The hype surrounding virtual reality (VR) has been raging for years. While the technology has seen many iterations over the years, technology advances have finally made consumer platforms a reality with Occulus, HTC’s Vive and Microsoft’s Hololens becoming popular.
However the year 2016 may be considered the year that augmented reality (AR) arrived, with numerous devices on the market in the form of toys, educational instruments, video games, police work, helping to fight wildfires and more.
The 2017 CES being held in Las Vegas this week will continue to evolve the market for VR and AR, as a number of new headsets will make their debut at the trade show. Here is a list of some of the cool gadgets headed to CES.
Vuzix Blade 3000
Vuzix will showcase a number of its smart glasses at CES, but its newest AR glasses will be drawing the most attention. Blade 3000 are wireless smart sunglasses that run on an Android operating system with integrated video and AR overlays.
Winner of the 2017 CES Innovation Award, Blade 3000 smart glasses allow consumers to connect to the cloud and take entertainment everywhere they go. The glasses feature improved AR displays, ergonomics, computing power and sensor technologies.
Vuzix will also host live drone demonstrations, at its booth, in a 17,000-cubic-foot flying cage mounted above the tradeshow. Attendees can view drones navigating a colored obstacle course and rings in HD.
ODG R-8 and R-9
San Francisco mixed-reality vendor Osterhout Design Group (ODG) has long been a supplier of VR and AR glasses for the military, aerospace and industrial markets. This week the company will debut its first commercial and consumer smart glasses at CES.
The R-8 is targeted to early adopters of AR that are looking to enhance their movies, sports, gaming, navigation and educational experiences. The glasses are not designed to be worn at all times but, instead, used specifically when entertainment is the goal. The R-9 smart glasses, winner of three CES 2017 Innovation Awards, are targeted to light enterprise to prosumer media users.
Both devices are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chipset, which ODG claims is the first time a wearable is using the processor. The company has also partnered with 21st Century Fox’s Fox Innovation Lab to provide movie and gaming experiences based on Fox’s library of content.
The Bridge VR headset from Occipital allows owners of Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 smartphones to bring 3-D representation of the real world. The Bridge headset is available for both VR and mixed reality using the company’s Structure Sensor to enable both large-scale positional tracking and real-time obstacle avoidance in virtual worlds.
Occipital claims that Bridge will be the first-available VR headset for smartphones that includes these 3-D features. It is priced at $399.
Stereolabs’ Linq mixed-reality headset is designed to turn a room inside your home into a gaming and entertainment hub.
Through HD stereo cameras, the headset blends virtual and real worlds together in an immersive and photorealistic way. Linq can interpret the world around it up from to 20 meters away. It allows users to pick up a virtual gun and shoot alien robots, dodge lasers, cast shadows on the floor and more.
Linq uses a special version of Stereolabs’ ZED stereo camera that replicates human vision. The built-in camera scans the environment in real-time and provides 6DoF inside-out world-scale positional tracking. Users can walk, jump, crouch and more. Release of Linq headsets will begin early this year, with a wider release date set for later in 2017.
Chinese consumer electronics company Pimax will debut its 4K ultra-HD VR headset at CES that supposedly features 4K resolution per eye and a 200° field-of-view. It has a sub 18-millisecond latency and will feature positional tracking and hand-tracked controllers. The headset will include two 4K liquid crystal display (LCD) screens to achieve the resolution.
Virtual reality headsets already require a considerable amount of power to run, however, two 4K eye screens running simultaneously will require a very powerful machine.