New AR/VR Tech from CES 2018!
The latest and greatest in AR/VR hardware!
2018 has kicked off in an epic fashion! With companies from all around the world revealing their latest tech at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, we are seeing a lot of exciting technology related to AR/VR! From industry leaders ushering in new releases, to AR/VR startups filling hardware and content gaps, CES showcased some of the biggest and best innovations in this field.
HTC Vive Pro
On January 8th HTC announced their newest addition to the Vive family. The Vive Pro features 3K resolution using two OLED panels with a total resolution of 2888 x 1600. This is a 78% increase from the previous Vive headset. Along with a sharper image, the HTC made changes to the headstrap and fit of their new headset. The original Vive felt extremely front heavy and was difficult to adjust so this redesign will improve the comfort and balance of the new VR headset. The Vive Pro also has dual microphones and integrated audio, so no need to use the Deluxe Audio Strap add-on ($99) that was released for the original Vive. HTC also unveiled a separate add-on adapter that will make the Vive Pro and original Vive wireless. The adapter runs in Intel WiGig technology, so there is little to no latency. This adapter is set to ship sometime in the summer of 2018.
Google’s first standalone VR headset is here in collaboration with Lenovo. They unveiled the Mirage Solo Headset at CES, which is being built by Lenovo and runs on Google’s Daydream VR platform. The headset is an all-in-one device, meaning it does not need a PC or phone to run VR experiences. The Mirage Solo uses Google’s WorldSense technology for positional tracking which doesn’t require external cameras or sensors. The headset is not as small and lightweight as Google’s phone based VR headset (it weighs 1.42 lbs) but Lenovo has engineered the headset pretty well to evenly distribute the weight on your head. The Mirage Solo will cost under $400.
Mi VR and Oculus Go
Oculus has decided to partner with Xiaomi, a Chinese-based company, to develop the Mi VR, an Oculus Go hardware-twin designed for the Chinese market. Although the Mi VR will have it’s own SDK, it will be powered by the Oculus store and will have access to all of the great VR titles, including Immersed! It will also be sold for about $200, making VR more affordable for the masses. The Oculus Go is scheduled to be released this quarter.
Looxid Labs has brought in an entirely new feature on their VR headset that earned a Best innovation Award in Virtual Reality at CES 2018. The LooxidVR headset is a mobile powered VR headset, but it comes with eye-tracking cameras and EEG sensors built into the headset. This type of technology in headsets can allow more reactivity to user movements. With eye-tracking you could glance around the VR environment rather than dramatically rotating your neck to see something a to your slight right. The EEG sensors for tracking brain activity aren’t exactly useful the the standard VR consumer but medical institutions could use this indispensable data for therapeutic treatments. The capacity for emotional recognition is being pushed for human behavior research on Looxid Labs’ website.
At CES 2018, 3dRudder unveiled its newest foot-powered VR controller named “Blackhawk.” The controller has a convex bottom and flat platform on top as a place for your feet. To use the Blackhawk, you sit in a chair while using your feet to move yourself around a room-scale experience, making seated gameplay more immersive. The product features “Active Dead Zone” which is meant to improve stability with reactivity by adjusting depending how fast you want to move. There are also foot strap bindings to make control more precise and avoid slippage. 3dRudder is reducing their last generation model by $40 (to make it $100) when the Blackhawk goes live this spring. The Blackhawk will cost $140.
Pimax revealed its almost final version of their 8K VR headset called the V5 at CES 2018. The headset has a 200-degree field of view and a screen resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. The company has made several improvements since the first version of the headset that was shown at CES 2017. They have made a more ergonomic design for improved comfort and fit. The metal parts of the headset are more lightweight for a more comfortable prolonged use. Consumers who pre-order or purchase the headset when it goes on sale will receive two controllers along with the trackers. There is no mention of an exact date for pre-orders or cost.
The smallest form-factor for AR glasses are here. At CES, Lumus presented a pair of AR glasses that have 1080p displays, bright enough to fade out the person standing right in front of you. They’ve raised $57M from the likes of Alibaba, HTC, and Quanta, and are constantly looking to make their previous product iterations obsolete, keeping the bar very high. The 40 degree field of view is much lower than they would like to put in a consumer-grade product, but they are sure that they will be outdoing themselves in future iterations to come.
Contact CI’s Maestro Gloves
Cincinnati-based startup Contact CI presented their haptic-feedback gloves at CES. It’s a glove that enables you to “feel” things in the virtual world, as if they existed in real-life. The glove mimics the human anatomy by lining each finger with tendon-like strands that pull back whenever your hands/fingers collide with something in the virtual world. Contact CI is not necessarily looking to create a product that they would sell to consumers, but rather are wanting to partner with companies like HTC to provide a haptic solution for their customers.