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The concept still excites and attracts developers, investors, conference creators, and attendees, and the press. AR will be as important and integrated into our lives as AI will be, and like AI, we’ll wonder how we ever got along without AR. And, obviously, AI will enhance AR, while AR will help improve the AI, a perfect symbiotic relationship that will make our lives better, safer, and more efficient. The real irony is that like AI, AR will become such a part of our lives that we won’t even think about it. It’s just there and the idea of a conference for AR wouldn’t make sense. What kind of AR? Heads up displays? Industrial AR? Mobile phone travel AR applications? In fact, segmentation is well on its way, which is a major phase in a technology’s acceptance. Leap Motion

Leap Motion is a company that was founded to deliver human–computer interfaces.

The company believes the fundamental limit in technology is not size, cost, or speed; it’s how we interact with it. “These interactions,” says David Holz, co-founder and CTO at Leap Motion, “define what we create, how we learn, how we communicate with each other. It would be no stretch of the imagination to say that the way we interact with the world around us is perhaps the very fabric of the human experience.”

The Ghost HMD mounts a smartphone in the front like the Samsung Gear (and its many imitators), but unlike the Gear, the phone is above the viewer’s eyes, and its image is reflected down to a semi-transparent reflective screen. The magnetically attached front screen/visor can be replaced with an opaque screen, reflective on the inside to make the device an immersive VR HMD. This is a similar approach as Phase Space’s Smoke VR/AR HMD (see: AR glasses for normal people).

The company says building apps for Ghost is easy. Since it is powered by a smartphone the company and developers can leverage some of the best libraries out there such as ARKit/SceneKit, ARCore, and Google VR. When Black Rainbow starts shipping they will provide sample codes to get started with iOS, Android, Unity, and WebXR.

Available in two colors, Ghost white, and Onyx black, the SRP is $99, and now $79 as an Indego special. They don’t have accurate weight data yet as they only have 3D printed prototypes at this point. Black Rainbow will be showing our prototype at the Augmented World Expo at the end of the month. Shadow Creator

Shadow Creator is a smart glasses developer out of Jinqiao, Shanghai that was founded in 2014 and has so far received nearly 100 million yuan (~$16 million) of financing. They introduced the Halo Mini AR headset last year, which had a limited 40-degree FOV. It was an early prototype and got criticized because the view from the tracking camera and the real-world view didn’t line up well. The tracking camera is located above the wearer’s eyes and thus has a slightly different view of the world. Targeted at gaming, the Halo Mini didn’t have multiple infrared sensors, which Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google’s Project Tango use to gain a sense of depth. The company claimed one could see a 140-inch screen 5 meters away through the 2-mm lenses.

OCOsense is a wearable platform for measuring facial muscle activity and emotional responses through glasses and VR & AR headsets. Using a range of multi-modal, patent-pending sensor technologies, proprietary algorithms and live data streaming the company says it has enabled the collection and interpretation of human emotional response in realtime in the real world.

Using a range of facial sensing techniques including electrical muscle activity, eye movement detection, heart rate and heart rate variability, stress response and head position to identify and recognize what your face is doing 1000 times per second. The device’s AI engine tracks and translates that information back into your physical expression and emotional state in near realtime.

AR, like VR, is subdivided into consumer and professional/commercial. However, AR has many more implementations including HUDs, first-responder and hard-hat helmets, the famous F35 fighter jet helmet, and someday maybe contact lenses. Virtually everyone is a potential user of AR glasses. Now, let’s assume that if someone doesn’t have access to a mobile phone, they’re not likely to be an AR user (ignoring the inconvenient fact that there are plenty of other ways to encounter AR including digital signage, computers, standalone devices, fighter jet pilot helmets…). The UN estimates that 6 billion people have access to a mobile phone. Various analysts estimate just under 50% of the world’s population uses smart phones, which again, seems a reasonable stat to further segment potential users. So let’s put the Potential Available Market of AR users at 3 billion. With an ASP of $100 for the glasses in the near-ish future that’s a hardware market of $300 billion, plus the commercial market (probably at least another $1 billion) and the software application and toolset segments. It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a over-a-half-billion-dollar PAM by 2020. It’s not even totally crazy since populations keep growing, and we can hope conditions improve for people around the world, allowing them to think about technology that makes their lives easier, safer, or more fun.

The perfect consumer AR glasses haven’t been built yet, but there are some very promising early examples. The quantity and complexity of problems (challenges) to build AR spectacles that would be no more embarrassing or uncomfortable to wear than a pair of sunglasses is huge, but doable. They will be an accessory to your smartphone, and as such you can guess who will be the ultimate winners in the market.