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Is Spatial Computing the Next Big Thing? Apple’s Vision Pro Have the Answer

Is Spatial Computing the Next Big Thing? Apple’s Vision Pro Have the Answer

Spatial Computing existed long before Apple released Vision Pro this 2024. However, the brand-new headset designed by the Cupertino visionaries has put the term in the spotlight again. But, what exactly is Spatial Computing?

 

What is Spatial Computing

Spatial Computing refers to a digital environment where virtual and physical worlds seamlessly blend together, enabling users to interact with digital content in the context of their physical surroundings. It involves technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) to overlay digital information onto the real world or create entirely immersive virtual environments.

In other words, Spatial Computing is like adding a layer of digital magic to the real world. Imagine wearing special glasses that can project virtual objects onto your surroundings or create entire new worlds that you can explore as if you’re really there. It’s a way of merging the digital world with the physical world around us, allowing us to interact with technology in more immersive and natural ways.

The uses for Spatial Computing are endless, although the technology and the devices have been available yet for a short time among us. Here is a combination of existing and future uses of Spatial Computing across different industries:

  • Retail. Interactive shopping experiences to visualize items before purchase, for example virtual clothing.
  • Education. Training simulation on multiple sectors to practice tasks at a more realistic (but virtual) environment, for example a surgery simulation.
  • Design. Visualize creations on 3D spaces to explore and modify effectively before production. For example, a great tool for architects and their designs.
  • Health. Probably one of the verticals embracing Spatial Computing more closely. Medical training, patient education, anatomy visualization…and many other cases.
  • Gaming. Together with Health, another niche going at the vanguard of Spatial Computing. Interaction between players and characters or objects jumps from fantasy to reality.
  • Industry. Installation guidance, maintenance and more situations in which Spatial Computing provides an improved and efficient experience for technicians.

 

Apple Vision Pro: Tipping Point for Spatial Computing?

Just like PC’s and Mac’s made personal computing available world-wide or iPhone’s started the smartphone era, is Apple’s Vision Pro the game-changer for Spatial Computing?

There are several reasons to think so and maybe just one that suggests the opposite, its price. The cost of Vision Pro is $3.499, three and half times more than the iPhone 15 Pro… a high entry barrier for the average user. However, motives for claiming that Vision Pro marks a new era on Spatial Computing are also strong:

  • Real Experience. Even Mark Zuckerberg has recognized that “Apple’s eye tracking is really nice”, said in a recent video after trying Vision Pro and comparing them to Meta’s Quest 3. A more precise mixed reality experience, an intuitive user interface that simplifies interaction with virtual content in physical space, would definitely make spatial computing more accessible to a wider audience.

  • Software Ecosystem. Tools, development kits, apps… the more software available for Vision Pro the bigger attraction from the audience.
  • Momentum. World’s most famous accelerator YCombinator has published its latest request for startups, a call for entrepreneurs and companies operating in different categories to apply for the incubator if they match the selection. Guess what, Spatial Computing is on that list. This suggests a consolidated interest from accelerators and investors on the topic.

 

GoHub Ventures’ Spatial Computing Portfolio: Onirix and Union Avatars

As a VC claiming to be ‘the believers behind the believers’, Spatial Computing is already present at GoHub Ventures’ portfolio. Onirix and Union Avatars are two of the startups backed by our fund that are exploring Spatial Computing solutions. Here is what their founders think of Vision Pro:

Is Vision Pro a game changer just like the iPhone was?

Pedro Javier Sáez (CEO at Onirix): “Yes, absolutely. None of the iPhone, iPad, Mac, AirPods or Apple Watch were first when they launched because computers, phones, earphones…already existed. However, they all introduced a new reality for consumers and it will happen the same with Vision Pro. Apple made over $600 million selling Vision Pro in a weekend, there’s still a long road ahead…but we’re on track for a massive adoption of a device that will replace smartphones. Necessity has been created.”

Cai Felip and Jordi Conejero (Founders of Union Avatars): “We believe Vision Pro will have a market impact on levels only seen with iPod or iPhone. There’s massive media coverage and hundreds of thousands of searches proving public interest in this new thing and the potential it has. It will change the way we interact with digital content and will integrate technology even more on many daily aspects of life.”

What’s the connection between Vision Pro and your startup or the industry you’re in? How could transform it? Do you work on any current solution involving Vision Pro?

Pedro Javier Sáez (CEO at Onirix): “We consider Vision Pro a tipping point and we’ve been waiting for it. The competition they generate with Meta Quest, Samsung… marks a new era for this technology from a ‘nice to have’ into a ‘must to have’. The glasses represent a new user experience mixing real world with digital information. A huge amount of websites will move from 2D to 3D which represents an enormous opportunity for companies like Onirix to help create experiences that work on different devices and put your company ahead of the competition in areas like user engagement.”

Víctor Javier Pérez (Revenue Manager at Onirix): “Each context requires a different level of immersion. Today’s headsets fight to replace tablets, computers or game consoles…but future glasses models may be a substitute for the smartphone. Starting to build Augmented or Mixed Reality experiences on multi devices helps bending the learning curve.”

Have a look at Onirix on Meta Quest 3, soon to be at Vision Pro as well. The company is an official partner of Meta and has secured early access to their devices as part of a mutual collaboration program.

Cai Felip and Jordi Conejero (Founders of Union Avatars): “Everything that helps make immersive experiences more realistic both in professional and personal environments goes in our favor, especially for entertainment use cases. We’re currently exploring how to integrate ourselves within Apple’s Spatial Computing ecosystem in order to expand our avatar creation technology.”

 

Startups Leading the Spatial Computing Transformation

Giants like Meta, Apple, Google, Samsung or Epson are some of the companies leading the Spatial Computing transformation. However, we want to highlight lesser-known disrupting at Spatial Computing, just like ours Onirix and Union Avatars:

  • Varjo. Extended Reality hardware for training, simulation and design.
  • Ultraleap. Hand tracking technology for a more natural interaction with virtual environments without the need for controllers.
  • 6D.ai. Spatial Computing platform for developers to create and share AR experiences.
  • Taqtile. Enterprise AR solutions that overlay digital instructions onto physical objects.
  • Tobii Pro. Eye tracking technology for research and analysis.Vuzix: Smart Glasses and AR Eyewear for enterprise and consumer markets.
  • Eonite. Software for 3D mapping and tracking.
  • Miraisens. 3D Haptics Technology that offers a real sensation of touch and texture by generating illusions.
  • Nreal. Lightweight, consumer-friendly AR glasses that offer high-quality visuals and immersive experiences.
  • Matterport. 3D scanning and spatial data solutions for creating immersive virtual tours and digital twins of physical spaces.
Sara Sanjuan, Head of Marketing & Communicarions at GoHub Ventures
Feb 22 · 2024 Sara Sanjuan Head of Marketing & Comms