Recent AR and VR Technology Developments Seen at CES 2019

Before the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), VR and AR tech enthusiasts like us longed to see the next generation of wearable technology. CES 2019 did not disappoint. We witnessed amazing gadgets in the event this year, and here are the interesting AR and VR technology developments we spotted:

HTC’s Announces their Newest VR Headsets

First on the list is HTC’s Vive Pro Eye, which possesses the power of Tobii’s Eyetracking Technology. Demos show that images render at full fidelity in areas where the user focuses; the other areas render at 25% (which is amazing). This saves GPU processing power.

Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat

Another tethered VR headset that will join HTC’s family is Vive Cosmos. The specs are not out yet, but General Manager Dan O’Brien said that they want Cosmos to be a scalable VR headset — a device that you can use in multiple configurations. The plan is to make it compatible with PCs, laptops, and smartphones.

So far, the Vive Cosmos headset’s simple and futuristic design is commendable. It looks great together with its glowing controllers.

Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat
Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat

To date, HTC has five Vive models:

  1. Vive (the flagship, tethered headset)
  2. Vive Focus (standalone)
  3. Vive Pro
  4. Vive Pro Eye
  5. Vive Cosmos

Oculus Quest Headset Teasers

We think Oculus gears up to make their Quest headset the most anticipated standalone headset this year. Months from its release, price of Rift headsets dropped. The company also conducts demos in different expos and events so people all over the world can see (and fell excited about) their newest VR gear.

Battle of the AR Gears: RealMax vs Nreal vs Vuzix Blade

The Nreal AR Glasses already look similar to the shades we wear today. They don’t look awful or silly at all! It’s surprisingly slim and lightweight (85g), considering it has projection gears, sensors, and cameras. If you ask us, the specs of this device are impressive. It runs with Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, has speakers that produce 360-degree spatial sound, 1080p projection, and built-in microphones for voice command and smart assistants. The eyepiece provides a 52-degree augmented field of view (FOV) and 6DoF (six degrees of freedom), while the round, wireless controller only has three degrees of freedom.

Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat

Vuzix Blade is one of those AR glasses that look like regular eyewear. It has basic AR functions: the camera, screen, microphone, and a touchpad. 

Vuzix Blade Smartglasses
Vuzix Blade Smartglasses

Meanwhile, Realmax’s Qian headset uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, has 1080p AR display, a wider 100.8-degree field of view (which is immersive, like a VR headset). Makers of it say you can shift from AR to VR viewing, depending on what you need. It has 6DoF tracking and powerful 9-axis sensors. It is not slim and fancy-looking as the first two AR glasses mentioned, but you can wear this with your prescription glasses.

Image Credit: Jeremy Horwitz/VentureBeat

Other notable observations

  1. More and more startup companies are coming up with powerful VR and AR headsets. Some models are lighter but with specs and functions of high-end ones.
  2. Apart from designing and manufacturing headpieces, these companies are also creating VR controllers which location-based entertainment VR can use, instead of using expensive brands.
  3. Unfortunately, some of the cool VR and AR gadgets shown in CES 2019 are expensive and exclusive for enterprises. There are items that cost more than US $1000 — and an average consumer might not afford to buy them.
  4. Hydraulic VR rides will be a thing in theme parks or county fairs.
  5. Pico’s G2 4K VR headset has an impressive and stunning 4K resolution screen and we hope it upgrades to a faster processor.

At the end of the day, CES made us realize that the year 2019 is a year of growth for AR and VR technology. The headsets we have today are awesome, but we still hope for these to improve and cost less in the near future. That’s the only way for it to become ubiquitous.