After the HoloLens, Here Comes Atheer
Virtual reality and augmented reality technologies are fast maturing, and recently we witnessed the unveiling of Microsoft’s augmented reality glasses called the HoloLens. Now, a startup makes a mark in the VR world with its latest development on virtual and augmented reality.
Atheer, a startup based in Mountain View, California, is releasing its AR/VR headgear called the Atheer AiR smartglasses. The startup is already 4 years in the business, and it targets businesses and major industries with its technology. The headgear is powered by a Snapdragon 800 processor and it runs on the Android mobile operating system. Similar to the HoloLens, the user is able to interact with on-screen objects projected in a holographic fashion. The hardware is lighter than most VR headsets on the market today.
The startup is headed by Alberto Torres, former Senior Vice President for Mobility at HP. He replaced Atheer’s previous CEO, Soulaiman Itani last October 2014. Atheer is not new to the VR and AR industry – during its first few years it has launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to bring its smartglasses to the mainstream consumer. But they canceled the campaign and refocused its goals to the enterprise market, mainly targeting the medical, oil and gas, and logistics industries.
According to Torres, Atheer will venture first into the business sector to gain interest. Once the interest picks up, they will slowly bring their technology to the consumer market. A target niche of the glasses would be extreme sports enthusiasts including skydivers and skiiers who would be benefiting from a virtual reality integration with their activities.
He added that Atheer is confident about their technology, despite the big announcement that Microsoft held last month with the HoloLens. The startup’s technology platform, called the Augmented interactive Reality (AiR), is a trademarked virtual reality platform designed to bring natural interaction between the user and on-screen objects – this essentially increases work productivity thanks to specially-designed tools that the user can use depending on the work circumstances.
Torres explained that the AiR glasses would prove its benefits in industries like the healthcare and the field service sectors, where a worker cannot easily reach for a secondary tool like a tablet or a smartphone. There are work conditions where the worker is fully engaged with their tasks and is not able to even touch a tablet or smartphone. The handsfree approach of using the smartglasses is the key to increasing productivity and better work output.
Atheer is also open-source, thanks to its use of the Android ecosystem. Developers can take advantage of the AiR SDK to create customized applications of the AiR smartglasses to various work environments.