Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have been looking like they are about to revolutionize mainstream technology for years now. While we can’t say if this year’s CES will be the tipping point that sends these technologies into everyone’s living rooms, there have been plenty of new releases and debuts that could go a long way toward making augmented and virtual reality “the next big event.” Thing.”
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HTC’s new VIVE XR Elite is an ‘all-in-one’ XR solution
It shouldn’t shock anyone that HTC is leading this segment. the The much awaited VIVE XR Elite has been revealed Show off a headset with some interesting, never-before-seen features. From a modular design that lets you wear it either like glasses or in a traditional VR headset, to its use of adjustable lenses that can help actual eyeglasses wearers see more clearly, the VIVE XR Elite has brought many upgrades to AR and VR that just felt like an overdue At this stage.
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The speaker’s $1,100 price tag also puts it well below its obvious competitor. Enterprise-focused Meta Quest Pro. The price drop comes with the loss of eye and face tracking (something HTC plans to add via an accessory), but also brings it closer to the price range consumers were already willing to accept for previous models, including HTC’s original VIVE.
Time will tell if the price point and feature set combine to put HTC back at the top of the consumer VR space, or if the Meta, or even one of the newcomers we’ll discuss below will clinch that crown.
TCL explodes onto the scene
TCL’s contribution was less predictable for this year’s show. While everyone knew HTC was planning something big, TCL shocked many Three devices were unveiled at the show.
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The simplest and most immediately available are the NXTWear S goggles shown above. It fills an increasingly popular niche of unreal glasses that provide a lightweight, head-mounted virtual display for your smartphone, tablet, or handheld game console.
TCL also unveiled a pair of augmented reality and virtual reality devices. The TCL RayNeo X2 glasses promise a complete AR experience in a form factor that, at a glance, could be mistaken for a standard spec. The company touted inclusions like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 (Extended Reality 2) and its Micro LED-based waveguide optics while promising to power practical tasks like translating foreign-language text, literally in front of viewers’ eyes, or helping them navigate around town.
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Finally, the NXTWear V headset, a large-scale VR solution, is a showcase of what TCL has in the pipeline. Cool features like a weight of just 236g and 1512ppi pixel density could disrupt the industry if they made their way from this concept design to a real-world display.
Razer finally brings its accessories to VR
Despite being one of the largest makers of gaming peripherals on the planet, Razer had almost no interest in the AR/VR space entering this year’s show. That changed when, among several new products, Razer has revealed plans for a pair of Meta Quest 2 accessories.
The two new offerings include a head strap that promises superior comfort and better weight distribution compared to the default rubber strap, and a new face interface that’s described as gentler or sensitive skin and better at blocking unwanted light.
Razer isn’t ready with pricing or rendering yet, but expects it to be ready within the first few months of 2023.
The dream of separate augmented reality glasses really gets a boost from Lumus
One of the biggest hurdles that augmented reality technology needs to overcome in order to be as ubiquitous as current wearable technologies is its tendency to make the wearer appear geeky. at CES 2023, Lumos demonstrated a new optical engine It shrinks waveguide technology into a package so small it can be hidden in the top corner of an eyeglass lens.
The new Z-Lens system delivers 2048 x 2048 resolution for full color AR content, plus a 50-degree field of view and more than 4,000 lumens per watt of LED illumination. This should make anything projected onto the lens clear and crisp, even in bright sunlight.
It’s still in the prototype stages, but the technology is working, ready to be incorporated into offerings from the major players we endlessly expect to disrupt the AR/VR market (I’m looking at you, Apple).
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Ads you may have missed
CES brings so much news and so many product announcements that some things are easy to miss. It’s often small, unheard of announcements like this that would shake up the entire industry in a few years. Let’s take a look at a few of those from this year’s event.
Holoride’s Retrofit collection can bring virtual reality gaming to any vehicle
Holoride creates in-car virtual reality experiences. This may seem like a motion sickness disaster waiting to happen, but the company’s technology allows it to create “elastic content” that maps in-game or in-app movements to the movement of a user’s car in the real world. The result is an experience that many testers reported to be relaxing, and not as nauseating as one might expect. This year’s CES finds Holoride launching the new update, a way to bring in-car VR experiences to any vehicle.
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The puck-like device for the entire experience weighs less than eight ounces and is designed to be attached to the windshield via a suction cup mount. From there, it uses Bluetooth and a 14-hour rechargeable battery to connect to a user’s virtual reality headset, providing the required data needed for fluid content experiences. The Retrofit is available as part of an $800 combo that includes the HTC VIVE Flow headset, or as a standalone unit for $199. From the Holoride online store.
Augmented reality is now in play thanks to Magic Leap
There is probably no place on earth where a user needs to be more sure of their tools than in the operating room. This is what makes it so impressive that Magic Leap’s latest augmented reality headset, the Magic Leap 2, has achieved IEC 60601 certification. This designation allows it to be used “in the operating room as well as in other clinical settings.”
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Magic Leap and its partner SentiAR have already developed a device software solution that allows surgeons and clinicians to view live clinical data and images without having to take their eyes off the patient. The companies claim this can help with delicate tasks like inserting a catheter into a patient’s heart by providing a 3D map of the occluded organ in the doctor’s view.
Somnium Space brings modularity to consumer PCVR
Somnium Space is a player you most likely haven’t heard of. The company has been preparing a VR headset for some time, but has run into supply chain issues that have delayed an entire standalone unit. Fortunately, I was able to come forward with a PCVR headset for use with a PC at this year’s show.
Capable of both wired and wireless gaming, the Somnium VR1 boasts impressive core specs like a 2,880 x 2,880 resolution, 120-degree field of view (FOV), and eye and hand tracking. However, it is the modularity of the device that makes it stand out. Between three 10Gbps USB-C ports for connecting accessories and three modular tethering points, the unit has the ability to adapt it to a wide range of VR and AR scenarios.
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The company is also supporting the ability for users to 3D print accessories for its headphones, which increases the potential use cases and convenience. Somnium Space isn’t ready to commit to a specific price or release date just yet, but it’s definitely worth a look.