DigiLens started this year with the announcement of its new ARGO AR glassesand has continued to make moves both as a component supplier of waveguides and as a standalone AR headset maker. A few days before the AWE 2023 event, DigiLens also announced a partnership with Taqtile to create a rugged solution for industrial and defense customers.
This announcement shows that DigiLens is going after many of Microsoft’s Hololens partners who are now struggling to offer a solution to replace the stuck-in purgatory Hololens 2. Taqtile was a huge Microsoft Hololens partner, and in fact the Hololens was the only way I had ever experienced Taqtile’s solution. However, the new partnership was only the beginning, as DigiLens also had more announcements to make during the show.
Mojo Vision partnership
One of the hottest and most exciting companies in the AR space, Mojo Vision, announced a partnership with DigiLens at the event to combine its micro-LED displays with DigiLens’ SRG+ technology and waveguides. Mojo Vision was one of the most compelling technology providers in the AR space when it developed AR contacts, but it was a victim of the funding retraction of 2022 and had to pivot towards supplying micro-LED displays to continue to move the company’s vision forward.
Because Mojo Vision had already created a tiny RGB micro-LED display for its own technology, this has become an attractive solution for AR glasses to enable thin-and-light designs. I believe that this partnership will help both companies greatly, because together they can offer yet another unique solution for their customers and potentially help bring sleeker AR devices to market more quickly.
In addition to partnering with component companies like Mojo Vision, DigiLens is also partnering with French company Wisear, which was also present at the AWE show with its wearable earphones, Wisearphones, that use a neural interface for user controls. The neural interface detects facial movements and pairs them with six different pre-established and robust user controls to allow the user to make selections hands-free without any movement or voice controls.
This is an excellent partnership because many XR headsets struggle with user interfaces in the first place. Plus there are plenty of potential applications where hand-tracking is not a viable option, and something like Wisear’s earbuds will be a better solution when paired with the DigiLens ARGO.
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At AWE 2023, Ultraleap had quite a significant presence thanks to the launch of its second-generation Leap Motion Controller hand-tracking camera. At the Ultraleap booth, the company had all kinds of partner headsets on display working with the new second-generation hand tracking solution, including Pico, Looking Glass, Lynx, Oculus Quest and one of the most popular headsets—the DigiLens ARGO.
I tried out the DigiLens ARGO with the new Leap Motion Controller attached directly to the USB port on the headset and bolted right on. The controller worked seamlessly with the headset, and I could easily manipulate and move a car engine with my hands; it looked and felt great. Clearly, the two companies have been working together very closely on this integration, and I expect that we will see a fair number of customers wanting to use these two technologies together right away.
Embracing Snapdragon Spaces
The DigiLens partnership with Qualcomm was the least surprising, given that ARGO already runs on the Snapdragon XR2 platform. It makes total sense that DigiLens would want to partner with Qualcomm to support Snapdragon Spaces, especially as more enterprise companies begin to embrace the platform and as Qualcomm looks to expand beyond its partnership with Lenovo on the ThinkReality A3 and VRX, which have so far been the default development platforms for Snapdragon Spaces.
I think Qualcomm wants to expand into more hardware platforms, and if the DigiLens ARGO is going to start replacing Hololens deployments, it would be wise for Qualcomm to partner deeply with them. This also means DigiLens will support OpenXR and WebXR technologies, making it easier for developers to create new hardware and software. With DigiLens ARGO supporting Snapdragon Spaces, it also becomes the first enterprise-grade standalone AR headset to support Snapdragon Spaces.
DigiLens essentially took over AWE 2023 with an absolute barrage of compelling partnership announcements addressing both sides of the company’s business. DigiLens also had multiple standing-room-only talks that drew developers’ attention.
I believe that the company’s headset is going after one of the most critical parts of the enterprise AR space and has the right technologies and partnerships to succeed. The industry has obviously gotten a lot more attention since Apple’s recent launch of its XR headset, but one of the things that a lot of people forget about that headset is that it won’t work in 99% of industrial and enterprise applications—and isn’t even targeted for them.
DigiLens is uniquely positioned to help usher us into this third wave of spatial computing. I believe the partnerships it established at AWE 2023 will only help accelerate that reality.