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8i Studios partner program enables human-driven VR and AR

Holo Application from 8i

Holo Application from 8i

New Zealand-founded virtual reality startup 8i has announced a US$27 million Series B round led by Time Warner Investments, which will support the development of a new augmented reality content creation app, Holo.

Holo Application from 8i
Holo Application from 8i

8i’s mission is to enable the evolution of media and human communication by giving people the best way to connect with each other and express themselves through holograms. We provide the easiest way to create, mix and experience 3D human holograms that look real, and can be viewed from any angle, on any device for virtual, augmented or mixed reality. Founded in May 2014, 8i is based in Wellington, New Zealand, and Los Angeles.

Media groups augment their game apps with real actors

Media groups augment their game apps

Media companies are looking to recreate the success of the mobile game Pokémon Go, but with the added realism of well-known actors being incorporated in their “Augmented Reality” apps. Time Warner and Hearst are among the media groups investing in 8i, a start-up with technology for capturing holograms of real people for use in both Virtual Reality headsets and Augmented Reality apps.

8i wants to take holographic videos to the main stream with mobile app Holo

8i’s production studio, from the outside, looks like any other Hollywood movie studio. A series of unremarkable brick buildings crowd the Culver City lot, with the occasional wardrobe rack or production cart rolling through. It’s a place where scenes from “Gone With the Wind,” “The Matrix” and countless other movies and TV shows have been filmed, but you wouldn’t know its spectacular history to look at it.

8i Studios partner program enables human-driven VR and AR

8i, a company that develops holographic technology for virtual and augmented reality, today announced a US$27 million Series B round of funding to support the launch of its new mixed reality app Holo in 2017. The new round, which brings 8i’s total funding to $41 million, was led by Time Warner Investments, with participation from Baidu Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Verizon Ventures, One Ventures, Carsten Maschmeyer’s Seed & Speed Ventures, and existing investors. This is the first investment in VR/AR for Baidu, Inc.

Mixed reality

8i’s Holo app, currently in testing, will inject virtual characters into the real world via your phone’s camera. One drawback to the app is that it’ll only work on phones that support Google’s Tango augmented reality platform. 8i already has a very early beta running on the Lenovo Phab 2. “An AR-enabled phone does positional tracking,” said CEO Steve Raymond last week to Variety. “It has a richer feature set.”

                              Baidu Ventures is the newly-formed venture capital investment arm of Baidu, Inc., the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. The first fund is USD$200 million, dedicated to investing in early-stage companies in the artificial intelligence, AR and VR space. Led by seasoned investment professionals and former entrepreneurs, Baidu Ventures backs founders of next-generation technologies and invests globally from offices in Beijing and Sunnyvale, California.

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