AR Provider Rokid Raises $160m Series C Funding to Expand Globally

Chinese startup Rokid has been through a few stages of transformation over its eight years of existence.  The Temasek-backed company started out as a smart speaker maker when the vertical was all the rage in China in mid-2015s, but it has in recent years put more focus on Augmented Reality.

This week, Rokid said it has secured a $160 million Series C round, lifting its total capital raised to $378 million.

Rokid has been exploring enterprise use cases, like enabling remote communication for field workers in the auto, oil and gas, and other traditional industries. Its X-Craft headset, for instance, is resistant to explosions, water and dust and comes with 5G and GPS capabilities.

During the COVID19 pandemic Rokid pitched smart glasses that could detect temperatures of up to 200 people within two minutes.

With a team of about 380 employees, Rokid said it will spend the new proceeds on research and development as well as global expansion, so developed markets could be expecting more of Rokid’s B2B offerings. Indeed, the firm just hired an energy industry veteran to head its sales in the APAC region.

The AREA sends our congratulations on this expansion.

Find out more about Rokid on the Rokid inc AREA member profile.

Operating Room Usage of Vuzix Smart Glasses Continues to Expand Via Solution Providers Pixee Medical and Rods&Cones

Yesterday, Pixee Medical announced that its Knee+ AR computer-assisted orthopedic solution will be commercially launched in the United States, providing a perfect fit for Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs). Launched in Europe and Australia early in 2021, Pixee’s solution will be formally launched in the US at the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting on March 22-26 in Chicago, where the company will meet with surgeons and finalize the organization of its distribution channel.

Additionally, Pixee Medical added that it will soon be adding new features to its Knee+ platform, with soft tissue balancing, kinematic alignment and data connectivity. It will also be expanding its portfolio with a mixed reality product for total shoulder arthroplasty and with an easy-to-use cup orientation and leg length controlling AR tool for total hip arthroplasty. Knee+ is also now compatible with surgical hoods.

Rods&Cones has been a growing consumer of Vuzix M400 smart glasses, which let staff in the operating room, ICU or other medical facility, including surgeons, instrumentalist nurses and other healthcare professionals, provide 4K broadcast quality imagery to others while interacting with patients and staff from a safe distance. To date, Rods&Cones is active in more than 600 hospitals across more than 30 countries and the company anticipates that 2022 will be the year when companies and medical providers start changing their models to prioritize remote technology at the heart of their operations.

Rods&Cones recently announced that its remote access service is compatible with the Pixee Knee+ augmented reality solution for total knee arthroplasty. The compatibility of the two solutions is expected to allow surgeons to use augmented reality during total knee arthroplasty surgeries, while also connecting remotely with other medical experts around the world.

“Firms like Pixee Medical and Rods&Cones are innovators within the healthcare sector and their solutions are facilitating communications and learning, reducing costs, and improving outcomes in operating rooms around the world with the help of Vuzix smart glasses,” said Paul Travers, President and Chief Executive Officer at Vuzix. We look forward to working with these and other providers to help transform the healthcare industry in 2022 and beyond.



Qualcomm Launches $100M Snapdragon Metaverse Fund

Qualcomm Incorporated announced on March 21 2022 the launch of the Snapdragon Metaverse Fund, established to invest up to $100 million in developers and companies building unique, immersive XR experiences, as well as associated core augmented reality (AR) and related artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The fund plans to deploy capital through a combination of venture investments in leading XR companies by Qualcomm Ventures and a grant program by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. for developer ecosystem funding in XR experiences such as gaming, health and wellness, media, entertainment, education, and enterprise.

“We deliver the groundbreaking platform technology and experiences that will enable both the consumer and the enterprise to build and engage in the metaverse and allow the physical and digital worlds to be connected. Qualcomm is the ticket to the metaverse,” said Cristiano Amon, president and CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated. “Through the Snapdragon Metaverse Fund, we look forward to empowering developers and companies of all sizes as they push boundaries of what’s possible as we enter into this new generation of spatial computing.”

Qualcomm Technologies has been a key contributor in every major computing evolution and is a leader in core technologies such as 5G, AI and XR – all of which are critical to the metaverse. As we enter the new era of spatial computing, the Snapdragon Metaverse Fund will help enable and foster innovation across the entire ecosystem through venture investment and developer ecosystem grants for content projects.  In addition, recipients may have the opportunity to gain early access to cutting-edge XR platform technology, hardware kits, a global network of investors, and co-marketing and promotion opportunities.

Companies and developers who are interested to learn more can visit qualcomm.com/metaverse-fund. Applications for the Snapdragon Metaverse Fund will officially open in June.


About Qualcomm

Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G. When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found in every 3G, 4G and 5G smartphone. We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things, and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly.

Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research, and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.



Scope AR Has Become a Siemens Digital Industries Software Partner

“We are ecstatic to offer this leading PLM technology integration to our current and future customers,” said Scott Montgomerie, Co-founder and CEO. “Streamlining the creation of AR experiences from PLM systems is an integral part of the digital thread. With the connection between Teamcenter and WorkLink, that vision is now a reality. We launched WorkLink Create to give the world the fastest AR authoring and publishing experience possible. That experience is now seamlessly connected to the world’s most widely used PLM system, and this integration unlocks limitless use cases for our shared customers.”

From its founding, Scope AR has improved the way people work with technology that accelerates the sharing of specific knowledge. In 2010, Scope AR’s founders saw the power augmented reality had to make anyone an expert, regardless of how complex the task. To harness that power, they developed WorkLink, a platform that transforms the way enterprises manufacture, inspect, test and train their workforce through step-by-step 3D visual guidance. WorkLink enables higher workforce productivity with better training, less rework, and higher compliance.

WorkLink has been proven transformational in hundreds of use cases and industries, and makes it easy for leading organizations like Johnson & Johnson, Mitsubishi, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Honeywell and others to create and distribute powerful AR content in minutes across a wide array of devices. In addition to Siemens Digital Industries, Scope AR partners with technology leaders such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, ServiceMax, Unity, NTT Data and more.


Fortune 50 Online Retailer Places Follow-on Order for Vuzix Smart Glasses to Support Expanding Warehouse Usage

This order follows the successful completion of a proof-of-concept (POC) earlier last year in one warehouse and the initial deployment of Vuzix smart glasses in 40 warehouses several months ago. This follow-on order will support the further deployment of glasses to these 40 warehouses as well as initial deployment to additional locations.

“We are pleased to see a customer of this caliber, not only a retailer leader but also an innovative user of new technologies, continue to deploy and actively use Vuzix smart glasses, a proven productivity tool,” said Paul Travers, President and Chief Executive Officer at Vuzix.

“This Fortune 50 customer represents just one of many exciting opportunities within this vertical, and we look forward to working with them, as well as others, to expand both the depth and breadth of Vuzix Smart Glasses usage this year and beyond.”

Mercedes-Benz, Turkey Selects RealWear for Large Scale Deployment Across All 56 Service Centres with Microsoft Teams

London, UK – 22 February 2022 – RealWear, the world’s leading provider of assisted reality solutions for frontline industrial workers, today announced that Mercedes-Benz Otomotiv, based in Turkey, has selected and deployed RealWear’s rugged wearable devices across all of its 56 authorised service centres.

Prior to its countrywide enterprise wearable deployment, the process included hundreds of in-person trips, emails, shared photos and videos and over-the-phone collaboration with subject matter experts. With more than 240,000 customer vehicles on the road and the company’s commitment to high-quality service, the RealWear deployment immediately resulted in wide-ranging positive impact from cost savings, carbon footprint reduction to efficiency and worker empowerment.

For Mercedes-Benz, speed is everything, including a timely response and resolution to its customers. Any issues that could not be resolved required technical support staff to schedule and physically visit the dealership, costing the firm around an expected $100k and 500 tons of carbon emissions per year.

Since initially deploying the technology, Mercedes-Benz Otomotiv anticipates a 25% jump in ROI for on-part training scenarios and up to an expected 80% performance increase in customer service centre technical problem resolution where expertise from HQ is required. Certain other processes, such as problematic warranty cases and insurance claims have also become far more efficient using RealWear’s devices.

“Technologies such as RealWear and Microsoft Teams further increase the service quality and speed of Mercedes-Benz, thus positively affecting our customer satisfaction.” said Celal Tuna, Technical Support Supervisor at Mercedes-Benz Otomotiv.

You can read the full press release including the story of Mercedes Benz’s search for an enterprise wearable for its technicians which began in May 2020 on the RealWear website.

See RealWear’s AREA member profile

AR Instructor for the HoloLens 2 is now available from Arvizio

AR Instructor is a comprehensive software solution comprised of the following key elements:

AR Instructor Authoring App: a Windows-based application used to create guided work instruction.

The Authoring application offers users tools to easily create a set of digital procedures, each with step-by-step instructions, and insert associated documentation, videos, images, annotations, and 3D models where additional clarification may be helpful.

AR Instructor App: an application for HoloLens 2

The AR Instructor app allows technicians to utilize AR content and overlay structured step-by-step instructions, with integrated documentation, media, and 3D models, on the physical site to perform repair, maintenance, installation, and other operational activities. AR users can conduct live video calls with a remote expert for additional guidance or performance audit.

Support for other AR devices (mobile, lightweight glasses) is planned for Q2 this year.

Arvizio Remote Expert: Web-based tools used by remote experts to assist field workers.

The Remote Expert capability enables live see-what-I-see video calls including augmented reality annotations, shared images and screenshots for visual interaction with the on-site worker to offer additional guidance and/or audit the performance of operational tasks.

AR Instructor provides on-the-job guidance using previously prepared step-by-step augmented reality instructions. Visual prompts and AR overlays guide the user as they execute a given set of tasks. Each step of a guided workflow can be illustrated with video, documents, images, and 3D models superimposed on objects in the user’s field of view.


AR Instructor also offers real-time collaboration allowing field workers and remote experts to share information and receive critical guidance when required. Connecting with remote experts allows the expert to view, collaborate, and instruct the on-site employee using captured photographs, video and annotations through direct audio and video interaction. Specific procedures requiring expert assistance for work validation, or additional oversight, can be seamlessly incorporated in the workflow.

“AR Instructor is an efficient solution for organizations to utilize augmented reality in their operational and field maintenance activities. Using HoloLens 2, clear instructions, 3D content, media and remote expert support are in the worker’s field of view, enabling hands-free operation and significantly increased productivity”, said Jonathan Reeves, CEO of Arvizio. “In addition, senior employees are often not located where operations are performed. With AR Instructor’s remote expert capabilities, these experts can see exactly what engineers and field technicians see and collaborate with them reducing the time to resolution without costly travel.”

AR Instructor offers significant benefits to a variety of industries including manufacturing, datacenter, telecoms, aerospace, and energy. Integrated AR content as well as flexible user management enable organizations to vastly increase productivity, reduce operational costs, optimize their resources, improve competency and safety, and reduce training costs.

The AR Instructor app for HoloLens 2 is available in the Microsoft Store as part of the comprehensive AR Instructor solution. To watch a brief video overview of AR Instructor, please visit: Arvizio AR Instructor: Step-By-Step Instruction in AR

In addition to AR Instructor, the company’s Immerse 3D solution offers 3D model visualization and multi-user meetings and reviews with 3D BIM/CAD models, photogrammetry models and LiDAR point clouds across locations.


What’s happening in XR News from Lenovo, Arvizio, Accenture, Aviva, and GigXR

Motorola, Verizon Design 5G Wearable for XR Devices

Mobile phone pioneer Motorola recently announced it had teamed up with parent company Lenovo and US telecoms giant Verizon to reveal its latest 5G wearable device for XR technologies.

The neckband will provide ultra-low latency 5G connections for users of XR devices, using Verizon’s Ultra-Wideband 5G networks and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 mobile platform.

Cambridge, GigXR Launch XR HoloPatient Trainer

XR healthcare solutions provider GigXR has begun working with Cambridge University Health Partners and Britain’s National Healthcare Service to develop its HoloPatient trainer app.

The solution, aimed at training Cambridge University students and healthcare professionals, was developed to train the next generation of healthcare professionals and boost their learner retention rates and engagement, representatives from both teams told XR Today in an interview.

VR, Metaverse Insurance Claims Jump 31 Percent

News reports revealed that XR device users had filed a record 31 percent higher number of accident claims in 2021, compared to the previous year, Aviva told the Guardian in an interview.

The UK’s largest insurer told the publication that accidents such as breaking furniture, televisions, and punching ceilings were some of the most common claims, resulting in claims on average of £650.

Arvizio To Secure AR, Future of Industry 4.0, CEO Says

Ontario, Canada-based AR solutions firm Arvizio (AREA member) spoke to XR Today last week to discuss its latest updates on its augmented and mixed reality (AR/VR) products designed for Industry 4.0.

In an interview, Jonathan Reeves, CEO of Arvizio, explained how digital transformation across global markets, expedited by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, sparked accelerated deployments of products such as Arvizio Immerse 3D and Arvizio Instructor.

Accenture Invests in XR Training Firm Talespin

Talespin, a spatial computing firm based in Los Angeles, California, completed Series C fundraising totalling $20 million USD from key investors such as Accenture Ventures, Pearson Ventures, and others.

The news comes as Accenture invests heavily in the future of XR with a portfolio of projects such as women’s empowerment in India, virtual onboarding, and best practices with the XR Association.

Magic Leap’s Augmented Reality 101 What It is and How It Works

What augmented reality means

“Augmented” reality is an everyday reality that has been augmented or enhanced by the addition of digital visual information. The image you see in AR is exactly what you see in the real world using your eyes, but with images and text overlaid within your field of view via a wearable device. AR is different from “virtual” reality (VR), in which the user is fully immersed in a digital experience with the headset blocking out the external world completely.

The concept is so widespread that chances are you’ve seen or experienced AR in a basic form. When Iron Man looks through his visor and sees computer readouts alerting him to danger, that’s a form of AR, albeit one filtered through a fictional comic book or movie framework.

In the real world, the mobile game Pokemon Go incorporates augmented reality elements by using your phone’s camera to superimpose cute critters into the real world around you. Snapchat filters are another well known example that you may not think of as augmented reality.

While virtual reality shuts you off from the outside world, requiring new environments to be built, augmented reality integrates digital content into your physical environment.

These examples deliver an impressive, entry-level AR experience using the basic technology available in smartphones. Now imagine what’s possible with a lightweight, wearable computer created specifically with augmented reality in mind– one that can integrate digital content that is contextually aware of the physical environment it’s in.

How augmented reality works

Augmented reality works by analyzing the environment and using triggers around you to display relevant information in the applicable place in your field of view. So, for example, an AR function for a map application might be programmed to detect the logos of specific stores and display details such as store hours when you look at them.

On a smartphone, that’s simply a case of putting the information on the screen. But for a wearable AR headset like Magic Leap, the process is even more immersive. By using information from the built-in eye tracker, virtual content is rendered correctly and slightly differently for each eye, which enables virtual objects to appear at any depth.

Designed for comfort and long-term use

Enterprise-class, head-mounted displays must be designed in a way that lets the user wear them for longer periods of time without causing fatigue or strain. Because the device must fit securely and perform well, Magic Leap did the work to measure performance and comfort on a diverse range of users.

Researchers at Magic Leap spent years capturing 3D scans of hundreds of heads and have seen a wide range of head shapes, sizes, distances between nose bridges and eyes, all to inform the industrial design of the platform. Numerous pad configurations for forehead and nose make Magic Leap comfortable for all head shapes and sizes.

Magic Leap devices are fully customizable, distribute weight evenly around the head, and are designed for thermal comfort. You can even insert prescription lenses into your device to make it even more customized.

Designed for human physiology

Magic Leap has a unique heritage of designing for the human body thanks to the founding team’s groundbreaking work in the biomedical industry. This experience has uniquely inspired Magic Leap to create a device that operates harmoniously with human physiology.

Magic Leap works in tandem with our natural visual system in a safe and effective way to create incredibly real experiences. Magic Leap’s operating range begins at 37 centimeters, well within an arm’s length, and is among the largest operating ranges in the industry. Accordingly, Magic Leap has designed its AR wearable devices to deliver experiences that are low friction and do not typically induce nausea.

How augmented reality can be used

By bridging the divide between the digital and physical worlds, and combining them in a unique first-person point of view, AR has the potential to revolutionize many different professional fields, not just personal entertainment.

AR allows doctors to plan for complex surgical cases

Augmented reality is already being used in cutting-edge medical scenarios. In October 2020, surgeons at UC Davis Children’s Hospital in Sacramento, CA, used Magic Leap technology to prepare for the separation of twin babies who were joined at the head.
This rare and intricate surgery was planned by building a 3D reconstruction of the conjoined twins from MRI and CT scans, which were then viewed on the Magic Leap platform using Brainlab’s Mixed Reality Viewer software. The surgical team was then able to walk around the models to view all possible angles before a single incision was made.

SentiAR’s software, for example, connects operating physicians to 3D patient cardiac data in real time helping guide them during the procedure. It also helps patients visualize and understand the procedures they are about to undergo. SyncThink, Inc. is another company working with Magic Leap on clinical trials to explore AR for vestibular disorders like concussions. Heru, Inc., on the other hand, is using AR to innovate diagnostic solutions in optometry. The company’s platform on the Magic Leap 2 headset is designed to replace several legacy diagnostic devices and includes planned applications related to personalized vision correction that would allow clinicians to diagnose and manage patients with increased efficiency.

There are everyday practical applications as well, allowing doctors to view patient notes remotely, or collaborate with colleagues on patient cases in different cities or even countries.

Manufacturing problems can be tackled remotely

Linear motion company PBC Linear is one of the many organizations using AR to capture and leverage machine instructions from seasoned employees and train new machine operators, resulting in an 80% reduction in training time and 20% in annual savings due to less scrap and fewer mistakes — ensuring quality parts get to customers on time. Thanks to an AR package called Manifest, created by Taqtile and running on the Magic Leap platform, PBC Linear frontline workers have instant access to step-by-step guidance from their most experienced technicians and trainers, anytime and anywhere. AR is helping train and upskill the PBC Linear workforce, regardless of geographic location.

Shared digital spaces can shake up enterprise and marketing

Created to work in both physical and virtual shared spaces, the potential uses for augmented reality are limited only by ambition and imagination. Magic Leap is used by enterprise platforms such as Cavrnus, which collaborated with events agency Fix8Group to produce a hybrid model for experiential brand marketing in which in-person attendees, and those joining via AR, were able to communicate, collaborate, and even influence the lighting and music.

Magic Leap is also used by Talespin, an immersive learning platform that uses AR to deliver corporate skills training, and by “data storytelling” company Flow Immersive, which transforms complex information into easily understood AR visualizations that are shareable on social media.

The future of augmented reality?

A March 2021 study by Statista estimated there will be 2.4 billion mobile AR users worldwide by 2023. Ownership of dedicated AR devices such as Magic Leap is expected to reach 30 million units by 2023, an increase of over 380% from 2020. Increased use of AR platforms is one thing, but as the saying goes, you should follow the money for the full story. Spending on “extended reality” technology for just the U.S. construction and manufacturing sectors is projected to hit $35 billion in the next two years.

Unlike virtual reality, AR’s hybrid nature means that it is far more adaptable to real-world applications and that is only going to become more apparent as platforms evolve and developers discover new ways to overlap the virtual and real worlds.

Augmented Reality Tech Maps Chem-Bio Threats

Teledyne FLIR announced it won a $15.7 million contract in December to develop augmented reality software that can pinpoint chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, or CBRN, threats and map them for the military. The contract was awarded by the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology Office.

For reconnaissance and decontamination missions, a remotely operated vehicle would first move through an area where hazardous materials may be present and collect data using sensors, said Jeremy Walker, the director of science and technology for the company’s Pittsburgh location.

That data is then digitally registered and used to create an AR display of the area that highlights dangers, he added.

“As they’re moving through that space, they’re seeing these heat maps of where things were detected and what they are,” Walker said. “Once that data is captured by that tip of the spear reconnaissance mission, then many other subsequent users … can use that data to do their mission better.”

The mapping and AR technology will be integrated into the military’s Tactical Assault Kit suite of tools, which could be a mobile phone or tablet. Mixed reality headsets, like the Integrated Visual Augmentation System, are also an option, Walker said.

“All those people farther back don’t necessarily have to have sensors in their hand to know where the threat is to be able to do their work,” he said. “You’ve got this tool that helps people intuitively interact with it so they can keep their hands free to do other things.”

As it develop the technology, Teledyne FLIR’s Pittsburgh lab will be looking to work with existing and new partners in augmented reality and 3D-mapping spheres to help build the software, he said.