THE COMPANY LANDED $8 MILLION FOR AN INTEGRATED HOLOGRAPHIC SOLUTION FOR 3D PRODUCT DESIGN
As XR has matured over the past handful of years, the technology’s unsolved problems have become glaringly obvious. To name just a few: the headsets are often uncomfortable, their FoV is too small, it’s difficult to handle AR and VR with one device, the controls are difficult to learn, and it can be frustrating to get existing 3D data into your system.
With their new $8 million funding round, Campfire aims to solve all of these problems, and more. Their XR-as-a-service offering provides an easy way for engineers, designers, and other 3D professionals to share designs with other project stakeholders in an AR or VR environment.
What is Campfire’s tech?
At the highest level, Campfire’s tech is a fully integrated hardware and software system available “as a service” with a subscription pricing model.
The system, which has been designed holistically to enable holographic or “spatial” collaboration, includes 3 hardware devices, a smartphone app, and 2 applications. Here’s a quick overview of the parts.
- A headset that is “comfortable” to wear. It includes opaque or clear lenses—for VR or AR, respectively—that attach with magnets. Importantly, it offers a 92° diagonal FoV, handily beating the 52° offered by the current HoloLens and the projected 55° FoV for the new Magic Leap headset.
- Campfire Console acts as a holographic projector or AR anchor to place 3D content in your space. It is shaped like, you guessed it, two logs set up for a little campfire. It assembles with magnets.
- Campfire Pack is a small, adjustable device that mounts to a smartphone and turns it into a controller.
- A mobile app that works with the Campfire Pack to offer an “intuitive” way to work with 3D models and. According to the company’s CEO, it “eliminates the learning curve of proprietary controllers and gesture interfaces.”
- Campfire Scenes is designed to “solve the workflow gap” and make it easier to get your existing 3D files into Campfire’s system for sharing—without the need for extensive expertise.
- Campfire Viewer for opening up the Campfire documents. “You plug the headset into the laptop” says the company’s CEO, “and you’re in.”
A worthwhile tradeoff?
With their XR-as-a-service offering, Campfire looks to be betting that users will accept a tradeoff.
Give up the ability to mix and match hardware and software in a customized system. Give up an API. Pay a subscription fee. In return, the company promises, you’ll get a thoughtfully integrated XR system that is easy to use. You’ll get a spatial collaboration tool that plugs into your company’s existing collaboration tools, like Zoom. More importantly, you’ll get an AR and VR system that just works.
Maybe that’s right for your applications, maybe it isn’t. But it promises to get the technology itself out of your way so you can get down to actual work, and that’s a compelling proposition.
Campfire is just coming out of “stealth” mode, so details on pricing and specs are thin. We do know this: You’ll likely need to supply a pretty powerful computer to run the software. And Campfire says the technology will be available by subscription in Fall of this year.
For some more information—and some thoughts from Campfire’s CEO—check out VentureBeat’s coverage here.