10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets & Technologies that We’re All Thrilled to Try

Time flies fast in this tech-enabled world. It was only 2016 when VR tech giants launched the current high-end headsets we use to experience the first generation of VR. While others release games and software for the first generation hardware, others create the next generation VR and AR headsets and other technologies. Once launched, these new projects will shake up the industry.

In this blog, we’re going to introduce the newest and most exciting products and technologies for VR and AR space. These are likely to come in the next two years.

1. Half Dome by Oculus

After several years of research and development, in May 2018, Oculus revealed the prototype of their Half Dome headset.

It’s the next big thing after the launch of Rift, their first consumer headset.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
A prototype of the Half Dome headset by Oculus. Photo courtesy of their Facebook page.


The Half Dome headset features a larger 140° field of view compared to the Rift’s 100°. This gives the user a more immersive experience in the virtual world.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
The view from the Rift headset vs. Half Dome prototype. Photo courtesy of their Facebook page.


The headset has a varifocal display, which makes the visuals more realistic. The screen dynamically changes its focus as you shift your eyes from one object to another. It makes use of a powerful eye tracking technology—making this headset a real game changer.


2. Knuckles by Valve

This one is a mashup of two tools. Valve’s Knuckles controller possesses the finger tracking technology of a VR glove, allowing the user to grab virtual objects. The stick still has buttons which they use to navigate the menu and the digital environment they see. This combination of useful tools makes the virtual world more realistic and interactive for the user.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
Valve’s Knuckles controller. Photo courtesy @AntonHand via Twitter


In June 2018, Valve told the press about their new updates on the Knuckles controller. They added a force sensor in the controller’s handle to imitate the user’s grip in the virtual world. They added an ergonomic strap too, so the controller stays in the hands of the user even when they released the handle. This addition will open interactive possibilities like crushing things with your hand, throwing objects, and doing realistic training simulations.


3. North Star by Leap Motion

HoloLens won’t be the only AR headset available soon. Leap Motion designed a prototype of their own, and they called it the North Star.


It has a wide 100° field of view, low latency, high resolution, and the company’s original hand-tracking sensor.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
This is augmented reality’s breakthrough headset. Photo courtesy of Leap Motion


Leap Motion created North Star for developers who want to build and test their futuristic AR apps. The company believes in a future where people walk around wearing an AR headset, and they want to have the breakthrough product for it.


4. Santa Cruz by Oculus

Oculus also works on an ambitious, standalone VR headset called Santa Cruz. They say it’s like an advanced and more powerful version of their GO headset.


Apart from being wireless, Santa Cruz offers 6DOF tracking, meaning that user can physically move around while using the headset. They will pair it with 6DOF motion controllers, enabling the computer to track the user’s head and hand movement, thus making it possible to play games in a more immersive way.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
The Santa Cruz headset is like an advanced version of their low-cost headset, GO. Photo courtesy of Oculus.


Oculus has been working on the Santa Cruz headset since the last quarter of 2016. They gave the world an update last year and might reveal another at their developer conference this September.


5. Ultra-Dense Displays

Display companies today are creating ultra-dense displays that aim to make virtual environments look great in both VR headsets and the typical computer monitor. They wanted to eliminate the screen door effect, where the user can see dark spaces between pixels that form a grid as if you’re viewing the image through a fine screen door.


So far, Samsung is developing a 3,840 × 2,160 VR display with 1,200 pixels per inch; Google and LG with a 4,800 × 3,840 display with 1,443 pixels per inch; and INT promise an astounding 2,228 pixels per inch display for VR headsets.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
This is LG & Google’s 1,443 pixels per inch OLED VR display. Images courtesy Google & LG


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
Without VR optic (bare panel). Images courtesy Google & LG


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
With VR optic. Images courtesy Google & LG


Ultra-Dense Displays aim to achieve what the human eyes are capable of, and it’s going to take some time before we get there.


6. Bionic Display Headset by Varjo

Ultra-dense displays aren’t here yet, but Varjo has a VR headset with retina resolution. It claims to run in human eye resolution.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
This is Varjo’s VR headset that runs on human eye resolution. Photo courtesy of Road to VR.


Varjo’s VR headset boasts its Bionic Display which offers a fully immersive field of view and high-resolution imaging without noticing pixels or experiencing the screen door effect. They recently input eye-tracking technology to enhance the movement of their headset’s cinematic display.


7. 150° Waveguide by DigiLens

Current AR glasses and prototypes offer a large field of view, but they’re bulky. DigiLens, a developer of transparent waveguide display technology, wants to turn that around. They want to replace AR tech’s bird bath style optics into a glasses-sized device that people can wear every day.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
DigiLens dreams of AR glasses that are small and handy like today’s eyewear. Image courtesy DigiLens


DigiLens approach involves printing light manipulating structures into a thin and transparent material. These will guide the light along the optic, making the lens and the display of the device. When they succeed, AR headsets in the future will have more compact designs.


8. Eye Tracking technology

In the first generation of VR, eye-tracking is about the screen’s ability to render sharply at the centre of your vision and less sharp in your peripheral vision. It aimed to save processing power.


Now, eye-tracking technology grew to enhance the user’s VR experience. It’s essential in creating realistic imagery in Oculus’ varifocal displays and in Varjo’s Bionic Display. We’ve mentioned these VR headsets earlier, and we’re excited to see how powerful they are in person.


9. 8K Headset by Pimax

Today’s high-end consumer VR headsets offer a 100° field of view, but Pimax’ 8K VR headset took it up to a 200° ultra-wide field of view and a 7,680 × 2,160 resolution.


10 Next Generation VR and AR Headsets
Pimax “8K” V5 prototype. Photo by Road to VR


After their successful Kickstarter campaign, the company proceeded to mass production and will ship to their Kickstarter backers by end of the year.


If Pimax succeeds, their headset set a new bar for immersion technology.


10. High-precision Stylus by Massless

There is an increasing number of quality VR apps for art and design, but there are no tools to use them efficiently. We have controllers and gloves, but these don’t replicate the feeling of a pen, pencil, or a paintbrush. Massless is about to change that by developing a VR stylus with great accuracy.


Massless’ stylus is the perfect tool for people using VR for art and other design applications. Photo courtesy of Road to VR.


Massless hopes to address the needs of professionals who use VR to make their work easy. Architects and graphic designers, for example, demand tools that are manipulated by their fingers, not their wrists. A stylus will help them to produce better and natural drawings.


Are you excited about these upcoming VR & AR headsets and technologies too? Tell us about it in the comment section below!