds. Many venture companies support augmented reality startups and many experts say that AR is the new big thing. During the last twelve months, more than 2.3 billion dollars have been invested in AR companies. Digi-Capital Company predicts that VR and AR market share and investment in this industry will grow to 105 billion dollars by 2021.
Here is the list of some outstanding startups that have already made a huge progress in the AR industry.
You might have never heard of Lumus, but it seems like one of the companies making the smart glasses of the future. Lumus is a display optics company that used to make its devices for the needs of combat aviation, but it has recently started entering the AR technology market.
This Israel-based company has patented the Light-guide Optical Element. The LOE makes use of multiple partial reflectors to display the virtual object or a picture before the user’s eyes. Each partial reflector shows just a piece of the image, but the optics of the device shows all the parts combined so that the user sees the whole picture. The transparent display allows for imposing a virtual image over the user’s real world view. Full-screen images like documents, internet pages, movies will be displayed in a few inches away from the user as a floating picture.
Lumus optical glasses are designed for a common person’s lifestyle and provide the next level of AR experience. What makes these glasses really cool, is that they extend the view of the user instead of limiting it. Lightweight, fully transparent lenses and daylight readability are the most important benefits of Lumus over competitors.
Lumus has already shipped more than 10,000 glasses so far. There are six different models of their glasses available on their website for different goals and tasks.
Developed by Program-Ace, MR. ACE helps to create next generation mixed reality training apps for various goals: from elementary education to military training. MR. ACE’s key components include:
- cloud-based SaaS platform that requires no additional coding;
- user-friendly drag and drop editor;
- 3D object recognition feature;
- most popular objects and actions used in military training;
- unlimited customization possibilities.
Focused on innovation, Program-Ace is willing to help the military sector enhance their training techniques, making it more effective for young people and less costly for the educational centers.
When it comes to augmented reality, the most significant thing is how it looks. Digilens produce thinner and more efficient holographic projection systems that will give users another level of experience of AR.
Sony, Continental and Panasonic invested in this startup $22 million in 2017. “The use of Digilens waveguide technology will help us develop cutting-edge lenses that are much thinner and more transparent than any smart glasses on the market today,” said Hiroshi Mukawa, General Manager of the AR Eyeglass Program at Sony.
Digilens is expanding its product line and are going to develop displays for motorcycle helmets. They even plan to associate with such corporations as BMW for integrating optics into the helmets of their motorcycles.
Ingress is an online MMO game created by Niantic Labs. This was their first AR game with geolocation. The gameplay is similar to the children’s game “Capture the flag”.
After launching the game, your smartphone turns into a scanner. It indicates your location and you can see portals around. As the game’s story says, aliens called Shapers can get to our planet through these portals, and the humanity is divided into 2 factions: Enlightened and Resistance. Enlightened are confident that these aliens will help the humanity to develop faster, while Resistance is afraid of being enslaved. Both factions try to capture as many portals as possible. Portals can be located near monuments or other well-known objects in the city you are in. Three portals captured by one faction forms a triangle region that belongs either to Enlighten or to Resistance.
Another cool thing is an ability to cooperate with your mates so you can capture portals much faster.
Ingress didn’t become very popular but it initiated the development of AR geolocation games like Pokemon Go.
Drone & Base
Drone & Base is the World’s first multiplayer battle drone game. You can either shoot with built-in lasers or race against others through checkpoints. Drones have a built-in infrared cannon which shoots with invisible light beams. And both drones and bases have beam detectors.
Playing against AI is a great fun. It will be an unforgettable experience as this game is unique in all meanings. By the way, this app was the winner of Vodafone Nápad Roku 2017 in Prague.
You can download this app from Google Play and Apple App Store.
8i is the next-level augmented reality technology which changes the way people think about AR. 3D images created using 8i’s technology can be put into any scene, in addition, they can to be viewed on any platform. This AR startup seeks to make these technologies a part of everyday life.
8i creates human holograms that look like real thing and you can feel like they exist in the same space as you. Their technology transforms videos from multiple cameras into a photorealistic 3D hologram of an object that can be viewed from any point with any device for VR, AR or MR.
Their app is currently available on the Apple App Store and on the Google Play.
Continental Augmented Reality Head-Up
At last, let’s take a look at the app that will enhance your driving skills, reduce the number of speed tickets you get and create a gamification experience while you are driving. Imagine having the ability to access the necessary information such as the speed limit or traffic jams right on the wing. All the information you need is displayed on your windscreen, so all you have to do is look forward and drive.
An app that gives a view of the traffic conditions in front of your eyes using virtual augmentations is just what most drivers need to reduce the amount of car accident on the road.
Continental Augmented Reality Head-up guarantees inexpensive, safe and comfortable driving experience for all drivers.
As you can see, its fast development makes AR being used in more and more serious industries. All these startups expand our vision of the world and who knows, maybe in the nearest future, we change our smartphones to these glasses