Augmented Reality Expo Dazzles 6,000 Attendees with New Devices

Announcements included innovations in enterprise, entertainment, cinema, smart wearables, sensing suits, vision and audio enhancement, mixed reality sports and 3-D smartphone technology.


From new gesture controls to high-definition haptic wear (AR for the blind), augmented reality “ears,” mixed reality sports and 3D smartphones, a lot of industry news was made at the Augmented World Expo USA 2018 conference in Santa Clara, Calif. 
The event attracted nearly 6,000 attendees, 400 journalists and 250 exhibitors and featured more than 400 speakers in a 100,000-square-feet expo. AWE claimed it showcased the highest number of cutting-edge AR and VR solutions ever gathered in a single location. 
Announcements included innovations in enterprise, entertainment, cinema, smart wearables, sensing suits, vision and audio enhancement, mixed reality sports and 3-D smartphone technology. 

Defining Haptic Communication Technology

Haptic or kinesthetic communication recreates the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations or motions to the user. This mechanical stimulation can be used to assist in the creation of virtual objects in a computer simulation, to control such virtual objects, and to enhance the remote control of machines and devices (telerobotics). Haptic devices may incorporate tactile sensors that measure forces exerted by the user on the interface., the non-profit organization behind AWE, kicked off an initiative to promote collaboration on an Open AR Cloud.

“The AR Cloud will be the single most important software infrastructure in computing, far more valuable than Facebook’s social graph or Google’s pagerank index,” AWE Founder and CEO Ori Inbar said in a media advisory. “However, there is a growing concern in the industry that this critical infrastructure could be controlled by corporations and also be fragmented across too many instances.

“For this reason we are kicking off an historical endeavor to ask the XR industry to come together to collaborate on an Open AR Cloud that will act as a standardized, interoperable and accessible foundation for all developers and creators to build upon.” 

Those interested in staying informed about this initiative can sign up at
AWE also announced the official dates for AWE Europe 2018 on Oct. 18-19 in Munich, Germany and AWE Tel Aviv 2018 on Nov. 5. Also announced was the latest schedule of AWE Nite meetups which take place monthly in San Francisco, New York, Toronto and Chicago. Details for AWE Asia will be announced shortly.

New-product highlights of the event:

  • Kopin unveiled the world’s first gesture and voice-controlled wearable smart screen, weighing 1.5 ounces and surpassing any other market product in modularity, battery and cost. 
  • RealWear revealed the first commercially available ‘ruggedized’ AR head-mounted wearable certified for ATEX Zone 1 and C1/D1 Potentially Explosive Environments.
  • eSight, known for its high-resolution and high-camera contrast technologies, introduced a breakthrough augmented reality headset platform designed to provide enhanced vision in precision environments. 
  • Wikitude revealed SDK 8, the 8th version of its award-winning augmented reality SDK, now featuring Scene Recognition, Extended Object Tracking and Instant Targets. 
  • Vyking introduced what it bills as the ‘first mobile AR marketing platform,” a lightweight SDK that delivers 3D creative deployment and analytics.  
  • Vuzix revealed their partnership with Qualcomm on the new Snapdragon XR1 platform to develop next generation smart glasses, as well as a new partnership with Plessey Semiconductor. 
  • Kaayatech showcased its groundbreaking HoloSuit motion-capture suit, allowing users to fully immerse themselves.  
  • Ultrahaptics launched STRATOS Explore, a new SDK for creating 3D haptic sensations in mid-air. 
  • NuHeara demonstrated its new augmented hearing solutions, which amplify digital audio while subduing inessential ambient noises, all while keeping the wearer aware of their surroundings.  
  • Zappar announced ZapBox 2.0, a Mixed Reality kit allowing developers and businesses to reimagine how they design, build and create room-scale interactive 3D experiences.  
  • ScopeAR debuted a new AR platform to deliver both real-time remote assistance and AR smart instructions.
  • vSports launched and demonstrated for the first time vGolf, the first Mixed Reality golf simulation and training system. 
  • Resonai, in collaboration with The Tech Museum of Innovation, presented The Animaker, an immersive exhibit that invites visitors to collaborate with AI-powered robots. 
  • Varjo revealed the world’s first cinematic-quality (40X resolution) Mixed Reality technology to seamlessly merge real and virtual worlds in cinematic fidelity. 
  • Mantis Vision demonstrated its 3D sensing solutions based on structured light and a smart decoding algorithm for front 3D facial cameras.

Auggie Award Winners

On the evening of May 31, AWE announced the winners of its ninth annual Auggie Awards. The AWE Auggie Award is the most recognized industry AR and VR accolade, recognizing excellence in augmented, virtual and mixed reality innovation and leadership since 2010.

The winners in the 10 official Auggie Award categories, plus two Nextant awards presented by the Virtual World Society, were presented on stage to a packed audience at the conference, which ended June 1. Winners of the 2018 AWE Auggie Awards were:

Best Consumer App, sponsored  IKEA Place by IKEA
Best Art or Film, sponsored by IEEE-SA:  “Karim & Noor” by Blink Studios
Best Creator & Authoring Tool, sponsored by Microsoft:  Gravity Sketch
Best Campaign sponsored by PTC Vuforia:  Acura AR Race by Current Studios
Best Developer Tool, sponsored by DAQRI:  Unity
Best Enterprise Solution, sponsored by Kopin:  Holoroom Test Drive by Lowe’s Innovation Labs
Best Game & Toy, sponsored by  Star Wars: Jedi Challenge by Lenovo
Best Headworn Device, sponsored by Qualcomm:  Vive Pro by HTC
Best Input or Output Hardware, sponsored by Bosch:  Holo-Stylus by Holo-Light
Best Interaction Software Tool, sponsored by HTC:  ManoMotion

For more the full list of winners and finalists, including submission videos, go here.

In addition to the 10 Auggie Awards, the Virtual World Society presented its Nextant Award to two XR pioneers: Nonny de la Peña, an American journalist, award-winning documentary filmmaker, and Founder of Emblematic Group and Mark Bolas, a researcher, MR pioneer and Professor of Interactive Media in the USC Interactive Media Division.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...