vision summit 2017

Vision Summit 2017 Keynote Recap: Announcements from Microsoft, Google, Vuforia and more!

We’ve officially kicked off our second North American Vision VR/AR Summit in Los Angeles. Over the next two days, more than 1,200 founders, artists, programmers, business leaders, publishers, and developers will gather for learning, discussion, and hands-on exploration of what’s new and next in XR.

Be sure to follow @unity3d and official hashtag #Vision17 to stay updated.

The opening keynote just wrapped which featured presentations with exciting news, demos and videos from partners including: Microsoft, Facebook, Oculus, Google, Vuforia, NFL Films, Jet Propulsion Laboratories/NASA, Audi/Zerolight, ScopeAR, Within, Rewind/Redbull, The Void, Multiverse, Baobab and Spiraloid. The full keynote can be found here, with show highlights below.

Looking ahead

Unity CEO John Riccitiello kicked things off with Unity’s mission to democratize development, solve hard problems, and enable success. According to Riccitiello, the three ingredients he believes will pull us through the gap of disappointment are price, mobility, and content. VR/AR opportunities are getting increasingly better, with the leaders and companies of tomorrow being built today.

Unity 2017 – The foundation of XR development

Unity’s Head of VR/AR Strategy Tony Parisi presented Unity 2017 (beta) as the foundation of XR development. Natalie Grant, Sr. Product Marketer for VR/AR and Film, joined him on stage to showcase an interactive 360 video with animated CG objects, using new video playback features available in Unity.

“Constrained reality”

Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins discussed how virtual reality is a concept that is really millions of years old. Dawkins challenged the audience to consider that virtual reality is run by software in the brain. He emphasized that we do not see faithful, unadulterated data from the real world. Instead, what we see is a constructed model world, created by the brain in much the same way as VR software constructs an apparent reality in the computer.

Mixed Reality in Unity

Brandon Bray, Principal Group Manager from Microsoft, announced 91% of Hololens applications are made with Unity. He also unveiled Mixed Reality will soon be available for Unity developers and gifted audience members with new Acer MR headsets that will arrive this summer.

Tango with Unity

Nathan Martz, Google Product Manager from Google announced that Unity is now integrated with Google Tango. Cardboard and Daydream were previously supported, but today Google also announced that Daydream will experience an update this May allowing creators to test VR and AR changes for their app in minutes.

Jay Wright, President of Vuforia, announced a new feature for Tango-enabled devices. Vuforia Smart Terrain will give developers and designers the ability to build AR experiences that dynamically interact with the world around them. Using Smart Terrain and Tango, Vuforia was able to transform the stage into Mars and call on a virtual Drone and astronaut that understood the geometry of the physical environment and was able to navigate intelligently to discover ice on Mars. What was shown onstage will be the new Vuforia sample app available when Vuforia is integrated with Unity later this year.

Streaming in VR

Mike Wuetherick, Product Manager and Sarah Stumbo, VR Evangelist from Unity showcased a captivating concept demo, “A Mighty Kingdom,” to demonstrate the possibilities of streaming in VR, using Timeline for linear sequencing and Cinemachine for tailored broadcasts.

“A naturally social platform”

Rachel Franklin, Head of Social VR at Facebook, announced that Facebook Spaces is being built with Unity. Facebook believes VR is a naturally social platform, and that the next generation of experiences will be built with people at the center. Facebook Spaces promotes connection in an immersive way and serves as an extension of the user.

Mars 2020 Rover live demo by NASA JPL

Victor Luo, along with colleagues from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, showed off the Mars 2020 Rover during a live demo of their HoloLens mixed reality engineering tool ProtoSpace. Used by NASA JPL to design spacecraft for upcoming missions, ProtoSpace is an incredible example of how highly complex problems can be approached and overcome collaboratively and efficiently with the help of mixed reality.

Super Bowl 2017 360 video debut

NFL Films’ Senior Producer Jason Weber discussed how filming for the NFL has transformed from 1962 through the present, and debuted a never-before-seen 360 video from the Super Bowl 2017.

Flight Deck for Red Bull Air race

Sol Rogers, Founder and CEO of REWIND, showcased “Flight Deck”, their innovative XR experience created for the Red Bull Air race. This holographic tech, powered by Unity and HoloLens, allows people to get closer to one of the fastest sports on the planet as they learn the complex rules and regulations in real time.

Bringing comics to VR

Bay Raitt’s company Spiraloid is bringing together the power of VR with the joy of comics for the first time. Through the combination of stories, movies, and games, this not only changes how consumers interact with comics, but revolutionizes how they themselves can be creators within these cross media experiences.


Marcus Kuehne from Audi joined Chris O’Connor from Zerolight on stage to create an immersive VR experience which allows customers to digitally create and interact with Audi in a meaningful way. This technology offers real-time video compositing and is rendered in real-time with millions of vehicle configurations.

And finally…

The 2017 Vision VR/AR Summit Awards

After a month of tirelessly testing and reviewing 250+ submissions/entries, we’re excited to announce the winners of the 2017 Vision VR/AR Summit Awards:

  • Best Game – Superhot VR (SUPERHOT Team)
  • Best Cinematic VR – Zero Days VR (Scatter)
  • Best 360 Video – MIYUBI (Felix & Paul Studios, in collaboration with Funny or Die)
  • Artistic Achievement Award – Chocolate (Tyler Hurd)
  • Technical Achievement Award – Ghostbusters: Dimension (The Void and Hyper Reality)
  • Narrative Achievement Award – Zero Days VR (Scatter)
  • Best AR Experience – ProtoSpace (NASA)
  • Best VR Experience – ASTEROIDS! (Baobab Studios)
  • Social Impact Award – Out of Exile: Daniel’s Story (Emblematic Group, Atrevida Productions, True Colors Fund)

Each of the nine categories had many great contenders and the judges found it difficult to chose just one winner and two finalists for each.

This year’s selection showcases the continued growth and maturation of VR, AR, and MR content by highlighting advancements with narrative, artistic, and technical achievements. From games to 360 videos to a variety of experiences that defy traditional categorization, these finalists were chosen because they are exceptional examples of virtual and augmented reality content.

Congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to all who submitted!

Author: VR Reporter

I am a hi-tech enthusiast, VR evangelist, and a Co-founder & Chief Director at Virtual Reality Reporter!

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