VR and AR at CES 2016
This year CES is a focal point for virtual reality with pre-orders of Facebook’s $599 Oculus Rift being taken online starting at 8:00am January 6. The latest ship dates are not expected until May, and will continue to slip as demand rises.
Oculus, isn’t the only virtual reality vendor at CES, in fact, this year CES has created market places for Virtual Reality (VR) and Gaming, and Augmented Reality (AR). The combination of VR and gaming gives short shrift to the business applications of VR, whereas the dedicated AR area speaks to the existing market, which is primarily enterprises.
For VR to become a market, it will need an ecosystem of products and services that will support content creation, enhance control and content VR to whole-body experience. CES is previewing products that fit into all of those categories.
Here is a taste of the VR and AR offerings that can be seen by show goers at CES 2016.
For more coverage of VR at CES 2016, see ‘The state of virtual reality in 2016: What’s working, what’s not, and what’s next‘ at GeekWire.
A feet-based motion controller for VR, that is used when seated. Given the dearth of methods for controlling VR experiences, this products offers a unique answer approach, as well as an answer to the question “what do I do with my feet in seated VR?”
360 degree audio for VR. Sound will be a key component, and many systems offer only basic stereo. For VR to be truly immersive, it will require sound that is equally enveloping. Sound will also be a safety issue, helping inform people in VR where things are in space, and helping them navigate.
According to Philippe Tour, CEO of ARKAMYS, “After vision, we rely on our hearing to understand the environment around us. What’s more, we can see in only one direction, but we hear sounds coming from everywhere. Adding positional audio to something, whether for entertainment or safety, provides a more complete—and more natural—experience.”
Matter and Form Bevel
A 3D camera that adds the ability to capture 3D photographs on any smartphone or tablet. While this isn’t an immersive technology, there will be cases where 3D photographs will play a role in VR, such as given a presentation. It won’t be cool to put 2D images on a presentation delivered in VR, so people will start wanting 3D images as a first step to mastering what is likely going to be a completely new way to present.
A VR headset able to record in 3D (with dual screen projection of 720P each). Owners will also be able to share their videos live with their social networks via built-in wireless communications.
IC Real Tech
Spherical dual-lens 360×360 degree portable action video camera (ALLie Go) and compatible ALLie Virtual Reality headsets.
VR Treadmill. A good example of equipment that will transform VR into a full body experience.
Marxent’s VisualCommerce™ is a virtual products platform that powers Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality apps for retailers and manufacturers, including the Lowe’s Holoroom.
An indiegogo funded set of headphones with a pull down AR display. Fully Android features available.
The Powis VIEWR 2.0 offers Google Cardboard compatible experience with a variety of premium materials. They also offer bespoke, custom printed headsets for advertising and customer engagement.
SCALee transforms any existing wall into a highly immersive universe where players can interact naturally in 1:1 scale games and applications. Think of it as a personal cave like the ones used by the U.S. military.
A wearable subwoofer that delivers the feeling of sound into the VR experience.
A bicycle controller that includes wireless sensors that translate real-world peddling to in-world speed and action buttons on the handlebars. Compatible with Sony PlayStationVR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
First 360 3D VR Video Camera for under $1,000.
New augmented reality headsets, the VidWear® B3000 Waveguide Sunglasses and the M3000 Monocular Waveguide Smart Glasses that uses waveguide technology to enhance the AR experience. Also previewing their new iWear® Wireless Video Headphones for consumer VR.
Other VR-related CES news
Las Vegas will also play host to a non-CES VR event called VRFest during CES.
Even the local brothel industry is getting into VR: Las Vegas-Area Brothel Sheri’s Ranch Takes Aim at CES 2016’s Push into Virtual Reality with a blog post that outlines how VR may impact the Nevada sex industry: http://blog.sherisranch.com/ces/nevada-brothels-ces2016/
VR and AR are on their way. They will be important technologies to watch, and valuable for experimentation as they will surely generate new ideas about how applications should evolve given the new capabilities. Will that have a huge impact on businesses in 2016? Highly unlikely, but they will influence the entertainment and gaming industry, shifting some investment toward VR properties. AR still needs to get lighter and less intrusive before it becomes viable for consumer use, but it will continue to prove valuable in areas like logistics, law enforcement and security and medicine. New headsets and new technologies will do nothing but move the AR needle forward.