One of the most anticipated and hyped events at Augmented World Expo is the Auggie Awards. This year, there were 280 nominations, which narrowed down to 86 finalists.
There are 15 main Auggie categories that go through public nomination and voting. Voting narrows each category down to five finalists, with the winner from the finalists being selected by a panel of judges. Awards also go to the winner of the startup pitch competition, Best in Show VR, Best in Show AR, and there’s also the Awesome Award. All these four awards are decided at the conference.
Best Art or Film
Sony Electronics Head of Business Development, Thaisa Yamamura, presented the Auggie Award for Best Art or Film. Yamamura also presented the winner with a Sony Spatial Reality Display, a “glasses-free 3D display that will improve their workflow.” Felix & Paul Studios and TIME Studios took home the award for Unite – Space Explorers: The ISS Experience.
The award for Best Campaign was presented by technologist Christopher Lafayette who said that marketing campaigns “amplify the hard work of developers, designers, and visionaries.”
The award went to Immerse Lab and LG Signature for A Virtual Journey to Arles and was accepted by Immerse Lab founder and CEO Eugene Mandelshtam.
“Wow, thank you guys,” said Mandelshtam. “We always say XR is something that can change the world and now, with this technology, we really could show the cultural things from one museum to the whole country.”
Best Collaboration Tool
Next, Hopscotch Interactive CEO, Emily Olman, presented the Auggie for Best Collaboration Tool.
“What makes something a collaboration tool?” asked Olman. “Collaboration is purpose-driven … whether that is to improve the outcome of a medical procedure or to improve your organizational efficiencies…”
The Award went to Hubs Cloud by Mozilla. The award was not accepted in person, but Mozilla Hubs Senior Marketing Manager Amber Osborne tweeted about the award, saying “Speaking for the team here that we are incredibly honored. We are a very small team and the community and industry support for what we have built means the world (or the virtual world!)”
Best Consumer App
The Auggie for Best Consumer App was presented by Walmart Head of 3D Creative Technology, Cynthia Maller.
“Is there anything more vulnerable than designing for everyone?” asked Maller. “When I saw this list of finalists and I thought about these are the people that go and decide to become in someone’s shoes and walk in those shoes to offer them something. … I was really, really impressed with what we’re bringing to people.”
The award went to Measure Your Space by Lowe’s and was accepted by Jessica Kimmet, Product Manager at Streem, the visual assistance company that helped Lowes build the experience.
“This was a really unique collaboration to build an experience that would be useful to everybody and I hope you’ll go check it out at the Lowe’s app,” said Kimmet. “Really proud of all the hard work, developers, customer support, designers – thank you so much.”
Best Creator Tool
Looking Glass Factory CEO and co-founder, Shawn Frayne, presented the award for Best Creator tool. Like Yamamura, Frayne also presented the winner with a 3D display as well as the Auggie.
“I am so honored to be presenting this award for best creator tool,” said Frayne. “The toolmakers that make tools for us are really the people that we bow down to because we wouldn’t be able to do anything without them. So, this is to the toolmakers out there.”
Zappar won this category for the ZapWorks WebAR platform. CTO Connell Gauld accepted the award, offering “huge thanks to the whole team, but also to our fantastic community.”
Zappar was also nominated in the Best Developer Tool category for the ZapWorks SDK, and in the Best Head-Worn Device category for the new-and-improved ZapBox – a mobile phone adapter that includes targets and two hand-tracking controller wands. This is the company’s third Auggie.
Best Developer Tool
The Auggie for Best Developer Tool was presented by Metadome CEO and founder Kanav Singla.
“It is such an honor to be presenting this award,” said Singla. “Looking at the nominations, I am really, really proud.”
This also went to Zappar, this time for the ZapWorks SDKs. Gauld returned to the stage with the Best Creator Tool trophy still in hand. Gauld said that it was “such a privilege to be recognized,” but joked that he had only written one acceptance speech and had already used it.
Best Enterprise Solution
Magic Leap VP Product Marketing and Developer Programs, Lisa Watts, presented the Auggie for Best Enterprise solution to Avataar. Avataar was also a nominee in the category Best Use of AI, for their 3D model generation tools.
“What a privilege,” CEO and founder, Sravanth Aluru, said in accepting the award. “This goes to our team – 300 people working for seven years on value creation.”
Best Game or Toy
Chicken Waffle CEO, Finn Staber, presented the Auggie for Best Game or toy, saying “Games are so important to us. The finalists in this category are just mind-blowing.”
There was stiff competition, but perhaps little surprise when the award went to Tilt Five for Holographic Gaming System. The award was accepted by CBO Hans ten Cate, saying, “This means an incredible amount to us. It’s been a long journey for this technology to take shape.”
Best Head-Worn Device
Alvin Graylin, HTC China President, presented the Auggie for Best Head-Worn Device. The award went to Varjo for their Aero headset – the first by the company to be available to individuals outside of industry. Accepting the award was Americas General Manager Tristan Cotter.
“We are very honored to win this award,” said Cotter. “This one is a special shoutout to the enthusiasts and the consumers out there that have been in our comments channel for all of the YouTube videos coming out over the last year or two saying ‘make one for us.’”
Best Healthcare and Wellness Solution
The Auggie for Best Healthcare and Wellness Solution was presented by XR Association CEO, Elizabeth Hyman, to an XR project “making us more fit, more serene,” or “empowering doctors and nurses.” This year, the award went to Osso VR for their VR Surgical Training Platform.
Best Location-Based Entertainment
XR technologist, speaker, organizer, and producer, Joanna Popper, presented the Auggie for Best Location-Based experience. While adoption of in-home VR has been on the rise, particularly during COVID-19, Popper pointed out that “many people out there will still receive their first best VR experience through location-based entertainment,” said Popper.
The award went to SPREE Interactive for their VR Bumper Cars experience and was accepted by co-founder and managing director Jonathan Stephan Nowak Delgado.
“VR bumper cars sounds like a wild idea, and actually, it is,” said Delgado. “I hope you all can get to try it.”
Best Indie Creator
Niantic VP of Business Development, Jenna Seiden, presented the Auggie for Best Indie Creator. Citing her father’s occupation as an arcade owner, Seiden said that “I will always fight for the indie creator.”
The winner is Audio Tripp, developed by Kinemotic Studios and published by Andromeda Entertainment. The award was accepted by Andromeda Entertainment CFO, John McClellan, and Senior Director of Marketing, Ashley Blake, on behalf of Kinemotic Studios. McClellan and Blake thanked the “community of trippers” for supporting the game.
Best Interaction Product
USA Today Senior Designer of Emerging Tech, Will Austin, presented the Auggie for Best Interaction Product, saying that “the fusion between human and digital is the cornerstone” of XR. Perhaps no use project fits that description better than Open BCI’s Galea headset, which took home the award.
“This is an amazing, amazing product,” CEO and co-founder Conor Russomanno said in accepting the award – wearing the headset on stage. “We’ve worked really hard to bring this to fruition.”
We still don’t know much about the headset yet, which is still unavailable for direct preorder. However, it was recently announced that the sensor-heavy research product is being built on fellow award winner Varjo Aero.
Best Societal Impact
Microsoft Principal Program Manager, Shelley Peterson, presented the award for Best Societal impact, saying that “our finalists have demonstrated that they are building a kinder world.”
The award went to Breonna’s Garden VR experience, by YESUNIVERSE and Big Rock Creative, and was accepted by Popper, who served as the executive producer for the project. Popper had accepted the same award for the original Breonnar’s Garden AR experience.
“This award is for Breonna Taylor and her family,” said Popper, who will be traveling with the project to Taylor’s hometown following the conference. “Thank you so much for honoring us again.”
Also on stage were Athena Demos and Doug Jacobson of Big Rock Creative. The studio helped to create the VR version of Breonna’s Garden, and was also a nominee in the Best Art or Film for bringing Burning Man to VR.
“The experience is amazing,” said Demos. “I knew of the tragedy but I didn’t know of this beautiful life.”
Best Use of AI
Khronos Gro8up President, Neil Trevett, presented the Auggie for Best Use of AI.
“AI is the technology that brings magic to XR and the metaverse,” said Trevett. “All of the finalists this year have a bit of magic in them.”
The award went home with Volograms for Volu, and was accepted by CEO and co-founder Rafael Pagés.
“I would like to thank the whole Volograms team,” said Pagés. “We couldn’t be here without all their effort.”
Startup Pitch Competition
The Startup Pitch Competition works differently from the other Auggies, in that the competition takes place during AWE rather than going through public nomination and voting. This year, there were 16 finalists, with the award being presented by FOV Ventures Founding Partner, Dave Haynes.
“Founders are the heartbeat of this industry,” said Haynes. “We had to pick one winner – we deliberated for quite some time.”
The award went to Croquet, and was accepted by CTO and founder, David Smith.
“This has been a labor of love for decades. If you want to thank anyone, thank Doug Engelbart,” said Smith. “This is the first metaverse operating system and it will blow your minds.”
Best in Show and Awesome Award
The two Best in Show awards are also awarded over the course of AWE, and can go to any demo or expo. The Awesome Award is similarly awarded based on conference participation but can be awarded to anyone or anything.
Best in Show AR
Deutsche Telekom XR and Metaverse senior director Terry Schussler gave the Best in Show Augmented Reality award, commenting that “we’re really seeing a significant amount of maturity in the space,” with a number of products, applications, and organizations “focusing on enhancing the world.”
The Auggie went to Magic Leap, with Watts returning to the stage to accept, saying, “This means a ton to all of us who have been fighting day in and day out to bring Magic Leap back to you all.”
Best in Show VR
Technologist Pearly Chen presented Best of Show VR saying that the goal of VR is “to combine the best of our technology with the best of our humanity” and that “that dream is coming true more and more every day.” The Auggie went to OVR, but was not accepted in person.
Technologist Eve Weston presented the Awesome Award, saying, “there was so much awesome packed into three days I can hardly believe it.” The award went to Marco Tempest for his “Metaverse in My Carry-on Bag” portable green screen demo. Tempest was unable to accept the award in person, but had recorded an acceptance and demo earlier that day.
Keep an Eye on Auggie Awards Winners
The XR landscape is a dynamic place. Some winners have come and gone, but most go on to do even more amazing things – and win even more Auggies.