The Consumer Electronics Show launched Tuesday in Las Vegas. The annual event is an opportunity for technology companies to announce new products. The mixed reality glasses developer Nreal took advantage of that by announcing its new tool, Nebula.
Before we get around to Nebula, let’s talk about some of the other big announcements by the MR company.
New International Partnerships
One of the big announcements that Nreal made had to do with their expanding global partnerships. These partnerships make Nreal more available but also expand the number of apps that the glasses can support.
The Chinese MR company started its expansion in November when it announced that it would be joining forces with the Korean telecommunications company LG Uplus.
At CES, they announced partnerships with KDDI, China Mobile, and China Unicom. For Nreal, working with these companies gives them access to advanced support, like 5G internet infrastructure. For the telecommunications groups, partnering with an MR company like Nreal gives them more services to offer their customers – as well as an edge over the competition.
The company is also working with Japanese AR firm MESON to create an MR shopping experience. While this may not have a huge, immediate impact on international Nreal users, it’s a proof of concept that may one day be extended to brands more familiar to users in other parts of the world.
Perhaps their most exciting announcement – particularly for readers not living in Eastern Asia – is their partnership with Black Shark. The mobile phone company prides itself on its game-focused hardware. The partnership will likely open up new avenues for Nreal’s more entertaining applications.
Now, on to Nebula, the big news of the day.
The Nebula 3D MR System
Nebula is all about Nreal’s new content persistence capabilities. They aren’t the first XR company to support content persistence but it’s still a pretty rare ability.
“Content persistence” is kind of like the digital version of object permanence. When you aren’t looking at a person or object, it still exists. However, for most XR applications, when you turn off the application, whatever you were looking at is no longer anchored to the physical world. With content persistence, it is.
For an AR company like Sturfee, content persistence allows for the creation of social digital artefacts that can be seen by multiple users at the same time or otherwise. However, the ability for individual users to take advantage of this tool is fairly unique. Imagine placing a digital image in the real world and coming back to find it in the same place like you would place a physical object in the real world. Imagine placing a digital object in the physical world and your Nreal-using friends and family being able to see it there.
One application of Nreal’s new content persistence capabilities is “the infinite workspace”, as the company calls it. This application involves anchoring apps to physical locations in the world.
Imagine having a word-processing app anchored to your desk, or a calendar app anchored to a spot on the wall. The application takes a multi-app user experience like a computer or smartphone and turns it into a mixed-reality fueled spatial arrangement.
Right now, these digital objects are manipulated using basic head movements, or using a mobile phone as a controller. As mentioned above, new partnerships will soon make eye-tracking available.
Looking Forward to Release
If Nreal’s announcements aren’t exciting to you, keep this in mind: the glasses haven’t officially launched yet. While SDKs have been out for a while now, the glasses haven’t actually hit the shelves yet. That means that all of the announcements from CES will be available to all users when the glasses hit the shelves in a couple of months.