Spatial Computing: Bigger Than Magic Leap

I blame this all on Magic Leap’s founder, Rony Abovitz.

He calls what his company is building “spatial computing,” and since the one with the most advanced technology gets to name what they are doing, I think this one will stick where others, like “mixed reality” or “immersive computing” have gotten muddied by marketing teams. They, Magic Leap, even further defined the term. Yes, Magic Leap is the most advanced at the moment.

Magic Leap is building a pair of glasses that put computing on not only every surface around you, but in the air, too. It isn’t alone, I have talked to people building the same at Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and other places.

Spatial is the umbrella term for virtual reality and augmented reality mixed together.

Or, as Victor Agulhon wrote: “it’s the use of space around us as a medium to interact with technology. It’s the purest form of “blending technology into the world”.”

It goes a lot further that just Magic Leap, though, and I am seeing work to hook IoT devices, cryptocurrencies, new identity systems, new cloud infrastructure, and more into spatial computing.

My own journey into spatial computing all started with a database.

My former boss Jim Fawcette taught me the power of making an industry database back in the early 1990s when he started Visual Basic Programmer’s Journal (I was a lowly associate editor there, fresh out of college). He had me, and a few others, make a database of the industry, which was an awesome way for me to learn. That turned into a variety of products, from conferences to catalogs.

Today our database is Twitter. I spent a lot of the last year working on a few lists, er, databases there. First, I collected 3,800 companies in the spatial computing space at https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/brands-in-spatial

Then I collected 4,400 people: https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/people-in-spatial and 264 investors: https://twitter.com/Scobleizer/lists/investors-in-spatial (I have 25 other lists to study the world, and, especially, the tech industry, all of which are open to the public).

Doing these lists let me study the industry, and led me, and a group of friends to start a new stealth mode company. “Infinite Retina.” I’m taking on a new role, too, “Spatial Computing Catalyst.” Both will launch February 1, 2019. 

Here’s some things I’ve seen lately…

Two Bit Circus has built a new amusement park with tons of new fangled games, many of which are in VR. I got a visit last week.

AR Cloud that 6D.AI is building. I visited them recently and the AR Cloud is the technical foundation of spatial computing. I learned so much from its CEO, Matt Miesnieks

Tribe X, a new DJ in VR training company. I visited them last week.

Talked to Robert Adams, who just raised a fund and got a patent for biometric identity

That last conversation is what got me to see the importance of spatial computing. 

Adams laid out a world where you will do literally everything in spatial computing glasses (and, later, with devices that can read your mind and integrate with your brain). He explained why it’s so important to make sure these systems get the best security. Because they will have access to literally everything about you. Things you build. Things you touch. People you interact with. Every transaction. Every piece of food you put in your mouth. The more he talked the more I saw the opportunities, but the more I saw how scary some of this stuff is. His company, Global e∙dentity,  lays out how new computing devices and sensors can see who you are through even your bone structures. 

It hit me that this goes a lot further than just gaming.

So, from now on, I’ll focus every minute of my life on spatial computing and getting to know the players in it. If you are one, please do drop me a line, particularly on LinkedIn or Twitter, which have gotten much more important lately due to this work.

What is spatial computing? It is the fourth paradigm of personal computing. One that will make computing far more personal than we ever imagined.

I hope to help entrepreneurs build companies, get funded, find customers, hire talent, so that this paradigm can arrive for my kids faster and better. It’s important, and, I can even see a way it can help us fix the problems with global warming. More on that soon.

The video here is of Chris Milk’s Wonderscope, which is giving us a little taste of the joy and storytelling pleasure that will come with spatial computing, too. Fast Company called it revolutionary. I call it just the beginning. 

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