Mixed Reality Frontiers: On AR-Walking Tours and Holographics vs. Sunlight

In 2020, 13 startups enrolled on our Mixed Reality Program. The aim? To co-create the next big thing in digital interaction, entertainment and content, and bring mixed reality to the mass market. But who are the startups enrolled on the programme?

tagspace is one of them! We chatted to tagspace’s CEO Paul Martin about creating an AR walking tour for cities; how Australian sunlight can cause problems for holographic displays and enjoying challenges.

What product or service are you working on with the MR program?

We have been working on tagSpace Walking Tours for Cities. This is an update to our existing product that allows companies to create and integrate their own location-based Augmented Reality quickly and easily. Currently end-users enjoy our walking tours and scavenger hunts using their smartphones but by the end of the MR program, we will be the first to offer this experience for the Nreal MR glasses.

Sounds very impressive! And what have you found helpful about the program?

Early access to the latest Nreal SDK and development kits has been a big help for development. The program will allow tagSpace to be amongst the first in the world to showcase new experiences for consumer MR smartglasses. This is a big win for our market positioning and competitive advantage.

Yes, absolutely. Perhaps we can dig a bit deeper in terms of what was helpful about the program — did you find the mentoring aspect useful?

Our mentors have been terrific at helping us get what we need in order to reach our goal of getting the Nreal smartglasses to work with our existing technology. For example, our technology is 100% proprietary and we don’t use Unity 3D so we needed early access to a native SDK in order for us to develop for Nreal. They also helped us with introductions to “the right people” at Qualcomm in order for us to build a relationship with their partnerships and XR teams. Beyond that, they have also been terrific at helping us identify other commercial use-cases and access to new partnerships with other companies.

For guidance on user-interface and user-experience for holographic displays, I have to give the team at Unity a big “shout out” and say thank you since they have been amazingly helpful.

People power certainly tends to be! Finally, how have you found designing a product for the Nreal glasses?

It has been challenging since we have been working on integrating Nreal into our custom Mixed Reality engine – we don’t use Unity so this means we have had to do a lot of experimenting and development on our own to make it all work with our custom solution. That said, our development team are all former videogames developers and experts in computer graphics, so we are used to the tough problems and really enjoy them! Our other challenges have been to do with the fact that our product is targeted mostly for outdoor use, which has meant solving some interesting problems when working with a holographic display such as Nreal, especially in the bright Australian daylight!

Fancy taking part in our next XR program? Don’t delay, apply for our XR developer program now.