AR+VR Weekly: Rift S, building helicopters in VR & Israeli XR Startup to Watch

Catch up on the latest XR highlights, funding news & launch announcements week of November 5


By Tom Emrich

It’s been another busy week in AR+VR! In addition to keeping you up-to-date on the top AR+VR news, funding activity, and launch announcements, here are there three stories you need to know: Rift S, building helicopters in VR & Tel Aviv Startup to Watch.

Facebook may not be planning for a Rift 2, but a possible half upgrade called the “Rift S” may be released as early as next year giving the device minor upgrades to the display and improvements in the tracking system. Facebook recently confirmed a reorganization of its Oculus team changing it from a product focused structure to one more functionally focused around areas of expertise.

Meanwhile, Bell Helicopter’s Innovation Team says its latest helicopter was designed ten times faster using VR. In a study published with HTC, Bell indicated that an average aircraft takes five to seven years to design and thanks to VR, they were able to achieve the same results in less than six months.

Finally, an Israeli-based startup working on 3D imaging camera technology in order to optimize consumer experiences for AR+VR and Autonomous Cars won the “Startup to Watch” Auggie Award at AWE Tel Aviv this week.  AWE wrapped up its inaugural AR+VR conference and expo in Israel earlier this week and with it announced the first AWE Tel Aviv Auggie Awards. Along with the “Startup to Watch” award , AWE also honored Resonai with the “Best-in-Show” award for its Vera AI-powered platform that offers 3D object recognition, 3D scene reconstruction, and advanced semantics made for AR development.

Funding News

Korean Startup LetinAR Raises $3.6m for its AR Optics (VR Focus)

Milpitas ‘smart glass’ maker gets $1.1B from Saudi-backed SoftBank Vision Fund (Silicon Valley Journal)

Launch Announcements

Tencent made smart glasses that look like Snap Spectacles (The Verge)

Niantic’s massive Ingress reboot launches today on iOS and Android (The Verge)

Foot Locker, Nike Launch AR Scavenger Hunt (Mediapost)

Adidas is using augmented reality to sell limited-edition sneakers (Engadget)

Virtuix and Funovation launch VR Arena for virtual reality esports (Venturebeat)

NBA’s Dallas Mavericks unveils AR mural with ‘larger than life’ slam dunk (Marketing Dive)

Walmart adds an AR scanner to its iOS app for product comparisons (TechCrunch)

Rift S, building helicopters in VR & Tel Aviv Startup to Watch (Engadget)

YC-backed Observant uses the iPhone’s infrared depth sensors to analyze user emotions (TechCrunch)