20 Jun 2024 | Sam Sprigg
AWE USA 2024: Day 3 Recap
AWE USA 2024

Day 3 has come to an end, and with it so has AWE USA 2024. The final day of activities, talks and expo has finished, but we’ve still got a final recap blog to share all of the excitement from the day, so let’s jump right in!

Main Stage Highlights

The Future of XR Headsets and How They'll Deliver our Spatial Future

Tim Bajarin of Fast Company, Forbes and Techpinions, chaired this morning’s talk, with speakers from some of the world’s leading XR companies working in the headset space, including: Anna Nilsson, Varjo’s Head of Design and Research; Said Bakadir, Qualcomm’s Sr. Director of Product Management; and Jason McGuigan, Lenovo’s Head of Virtual Reality.

Panelists shared their insights on the newest developments in XR headsets and how they are driving the future of spatial computing. With XR headset technology advancing rapidly, the discussion highlighted how it has become an important means toward delivering an immersive 3D world.

Iron Man VFX Producer Meets Red 6: A Fireside Introduction

Shelley Peterson of Wizard Wells chaired a discussion with Ian Dawson, the man who supervised and produced the futuristic AR Jarvis sequences for Ironman 1 & 2, and Daniel Robinson, Founder and CEO of RED 6 – a company that has essentially built a real-life JARVIS system for fighter pilots.

One of the most exciting things to hear in this talk was learning how, as part of their work with Disney, Red 6 actually took Disney Imagineers up into the sky to demonstrate their AR fighter pilot training technology. However, instead of having adversaries that consisted of other fighter jets (like a typical Red 6 aerial demo would have), this time the company decided to use AR spaceships from Disney’s Star Wars universe.

This meant Imagineers from the company could have a simulated dogfight with TIE Fighters and X-Wing starfighters, or refuel with the Millenium Falcon. Needless to say, Disney was thoroughly impressed, according to Robinson, who noted: “The question we asked ourselves was, ‘could we blend the physical content with the digital world?’”.

One of the movies that was a huge inspiration for Red 6’s technology was of course Iron Man, with Robinson stating that he was in fact a fan of Dawson, who’s work on the Iron Man movies was integral in bringing the vision of JARVIS to life on screen.

Additional Notable Talks and Panels

Outside of the Main Stage today, there were several other great talks taking place. On the Healthcare & Wellness stage “Can Virtual Reality Transform the Prison System?” was the hypothetical question asked by Creative Acts, an art therapy organization that works with people who are imprisoned in the California Correctional System. The answer is yes, using VR to help incarcerated people imagine a world beyond the prison walls is making prisons safer, getting people out of solitary confinement, and returning people to their communities with the skills they need to stay free! 

On the Creator stage, during the talk “Beyond Our Bodies: AI & XR’s Role In Transforming Identity,” Cameron Kostopoulos discussed the inspiration and process behind creating their award winning VR experience Body of Mine. The project gently introduces ideas of gender identity and body dysmorphia in a safe, empowering, and empathy building environment. 

Also on the Creator stage and wrapping things up, The Bad*ss Girls in XR were back at AWE once again, with their inspiring session “How Gen Z Communities Design Sustainability Business Models in Web3.” This dynamic group, composed of four teenage innovators—all aged 18 or younger—shared insights from their groundbreaking projects with companies like GE and Meta. Their work not only showcases their technical prowess but also their commitment to sustainable business practices in the evolving landscape of Web3.

Spatial Experiences in the Niantic Lounge

Over the three days of the event, the Niantic Lounge engaged event guests with a buffet of demonstrations and classes showcasing the breadth of Niantic’s applications, developer tools, and content creation tools. The playful, sight-specific lounge had guests doing “sick skateboard tricks” in Apple Vision Pro, dancing with magical Peridots, and learning from Niantic’s developer team. As always, it was an absolute pleasure having the Niantic team here at another AWE event, and their on-site AR activities are always a pleasure to witness.

The AWE Playground

This year’s Playground featured a record 17 booths filled with interactive stories, innovative XR fundraising campaigns, multiplayer games, AR unicorn rides, and so much more. View all the Playground experiences here.

One stand-out example was Wilkins Avenue AR’s Out There, “the first ever musical for Apple Vision Pro,” which had a seemingly empty booth surrounded by blank, black walls. The scene opens with a proscenium stage view of a young girl dreaming in her room which slowly, magically starts to transform as the girl interacts with, sings (with the voice of Grammy-award nominee Vanessa Williams), and dances around the room and the viewer; gradually expanding the AR elements of the show and enhancing the entire booth space through the magic of Mixed Reality. What a lovely story, spatial interaction direction, and use of the Vision Pro’s capabilities.

Event Wrap Up

Finally, the last talk for today was once again on the Main Stage, with AWE and Super Ventures Co-founder Ori Inbar closing out proceedings for the event. First, a few lucky prize winners were handed out some cool tech, with giveaways from Pico, Looking Glass Factory, and bHaptics gifted to three lucky people.

After that, it was time for the Best in Show awards to be handed out. This was a bit of a shorter ceremony compared to yesterday’s full Auggie Awards ceremony – you can view those winners here.

The winners for this year’s Best in Show awards were:

Audience Favorite – HaptX

Breakthrough Talent – In Arms Research, by Felix Herbst

Awesome Award – VR Retrospective, by USC

Next up were the Nextant Prizes from the Virtual World Society. Tom Furness took to the stage once more to hand out three additional awards. The winners were:

Spirit Prize – Krystal Curley

Rising Star Prize – Damon Hernandez

Legacy Prize – Jackie Morie


So, with the awards handed out, that was it for another year of AWE USA. An enormous “thank you” goes out to everyone who attended this year’s event. Every time the XR community gathers at AWE, it reminds our team of why we work so hard to put these gatherings on. It is always such a great pleasure to provide a focal point for the AR and VR industry, and to create a space for 

Make sure you stay engaged with AWE, and keep up to date on all the latest news about our upcoming events. Sign up to our Weekly Spatial newsletter, follow us on X, and make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, where all videos from this week will be available for your viewing from next week.

Finally, we’re ALREADY offering discounted tickets for AWE USA 2025 – just use code 25REBOOK to get tickets from as low as $395! Our next events this year will be AWE Asia in Singapore this August, and we’ll be back in Vienna in October for AWE EU. Hopefully see you then.

Stay Spatial!


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