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Jul 27

Top virtual reality technologies to watch out for - EOY '17

Posted in Virtual Reality on by Maggie Lane

The road to virtual reality has been bumpy, and not as paved with gold as we in the industry had hoped for. That being said, we’ve come a long way since the original clunky Oculus headsets, and the amount of technological progress in just a few years is staggering. All told, 2017 is becoming a banner year for VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality) and XR (Extended Reality). Here are some of the developments we’re most excited about.

Facebook volumetric camera

Facebook may have a revolutionary camera system in the pipeline. Later this year, they will be launching two new 360 cameras. Facebook has been working with OTOY (famous for their holographic imagery) on this endeavor. Not only will the quality be amazing, but more importantly, viewers will be able to walk around the captured video in virtual reality. There are two varieties (one with 6 lenses, and one with a whopping 24). Both systems also have a streamlined way of stitching VR video which is currently a painstakingly long process.

Wireless Vive with TPCast

The literal ball and chain of the VR industry is the need for high-resolution HMD’s to be tethered to computers. Enter the TPCAST. Free at last! Although the device allows you to use a Vive VR headset without a cord, the quality is almost identical, and there is virtually no latency, quite an impressive feat. The battery lasts almost 5 hours, but it does need to be charged for 8-10, so that’s a bit of a drag. However, the freedom to walk around in VR is the future, and hopefully for us Vive users, the TPCAST will receive the FCC approval it is currently seeking soon.

Leap Motion Mobile Platform

Leap Motion, which you can learn about it here, is also making waves in the tetherless game. The company first came on the scene for their expert hand-tracking software. Yet their new aim is to be the top of the line in terms of wireless headsets. This involves tackling several problems at once, namely: resolution, latency, accurate tracking, and field of view. It’s no wonder then that our equally ambitious company would want to collaborate with Leap Motion. We are excited to “hint” at a collaboration between X Studios and Leap Motion. Stay tuned!

Launch of ARkit

We’ve already written about AR here (link to AR article on your site) on how creative the developments from the ARkit are getting. It’s no wonder then that we are baiting our breath for the release of the iOS 11 update this fall. Essentially, along with many sweet upgrades, the new software will make the fruits of AR developers’ labors accessible to the public. Apple was dragging in the augmented reality race, and it looks like they’re about to make up for it. Of course, there’s still no word on an Apple branded VR headset, but one can dream.

New Daydream headset

Sales of Google’s Daydream have been less than impressive. There are many hypothesized reasons why, but most common is because the Pixel is just expensive. Asking people to switch their phones in order to have a VR experience in their back pocket is nice in theory, but has not been paying off. Google is hoping to change that later this year with the launch of its new headset. This one, it appears, requires no PC and no phone. It is wireless, tetherless, and hopefully, a bit more wallet-friendly. Expect Daydream sales to increase once this hits shelves.

The hot developments this year are mostly centered on ease of use, lighter headsets, increased quality, and utility of software. Essentially, doing the important work of making the average person more likely to put on a headset and keep it there. Whether VR, AR, MR (or even the catch-all XR), more users will benefit everyone in the industry. We here at X Studios are excited to embrace the future. We constantly get to work on these technologies before they are released to the public. Do you have a marketing campaign that could use some of these technologies? Contact us so we can start the conversation.