The Time is nigh for head mounted living!
Everybody is talking about VR these days (for a good reason), but there is also AR HMD news to note.
Last time I already mentioned the new META HMD and Hololens. So, let’s make a full HMD update out of it.
Can’t wait to see more coming up 2016 (will Google finally launch a real AR HMD with updated Tango technology? – Def. worth another post again.). So, today on the goggles:
META has started their pre-orders for their Dev Kit for Meta 2. Along came a sneak video with it. The upcoming TED talk with Meta’s CEO Meron Gribetz let’s us also hope for more and an on-stage live-demo to get convinced:
The Meta 2 has a broad 90° field of view, a very high resolution display (no other facts) and is tagged at $ 949. Their “direct hand interaction” claim is shown nicely in the first video: to manipulate the UI elements one can just push them over to tilt them or push them away. Grabbing and moving a floating car gives an explosive view in vertical direction. They also state the “most intuitive access to digital information” – whatever that means in detail. We cannot know by now if this means their own data ecosystem (and prison) or a great way to link into the system freely.
The footage is pretty promising and also allows us to see limitations e.g. in the field of view (when objects break up at the borders), the missing opacity or errors in the depth occlusion with the 3D parts (hands in front of the car, etc.). But overall a promising player in rivalry to Microsoft. Maybe their Meta 2 is lighter (and less heating up your brain) than the Redmond solution.
Microsoft’s devkit is open for pre-orders and will ship on March, 30th. So only two weeks to go! They flood their channel with more and more videos – so it’s definitely worth taking a look at it. One nice example is their catchy NFL clip:
At the currently running Game Developers Conference (GDC) Sulon Technologies (I reported before) now presented their HMD in cooperation with AMD. They tag it “Sulon Q” and it comes along with two front cameras for a video-see-through mode for AR (or to drink your glass of water in VR without spilling it all).
David Cardinal wrote a nice tech write-up on the Capsaicin event, where the HMD was presented along with other stuff like LiquidVR.
The tech teaser we know:
So, the Sulon Q hardware runs on Windows 10 on its embedded AMD FX-8800P processor with a Radeon R7 Graphics (4 compute, 8 GPU cores), features a 110° FOV on its 2560×1440 display, supports DirectX 12 and Vulkan, is cable-free and will be “coming in Spring”. So much for the specs…
… and now the Magic Beans demo:
The awesome part is obvious: with the stereo cameras it allows an AR mode (when you see your living room) and a seamless switch to VR (when the giant lifts you up)! This has nobody shown before! A wireless solution without external tracking would kick ass – and it should give the chills to Oculus et. al. if it really worked! Time to try it out…
Nevertheless, you will probably be bound to you WiFi (or another base station). If so, you could only use it in lab conditions again (the lab might be your living room). But then the question arises: is there enough creativity to build great AR experiences that always take into account the (boring) reality of the player’s environment? Sulon picked their demo wisely, but will we as consumers – caged into our room – have enough fun with AR there? Or would we rather want to jump into the VR beach landscapes instead? Consumer AR will definitely be huge when we are able to run around in the augmented city (you know the reference)…
For industrial use cases a limited indoor space AR setup might make more sense for now (enhancing product constructions or giving technical x-rays or instructions). But I’d be happy to get impressed the other way! :-)
… last but (possibly) not least is for sure the announcement by Sony. Their long expected VR headset for the PlayStation 4 now has a price tag ($399 / §399) and will hit our consoles in October. So, let’s jump right into their teaser to enjoy and end for today! Exciting month!!