Campfire emerged from Stealth today to introduce its new eponymous AR and VR headset, which features a 92-degree field of view. They are targeting 3D design and engineering professionals. The PC-tethered headset is around 500 grams, pleasingly distributed with a nylon body and head strap. A tabletop accessory called a “console” acts like a holographic projector that can be shared by any number of simultaneous users in remote locations. The clarity is equal to that of expensive, high-end industrial HMDS from Varjo and Xtal. You can lean into a car model and see the writing on the tiny dials.
San Mateo-based Campfire quietly developed their system in stealth over the past two years with a team of fifteen engineers led by a familiar face, co-founder and CEO Jay Wright. He famously created Vuforia at Qualcomm. Vuforia enabled mobile AR with computer vision years before Apple and Google introduced ARkit and ARcore. When PTC bought Vuforia from Qualcomm, Wright went with it. Today, millions of AR apps have been developed with Vuforia, including both of my AR-enabled books. Wright introduced Vuforia Chalk, a solution for remote assistance, right around the time the company was sold to PTC, which was the last time we spoke, at AWE 2017. Since then, Wright has been quietly working to create an entirely new approach to the 3D design use case for enterprises, creating new devices and applications.
“Campfire was designed from the ground up for 3D design and engineering workflows,” Wright told us during the demo last week. “The addition of our system to the design process results in massive productivity gains in developing everything from consumer goods to industrial products.” Wright worked with Frog Design, the company which famously designed early Apple products, to create the Campfire hardware. In fact, Frog is using Campfire today to develop products for other clients. “Campfire is like PowerPoint or Google docs for 3D,” Wright said.
Campfire provides a whole system, hardware and software, to clients who pay a monthly subscription fee. The component parts are (1) the super hi-res 92 FOV Campfire headset. The see-through display becomes a VR display by clipping on a cover. (2) The Campfire Console is the new tabletop review device that acts like a holographic projector and joins together globally distributed users. (3) The Campfire Pack clips onto a smartphone and turns it into a controller. (4) Campfire Scenes, which enable users to load and manipulate 3D models (they’re compatible with forty formats) for quick reviews or elaborate presentations. Finally, (5) the Campfire Viewer enables users to work alone or together during video calls, using a Campfire Headset, tablet, or phone. It’s also compatible with Teams and Zoom.
Campfire raised more than $8M in seed funding from OTV, Kli Capital, Tuesday Capital, and others and expects to ship in the fall. The Campfire system, made entirely in the US, is available for preview through Campfire’s website, where those interested can sign up.
Originally published at https://www.forbes.com.