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XR Technology at AWE and the Auggies: Exclusive Content From Ori Inbar

The founder of the anticipated XR technology showcase gives us an interview you won’t find anywhere else.


The Augmented World Expo is nearly upon us. As the XR technology showcase gets closer, the news gets more exciting.

While I was looking for background on the Auggies, AWE’s XR technology awards, AWE founder Ori Inbar shared some anecdotes from the early days of AWE. He also shared insider information and exclusive updates breaking early on ARPost. We’ll end with a sneak-peak at the Auggies finalists – published here first.

A History of the Auggies According to Ori Inbar

The Auggie Awards started in 2010. Their history gives us an interesting look at the evolution of AWE as well as of XR technology and markets over the last ten years.

The Long Road

We’ve given out around 150 Auggies, so you can see that the kind of people that won in 2010 and 2020 are very different,” Inbar said in a phone interview. “As the industry has changed, some past winners haven’t made it.” 

(Unfortunately, right now we can only see the Auggie winners from the last four years.)

Of course, the Auggies were also very different back then. This year, the Auggies have gone online along with the rest of AWE.

This year, as in recent past years, everyone had the opportunity to nominate XR technology projects, companies, and figures. Then, there’s a voting period that weeds out all but five nominees in each category and then judges take over to pick the best in each category. The judges also serve as the AWE Advisory Panel.

In the past, we were kind of scrambling to get judges but this year we picked forty to fifty people that we know are big in the space and that are interested in being involved,” said Inbar. “We know that we like them and we know that they like us.”

This new platform doesn’t only make it easier for AWE to source judges. It also involves the organizations up for awards, and involves the general public – even those without AWE tickets.

Anyone can nominate for the Auggie Awards and we get hundreds of nominations,” said Inbar. “Typically, what we see is that nominees reach out to the public asking them to vote.”

However, it wasn’t always this way.

Auggies: The Early Years

The Auggies started as a live demo jam. Ten-sixteen companies on stage doing live demos and the audience would pick the winner over live voter software,” said Inbar. “I have some longing for the first couple of years where we had this crazy excitement on stage.”

However, the new situation has a couple of advantages. For one, it allows the public to be involved, even when they aren’t able to be at AWE. That lent itself particularly well to this year’s online event.

It also encourages the XR technology companies to participate and allows them to better demonstrate their experiences.

Finally, it draws out the whole process hyping the rest of AWE.

The Auggies and AWE Changes This Year

AWE is, of course, an XR technology event bigger than just the Auggies. These other events also play into the Auggies themselves. There are a number of Auggies that can’t be voted on by the public but are selected by the judges based on individual and organizational participation in AWE.

There’s a lot happening at the event itself, especially when it was happening in person, and the awards gave us the opportunity to recognize people who were really stand-out during the show itself,” said Inbar.

So, how will these awards be given this year? Inbar and the advisory panel aren’t sure yet. The platform that AWE is using for this year’s online AWE was built to provide the best possible proxies for the social elements that we’ll miss the most from AWE in person.

We were trying to capture the major reason people go to AWE,” including talks, interactions with presenters, networking, special events in Altspace and Engage VR, and even replicating the expo floor, said Inbar. Being an XR technology event, it wouldn’t be complete without XR experiences.

Friendly reminder that Altspace has a desktop mode, so if you left your XR technology at the office, you can still participate.

The AWE platform may give the advisory panel metrics that will allow them to select stand-outs despite the lack of in-person interaction. It also gives attendees more powerful networking and viewing tools.

This brings us to two features of digital AWE that Inbar said haven’t been shared with media outlets until now.

The first is that attendees will have access to the platform all year to continue networking after the event. The second is that major floor talks will be recorded and made available on other AWE social media channels for people who didn’t get a ticket for the event.

The Auggies Finalists

If you’re a regular reader of ARPost, you know that we’ve been excited for the Auggies for a while now. Our excitement spoke to the AWE execs such that they decided to share the finalists with ARPost two days before anyone else. So, when your favorite XR technology project turns up on the finalists list, remember that you read it here first.

The Finalists for Best Art or Film Are:

Grease AR – 2020’s XR technology ode to everyone’s favorite ‘70s musical that took place in the ‘50s.

Undersea – the MagicLeap experience that turns your living room into an underwater world.

The Key – a VR journey about a woman trying to unlock her past.

Unbody – an MR experience exploring sleep and consciousness.

Ghosted – a fanciful dating experience that pairs you with ghosts through the magic of XR technology.

The Finalists for Best Campaign Are:

Portal – an immersive clothing shopping experience that works with Nreal’s anticipated XR technology to “turn your room into a boutique.”

Pink Floyd: The Later Years AR Experience – launched in December to pump up fans on a comprehensive collection of music from the legendary British rock band.

HooplAR+ – a mobile-based AR experience that turns your room into a jungle and sends you on a photo safari.

Volkswagen’s Virtual Motor Show – a virtual experience that puts users on a show flow showcasing 3D renderings, as well as textual information on models.

Jumanji: The Next Level Web AR Experience – an interactive promotion for the film sequel.

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The Finalists for Best Consumer App Are:

Five Nights At Fredy’s AR Special Delivery – the augmented reality version of the viral jump-scare game.

roOomy-Powered Enterprise Solutions – XR technology-based homebuying experience with Sotheby’s.

SBB AR – one of many platforms looking to be the future of consumer XR technology.

Red Bull Rampage – an AR mobile experience that brings extreme sports to a flat surface near you.

Sherpa Tours – an AR experience that lets you take walking tours of real locations with virtual guides.

The Finalists for Best Creator & Authoring Tool Are:

PrintCAST by KP9 Interactive – a tool for creating AR targets that users will want to keep in the physical world.

PlugXR – one of the platforms looking to put the ability to make XR apps into the hands of just about everyone.

ImagineAR’s Client Studio – a platform for making diverse branded experiences.

ZapWorks Studio – Zappar’s complete AR toolkit allowing you to build and publish experiences via both native apps and the web browser.

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Grib3D – a tool that allows users to create 3D models from 2D drawings.

The Finalists for Best Developer Tool Are:

8th Wall Cloud Editor – one of the dominant platforms for creating WebAR experiences.

Unity – a cross-platform AR tool that probably needs no more introduction.

ISAR, Interactive Streaming for Augmented Reality – a Holo-Light tool for exploring complex 3D models.

The Immersal SDK – a toolbox for mapping and localization for XR experiences.

SmartVU – a platform for creating and sharing 3D models of products. – a tool that allows users to collaboratively map 3D spaces in almost real time.

The Finalists for Best Enterprise Solution Are:

Holo4Labs – a hololens application that uses XR technology to allow users to take notes, consult resources, and communicate hands-free.

.rooms – a tool that makes it easy for users to design residential spaces with the touch of a finger.

Exozet – a company providing remote VR training for groups like Siemens.

TeamViewer Pilot – a solution that makes it easy for tech support teams to troubleshoot problems in AR to reduce downtime for machines.

Bublar Group – makers of a tool, VR Fire Trainer, that uses VR to safely and effectively train firefighters.

Spatial – an advanced platform for remote collaboration.

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The Finalists for Best Game or Toy Are:

Kluest – a mobile AR game that makes players the heroes in their own stories.

Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – the much lauded VR addition to the popular graphic novel and television sensation.

ARcade Sports – a multiplayer online game that moves so fast it needs 5G.

Cartoon Network Journeys – a three-layer narrative and visionary experience in VR.

Pancake Pals from MagicLeap – an XR technology version of tennis-meets-hot-potato-meets-hackey-sack.

Otherworld Heroes (also by Bublar) – calls itself the world’s largest location-based MMO RPG.

The Finalists for Best Headworn Device Are:

Nreal – the lightest XR headset – with a hard connection to an external computer.

ThirdEye’s X2 – the lightest XR headset with an onboard computer.

LetinAR – smart glasses that use the biology of the eyes to change how we talk about displays.

VisionAR – smart glasses that are also safety glasses.

The Finalists for Best Healthcare and Wellness Solution Are:

MediView – a “surgical navigation” technology that lets surgeons see what they’re going to see before they make the first cut.

GSK’s Us in Lupus – AR experience encouraging outreach and visibility for people with Lupus.

n*gram health – a tool for offering VR therapies to homebound seniors.

Proprio Vision – a surgical navigation platform that guides users through every step of the procedure.

Proximie – a sort of remote collaboration platform for medical care experts.

The Finalists for Best in Location-Based Entertainment Are:

Spatial Message – a platform that uses XR technology to embed text onto real-world location.

The Holoride Bride of Frankenstein – experience that takes users on the ride of their lives.

TimeTraveler Paris – an experience that allowed users to see Paris landmarks as they appeared throughout history.

The Augmented City – imagine a kind of point-cloud Google Earth.

We Bare Bears Food Truck Rush – a Cartoon Network game that turns children into their favorite animated bears.

HoloCafé– the most comfortable way to introduce new users to XR technology.

The Finalists for Best Indie Creators Are:

Future Goals – interactive piece by Rosie Summers, created for the “Football is Art” exhibit.

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Figmin – a platform for creating, editing, and sharing holograms by the group “Figmin XR”.

Greg Madison, for Tangible UI – an exploration of hand tracking on flat surfaces.

Rob Shields, for Neon Wasteland – a sci-fi graphic novel that leaps from the pages.

The Finalists for Best Input & Output Hardware Are:

Stylus XR – the HoloLight tool for marking up 3D models.

Looking Glass – immersive 8K holographic displays.

The Lion King Virtual Production – the Magnopus system that gave us the remake of the decade.

The etee controller – a controller that brought us from talking about hand tracking to talking about finger tracking.

CleverPoint – an XR solution that lets us imagine what’s going inside our heads as well as outside.

The Finalists for Best Interaction Software Tool Are:

The Lion King Virtual Production – system by Magnopus that put filmmakers into their own CGI world.

ControlRoom Mobile – a tool that turns your mobile phone into a 3DoF controller for your digital workstation.

The Finalists for Best Social Impact Are:

Alcove – a project that uses XR technology to cure social isolation for senior citizens.

EVRY – for an AR game project for safely teaching children traffic rules in augmented reality.

NIST’s work on using data augmented visualization to understand how wildfires work from the inside.

Sound Shirt – a wearable that allows deaf people to feel sound.

Seek Education – a platform that “brings learning to life through augmented reality.”

The Finalists for Best Use of AI are:

Apostera – an MR navigation guide.

Proximie – bringing computer learning and human expertise together in medicine.

Resonai’s Vera – platform for transforming physical spaces into virtual environments.

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Eve – a virtual assistant that helps users adapt to high tech hardware.

IBM Watson Experience Center – physical space where people can come together for a first-hand understanding of AI.

We’ll Keep You Posted

No one knows who the winners are until AWE drops later this month. But check right back here and you’ll know shortly after we do.

Jon Jaehnig
the authorJon Jaehnig
Jon Jaehnig is a freelance journalist with special interest in emerging technologies. Jon has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you have a story suggestion for Jon, you may contact him here.