The Year of Virtual Augmented Reality (Event List)

2020 – the year of virtual meetups

It seems like 2020 becomes the year of virtual reality for obvious reasons world-wide. It`s pretty hard to try out the latest AR glasses in a telepresence call. Simulating AR glasses in VR feels also pretty silly and not so quite close to reality. Damn, so there you have it. With Magic Leap losing grip right now and all going mad in Zoom calls, it`s a bit more quiet here on real conference hands-on and other AR news. Well, although I must admit the new Unreal Engine 5 is friggin` awesome from what they show! No LOD-creation is the biggest deal ever, if it turns out to be true and applicable in your real-time projects. If they manage to allow for this (in a precalculated step) for AR setups: highly welcome!

Still, there are quite a few VR events on AR/VR coming up next and I wanted to list the closest right now.

Last Weeks in VR

Me, myself and I, we are under curfew in Spain for over 60 days now – with some less restrictions lately – and I`ve attended quite a few online events lately. Especially the very well known LAVAL VIRTUAL conference caught my attention in VR. Although the used platform (Virbela) looked more like from the 90s and geocities, it was still a great feeling to go on a virtual conference! It just felt great to know that each avatar has a real human being behind (even the poor staff people sitting at the info booth all day): lots of professionals gathered not only to hang out, but to actually network and listen to talks. The same happened during the great VIRTUAL GERMANY #1 meetup in EngageVR a few days later: I had the warm feeling of actually being at a conference with like-minded people to connect.

Lots of features are still missing to make life easier (how to make notes? how to recognize people you know with simple avatars?), but I hope people will adapt to this format quickly to have more gathering soon. People need to be educated and some social rules need to get established (mute yourself, applaud if someone finishes a talk, don`t jump around like a bunny), but it felt already that people are getting there. Better graphics but especially more natural interfaces (interaction via hand tracking, use eye tracking to simulate direction of sight) will sure help out here very soon. Meanwhile, the platforms could offer more shortcuts to simulate the missing link (e.g. how to applaud quickly, don`t allow teleporting freely, trigger emotional states through shortcuts, etc). So, don`t get me started on the details. Overall, it`s a good start to have a surrogate for real shows this way. A Zoom/Skype/HangOut-call is just not the same due to missing spatial component. Talking about spatial… more events are coming up on AR/VR and let`s take a quick look below!

Microsoft Dev Days

On May, 21st and 22nd Microsoft invites to Altspace VR.

On the first day, HoloLens father Alex Kipman will hold the keynote, then they dive into Azure remote rendering, Unreal engine support for HL2 (no, not version 5 yet!), Unity, introduction to Azure Spatial Anchors to persistently hold your AR experiences, MRTK and more.

The second day Alex joins on stage with Rene Schulte to have a little chat to kick off day 2 before handing over to different success story talks. I´m especially waiting for the talk by Mike Chemistruck on Project Accoustics with HoloLens 2 (to fake real world effects on audio) and the OpenXR standard integration with Microsoft in the afternoon.

Maybe Alex Kipman will release any news on HoloLens 2.1 or 3.0 to come? What can we expect next from their AR team? We will find out next days and will keep you posted.

AWE Online Global

May, 26th – 29th

It´s time to go spatial! Well, but for now this year´s Augmented World Expo conference is confined to a screen. The online global summit will take place in your browser / desktop without any glasses, but still, we can enjoy a long list of great speakers and talks! I`d love to meet up with Ori and the others once again live and face-to-face, but this time, the screen will do… is partner as always and I will try to squeeze out as much info and news as possible.

The agenda can be found on their website. Let me point you to a few of my recommendations:

  • Volumentric Video Capture is hard and created loads of data. Oh, well maybe we can just dump it into Unreal Engine 5 now?
  • 8th wall will dive into the future of the spatial web, leaving flatland. Will we finally reach the immmersive web that surrounds us?
  • Maybe float freely with some off the beaten path discussions on mise en scène for XR. How could this look like to create great stories for the spatial medium?
  • Immersal is presenting their work on a city-wide digital twin in Helsinki. Good step forward towards an AR cloud?
  • Collaboration and Training in XR are the tool of this era. Different talks like this one or this one here dive into it.
  • To enjoy VR in a comfortable way we need lightweight and glasses with a high field of view. Here we get the promise of exactly that for 180°.
  • Multisensory input & output for AR/VR is still a huge research field. Neuroscientists from Adobe to discuss it.
  • The last day also focuses more on gaming and art in AR/VR. Up for a multi-player session during your lock-down? Take a look at the eSports world in XR!

I will update this list once more info is listed (e.g. on keynote speakers still missing).

VR/AR Global Summit

The VRAR Association holds its own online summit on June, 1st to June, 3rd.
On their website you can register and find the agenda here.

I will take a closer look here soon and share the best output. Speaking of early June:

The Augmented Reality Organization Meetup on June, 2nd

On June, 2nd we as The Augmented Organization will have another gathering / meetup in AltspaceVR for everyone to join! Feel free to sign up already on the event page here and to join the fun! It will be a casual meeting to meet lots of Industry experts or enthusiasts in VR to talk about AR. Only rule: you need to be able to drink your beer or cocktail without removing your headset!

Join the fun here on altspace!

Hope to see you soon digitally!