Magic Leap has finally announced this year’s class of the Independent Creator Program, a grant program that started last year. The annual grant program selects exciting MR, AR, and VR companies to be supported with money, hardware, resources and guidance.
Applications closed late last year. It wasn’t until about two weeks ago that the company announced on Twitter that they had selected winners. Even after that it was only last Wednesday that they announced the winners in a blog post.
So who are this year’s winners and what are they working on? It’s a large and diverse class but we’ll do our best to introduce them to you. Magic Leap awarded companies in twelve categories: Education, Gaming, Productivity, Entertainment, Retail and Commerce, Creator Tools, Collaboration, Architecture and Construction, Data Visualization, Workplace Training, Documentary, and Health and Wellness.
ANIMA RES is an XR company that specializes in interactive medical imaging for use in pharmaceutical, medical, and biotech. They’ve actually won more than just the Independent Creator Program. Recently, they also won a German Design Award. Fortunately, the Independent Creator Program doesn’t require that winners only work or be supported on Magic Leap. ANIMA RES is also working with Google, Apple, and Microsoft so we can expect even bigger things from them soon.
MEDICALHOLODECK is another tool for medical imaging, this time in a VR platform. This cloud-based tool stresses the ability of users to collaborate on 3D images.
Anatomy wasn’t the only science represented. Giant Army, a Seattle-based company, is the maker of Universe Sandbox. This tool invites users to learn about astronomy by creating and destroying their own astronomical bodies. The company also works with Apple, Microsoft, VIVE, and Steam.
Xennial Digital also offers a VR tool to help students learn physics, biology, and chemistry. These otherwise difficult subjects become more approachable with hands-on models.
Kubold is another winner in the education section. While involved in gaming and graphics, the company is also working on an AR tool that will teach users about dinosaurs. Users will be able to build interactive models from pieces.
PRELOADED is another gaming company that won in the education section. Solutions by this company invite users to develop games that will help them deliver messages to their audiences. PRELOADED is also working with VIVE and Google.
Nexus Studios, another winner, is quite different. Nexus is a production studio with offices in Los Angeles and London. The company offers resources of an XR company to filmmakers who want to create dynamic films.
ONTOP Studios is an AR gaming and advertising company. They are also working with Ximmerse, Spark AR, and HoloLens.
Resolution Games is a Stockholm-based XR company that makes, you guessed it, games. If you already know of them, it’s probably because of their adaptations of the popular Angry Birds games. Resolution made Angry Birds: Isle of Pigs and Angry Birds: First Person Slingshot.
Metanaut is a Vancouver-based XR company that makes immersive games. Members believe that their backgrounds in industrial design and engineering lead to more believable immersive experiences. Matanaut also works with Steam, Oculus, and HTC, parent company of VIVE.
Funktronic Labs is a Pasadena-based VR/AR gaming company. None of their games have made it very big so far and Magic Leap is their first big partnership. That’s even more reason to look forward to what they do next.
Another winner, Overlay, cannot be found online. As a result, we don’t know much about them. However, you can probably expect to be hearing from them soon.
Future Sight AR is a mixed reality company that hopes to eliminate paper, monetary, and temporal waste. How? By helping users to visualize their work before they do it. It’s kind of like the “measure twice, cut once” philosophy brought into the twenty-first century.
Taqtile follows a similar philosophy. Solutions offered by this company allow users to teach new skills or collaborate over cloud-based interactive models and systems.
VERSES actually has yet to create a solution focused on XR. The company currently focuses on data and the Internet of Things. It was a matter of time before XR and IoT crossed paths and hopefully VERSES can help take us there.
The plan behind VERSES may be something like what BADVR already does. The VR company invites you to “step inside your data” and “uses virtual reality to craft immersive data experiences”.
Aesthetic Interactive is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based VR company that has previously produced apps related to productivity, entertainment, sports, advertising, and other fields. We don’t know much about the company or what they’re up to now that they’re working with Magic Leap. Whatever it is, it’ll be worth waiting for.
Felix & Paul Studios is an “immersive entertainment company” that has actually been in the news quite a bit lately. Their project “Travelling While Black” is a VR documentary introducing viewers to elements of African American history. They’ve also worked with Universal Studios, Wes Anderson, Cirque Du Soleil, the Obamas, Bill Clinton, and Lebron James.
WITHIN is an XR company that already has an expansive category of immersive films. They’ve also already partnered with Apple, Google, Facebook, Sony, Valve, Samsung, Nvidia, HTC, Oculus, Unity, and a number of news agencies and broadcasting networks.
Retail and Commerce
Obsess is an XR company dedicated to improving e-commerce through immersive advertising and retail. The company already works with some big names in retail but Magic Leap is its first big tech partner.
roOomy, an XR company with offices in Los Angeles, the Netherlands, and China, helps users master interior design. With 3D models of furniture and immersive mapping of available homes, the company brings users into their future homes.
Alientrap is a Toronto-based VR gaming company. They don’t have any big hits yet and Magic Leap seems to be their first industry partner. That’s still a pretty good place to start and we’ll be sure to keep an eye on Alientrap.
MINSAR is an XR company for 3D modelling. Beyond that, it’s all up to the user. The software can be used for design, augmented and VR tour experiences, or just about anything else.
immersive is a Paris-based AR company with wide-ranging solutions. From 3D modelling to augmented sports viewing. The company is already working with Microsoft as well as Magic Leap.
Spatial Systems, Inc. is an AR company with offices in New York and San Francisco. Solutions offered by the company allow team members to meet at a distance with AR. Users upload a picture to make a life-like avatar which shares a space with other avatars and real people. Users can also share their phone or computer screens as AR models.
Architecture and Construction
VIM AEC offers solutions for immersive workflows to help to cut time and costs in building design. The company also partnered with Unity.
Immersion Analytics is an XR company that can display data in multiple dimensions. The 2D chart can only easily show two variables but a 3D chart can show many more. This makes it easy to display more data to more people in an easier-to-understand way.
EDGE LAB is an Italy-based XR company providing individualized solutions to industry. While they don’t seem to specialize in workplace training, they do offer tools that users need to create that service for themselves. The company is also partners with Oculus.
Atlas V is an XR company that helps documentary filmmakers to make immersive films with the help of artificial intelligence. They don’t have any other major tech partner right now but their films have been shown at Sundance and the Venice International Film Festival.
Health and Wellness
Magic Lines is an MR company that displays colored lines on the floor. For most people, that’s not a big deal. For people with dementia, it changes how they see the world and how their brains process and store geospatial information.
Those are all of the big winners but Magic Leap gave hardware to an additional 200 companies. There are also some other big winners that “have chosen to stay in stealth mode”, according to Magic Leap. Magic Leap has also promised to announce those projects in the future and we’ll be watching for when they do.