The Latest Highlights in AR/VR from CES 2020!
The latest and greatest in the XR world!
2020 is off to an eventful start! With companies from all around the world revealing their latest tech at the Consumer Electronics Show this year, we’re seeing a lot of progress in XR world! (Check out the XR progress since CES 2018!)
Reports indicate that Apple and Facebook are investing billions researching AR and are launching Glasses in the next couple of years!
From other industry leaders like Panasonic and Samsung revealing new AR Glasses at CES 2020, to XR startups making ambitious leaps, CES showcased some of the biggest and best innovations in this field to date!
Here are the highlights:
Panasonic’s UHD HDR VR Glasses
You probably saw a picture of these glasses making their way around the internet. Panasonic announced the world’s first compact High Dynamic Range (HDR) capable VR eyeglasses! The glasses display ultra high definition visuals without the ‘screen-door’ effect (the lines between pixels) thanks to a micro OLED panel and new optical driver which creates “natural and distortion-free images in a single focus.”
“Panasonic’s audio and visual technologies have been incorporated into this new device, including signal processing technologies cultivated through the development of video equipment such as TVs and Blu-ray Disc players, acoustic technologies of Technics audio products, and optical technologies used in LUMIX digital cameras,” Panasonic explained in a statement.
This is one giant leap to make VR more appealing to the masses!
Samsung’s AR Glasses
Samsung casually showed off AR glasses during its CES 2020 live stream without even acknowledging anything remarkable about showing such a device. However, this is definitely encouraging for the market as a whole. As Apple and Facebook have announced jumping into the AR Glasses race, it’s no surprise that Samsung is trying to take a leap forward as well!
Nreal’s AR Glasses
Out of all of the AR Glasses on the market today, Nreal has made very impressive progress for an affordable pair of AR glasses, which provide a relatively large field of view. Although NReal’s solution does not currently offer a complete and constantly improving understanding of the environment around the wearer yet, AR glasses like the $500 Nreal (and there were a lot of copycats at CES) are likely to continue making awesome progress in coming year! They have released their developer kit and will be releasing their consumer version of their product soon!
ThirdEye X2 MR Glasses
ThirdEye, a leader in augmented and mixed reality (AR/MR) enterprise solutions, announced that its X2 Mixed Reality Glasses now include new key gesture capabilities to improve the quality of work and performances for enterprise companies including healthcare, manufacturing, architecture, education, insurance, and aerospace.
The X2 MR Glasses are the lightest MR glasses at just 300 grams and are now mass shipping worldwide with a price tag of $1,950. Nick Cherukuri, founder of ThirdEye, said that “companies are saving nearly 40 percent in productivity improvements.”
The Android-based X2 MR Glasses fit a wide, 42-degree field of view, powerful sensors (thermal and ambient light), and a built-in proprietary simultaneous localization and mapping system, called VisionEye SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping), that allows for advanced MR features not available on a monocular device.
Pico Neo 2 and Neo 2 Eye VR Headsets
China-based company Pico Interactive announced the planned pricing and specifications of its upcoming Neo 2 standalone VR headset, as well as revealing the Neo 2 Eye model which includes eye-tracking technology in partnership with Tobii (the same company who provided the eye-tracking technology for the HTC Vive Pro Eye).
Both headsets boast a best-in-class 4K resolution, spatial stereo speakers, 101° Field of View, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor. Pico markets the headsets as being “Built with enterprise in mind,” with replaceable PU face inserts for mass use, kiosk mode, handsfree controls, and remote device management available.
The Neo 2 and Neo 2 Eye come in at $700 and $900 respectively, so they’re definitely at the higher end of the market (HP Reverb — $600, HTC Vive pro — $799, Oculus Rift S — $399).
Pimax Artisan 8K Headset
VR manufacturer Pimax announced its Artisan headset back in December 2019 with a hint that this new model would fill a low-price gap in the current Pimax offerings.
Now, at CES, Pimax has showcased the Artisan headset and another new headset — the Pimax 5K SUPER — an evolution in Pimax’s popular 5K series of headsets.
The Pimax 5K SUPER offers the same specs as the 5K Plus but with an enhanced 180Hz refresh rate — higher than any other headset on the market. The Pimax Artisan has 140° horizontal Field of View and 120Hz refresh rate. Both HMDs are SteamVR compatible and can be used with the Valve Index controllers.
XTAL Enterprise Headset Updated w/ Dual 4K Panels
California based company, VRgineers, is known for producing professional-grade VR headsets. At CES, it revealed it’s latest XTAL headset, built for NASA, with crisp 8K resolution visuals, improved lenses, foveated rendering, and video passthrough. The headset also has eye-tracking and gesture controls, thanks to the two Leap Motion sensors embedded underneath the headset.
The XTAL headset was introduced two years ago and has seen many improvements since, but the company has said that this latest version will bring “significantly better picture quality and readability.”
JBD Micro LED Display
China-based Jade Bird Display (JBD) revealed its latest portfolio of micro-LED displays, which are claimed to be perfect for AR/VR devices. These displays are the brightest and most pixel-dense displays to date — but here’s the amazing thing — one of them is smaller than a penny but capable of a blinding 3,000,000 nits.
To put the “3 Million Nit” measurement into context, LCD screens range from 200 to 500 nits, while the iPhone X can produce up to 809 nits for small portions of the screen… this little display packs one heck of a punch!
But what does this mean for VR headsets? Road To VR’s Ben Lang explains:
With 3 million nits of brightness at the source, the optical path doesn’t need to worry nearly as much about light efficiency, potentially allowing the use of cheaper lenses and more complex optical designs which can instead optimize for other factors. With 3 million nits brightness, the optical path of an AR or VR headset could be just 0.01% efficient and you’d still get a whopping 3,000 nits out the other side.”
Currently, JBD’s displays are monochromatic only with 256 color levels, so they aren’t ready for putting into the next Oculus headset, yet. However, the technology promises interesting things for the immersive industry and it will be exciting to see its development.