In what’s undoubtedly a landmark occasion even for the might of Tel Aviv’s sprawling tech hubs, the launch of the world’s first augmented reality laptop from Israeli startup Sightful has delivered a revolutionary product for the remote work market that outpaces the might of the biggest tech firms on the planet.
Israel’s AR pedigree is evident for all to see. In 2023’s annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, not only were there 23 Israeli startups making the journey out west, but four of the firms attending in Arti AR, Eye-Minders, Radix, and SparX, all worked primarily in reality technology.
Even with this in mind, the feat of engineering that’s culminated in Sightful’s AR laptop, appropriately dubbed the ‘Spacetop’, has all the hallmarks of a major disruptive force in a world that’s still seeking functional solutions to adapt to the age of WFH.
The Spacetop itself is just 13 inches long, which doesn’t amount to much when it comes to a physical operating canvas, but the hardware utilizes cutting-edge augmented reality technology to generate 100 inches of AR screenspace that becomes visible above the device with the help of integrated glasses.
Given that the Spacetop retails for around $2,000, this puts the product at a significantly lower price than Apple’s much-discussed Vision Pro, which costs $3,500. With both products using reality technology to fundamentally change the way we work and consume entertainment, Sightful’s innovation represents an excellent competitor for even the industry’s largest firms.
One of Sigthful’s co-founders, Tamir Berliner, has previous with Apple. It was Berliner who founded PrimeSense, which created the groundbreaking XBOX Kinect camera–which was later sold to Apple for $350 million.
Even with a rich history within the AR industry, the arrival of the Sapcetop may prove to be Berliner’s finest innovation yet.
Providing Solutions in the Age of Remote Work
By projecting an augmented overlay onto real-world environments, the Spacetop could serve as an innovative solution in the age of remote work.
This could be particularly advantageous for employees who may have smaller spaces in which to set up home offices. The potential of the Spacetop could also encourage more workers to take their office with them to coffee shops or public spaces where they can benefit from the same comprehensive access to a vast detailed display without requiring the physical space to accommodate it.
Crucially, the Spacetop’s augmented framework means that the work created will only be visible to wearers of the device’s AR glasses, making it far easier to operate in confidence from anywhere in the world.
The immersive displays can also pave the way for employers to deliver more comprehensive training programs for remote employees. This can help to bolster skill sets in a meaningful way through impactful AR employee training.
As for the technology that Spacetop utilizes, the device has been developed through collaborations with Wistron and NReal to create a fully immersive augmented experience along with high-resolution displays that can offer excellent levels of engagement with web applications while also remaining aware of real-world interactions.
Israel’s Rich History with Augmented Reality
Israel’s AR heritage certainly features plenty of great success stories and innovations over the course of the 21st Century and beyond. Notably, in 2019, InfinityAR was acquired by Asian giants Alibaba as part of a $15 billion R&D initiative.
Meanwhile, firms like Lumus have been making waves in the development of leading augmented reality hardware. According to Forbes writer Barry Collins, the Ness Ziona company is set to supply the optical engine for at least one of 2023’s biggest AR wearables releases, with suggestions that firms like Apple, Samsung, and Google could be among those utilizing the technology.
While Israel’s pedigree for AR-based consumer electronics is clear, the startup nation has also made excellent innovations in delivering augmented solutions for more crucial industries, like that of healthcare.
The recent development of the Beyeonics One, which is a technology that was initially created for fighter pilots that’s since been adapted into augmented reality headsets to guide eye surgeons, has been rolled out throughout Europe after receiving a CE mark of approval in late 2022.
The technology has also been used for 2,000 surgeries in research phases throughout America, with Beyeonics One receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Peer reviews found the that Beyeonics One performed well in notably complex surgeries like a endothelial keratoplasty, which is a procedure that involves removing abnormal matter from the cornea.
The hardware itself comes in the form of adapted head-mounted displays that had been utilized by pilots for many years. “The standard tool today is the old-fashioned surgical microscope,” explained Ron Schneider, founder of Beyeonics. “But advanced visualization headsets exist for flight, and the idea here is to harness this power for surgery.”