Inevitable Directions – Predictions on VR @ CES 2017

It was my first time at CES this year (2017) and was thrilled to see so many products and innovative ideas under one roof. I guess under any other year, things may be highly seasonal like fashion, but because we are changing as a society so quickly technologically, it really was a display of the next generation ahead to some extents, not just cyclical.

I have been readingĀ  the press – which just covered things according to flash/cool factor – but stepping back one, there seemed to be some inarguable themes as competition between two standards eventually leans a certain way. I’ll focus on VR because it is so much of a personal interest area.

This is forward-looking and may not play out in one-year but believe the long term advantages prove that one way of doing things is much better than the others.

  1. LED displays will no longer be the norm. Eye projection (ODG, Avegant, Magic Leap etc) as a method is much much more effective and at a smaller scale. LED was handy because of the mobile industry, but it requires a large headset, eye projection only need a reflective mirror or lens in front of your eye and a small projector, the form factor is much much smaller and lighter.
  2. Cameras for Eye tracking (foveated rendering along the lines of Fove) will be the norm. It is too easy to point a camera at your eyes to see where they are looking and the benefit to the scene/rendering/interaction is huge.
  3. Wireless headsets will happen (of course, fairly easy to guess that will take place). Glasses – as in ray ban style ones – will be the new form factor (before hitting any cybernetic phase I guess), along with wireless ear buds as the standard form factor 5-6 years from now.
  4. Cameras for environment. Base Stations are going away eventually. A camera looking at your hands may take place of a controller. Some people have tried this already, I think it may get better or at least the intermediate versions will be much cooler compact left and right hand controllers.
  5. Z Layer is more ubiquitous as a large cultural theme for how we interact with technology. Many things will have new expectations to incorporate the z layer in interaction.

Also cool but unrelated to VR was that so many smart objects were on view. Smart hairbrush, smart toothbrush, smart suitcase etc. It likely will be an option for those who can afford it. The predictions people made years ago will likely J-curve change into tangible change for theĀ  societies who are exposed to these new products.

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