Augmented reality and virtual reality: why these technologies were the stars of CES 2023

HTC made perhaps the biggest announcement in virtual reality and augmented reality at this year’s show. But it was far from the only company diving into the array of these technologies. HTC

Virtual reality and augmented reality have looked poised to revolutionize consumer technology for years. While we can’t yet know if this year’s CES will be the tipping point that sends these technologies into living rooms, there were plenty of announcements that could help make augmented and virtual reality the successor to smartphones.

HTC’s new VIVE XR Elite is an all-in-one XR solution.

HTC VIVE XR Elite VR Headset

The modular design is just one aspect of the new helmet that sets it apart from current offerings. HTC

It should come as no surprise that HTC is at the top of this list. The VIVE XR Elite is a headset packed with intriguing and never-before-seen features. Whether it’s a modular design that allows you to wear it as glasses or a traditional VR headset, or the use of adjustable lenses that can help glasses wearers see more clearly, the VIVE XR Elite brings several improvements to Virtual Reality and Virtual Reality. Added.

Jason Hiner tries out the HTC Vive XR

ZDNET’s Jason Hiner tries out the HTC Vive XR. June Wan/ZDNet

The headset’s price tag of around $1,100 also places it well below its most obvious competitor,of Meta Quest Pro by Meta, aimed at businesses. The price drop comes with the loss of eye and face tracking (which HTC plans to add via an accessory), but also brings it closer to the price range customers were already willing to accept for previous models, including the original VIVE of HTC.

Time will tell if the price and feature set combine to see HTC reclaim the lead in the consumer VR sector, or if the Meta, or even one of the new entrants we’ll discuss below, will capture that crown.

TCL: an explosive device

The company’s NXTWear S glasses can create a 130-inch virtual screen from any video source. Photo: TCL

While everyone knew HTC was planning a big announcement, TCL surprised many by unveiling a trio of living room gadgets.

The simplest and most readily available are the NXTWear S glasses seen above. They fill an increasingly popular niche of non-real-AR glasses that provide a lightweight virtual display for your smartphone, tablet or handheld game console.

TCL's RayNeo X2 head-mounted display glasses

The RayNeo X2 glasses do not yet have an estimated release date. Photo: TCL

TCL also unveiled a pair of true virtual reality and augmented reality devices. The TCL RayNeo X2 glasses promise a full augmented reality experience in a form factor that, at first glance, could be mistaken for standard specs. The company touted things like the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 (Extended Reality 2) core and micro LED-based wave optics, while promising to perform practical tasks like translating texts into a foreign language literally before the viewer’s eyes. or navigation assistance. In city.

Learn more about TCL RayNeo X2 glasses

Finally, the NXTWear V headset, a full-scale VR solution, is a showcase of what TCL has in store. Impressive specs, such as a weight of 236 grams and a pixel density of 1512 ppi, could shake up the industry if they manage to make it from this concept to an actual offering.

Razer finally offers its accessories for virtual reality

Razer’s first two VR accessories, a headband and a face interface, installed on a Meta Quest 2 / Razer

Despite being one of the biggest gaming peripheral manufacturers on the planet, Razer had next to nothing for the virtual reality and augmented reality sector before this year’s show. That changed when, among many new products, Razer revealed plans for a pair of Meta Quest 2 accessories.

The two new offerings include a headband that promises to offer superior comfort and better weight distribution than the default elastic strap, and a new face interface that is touted as gentler on sensitive skin and more effective at blocking unwanted light.

Razer hasn’t released pricing or dates for either of these offerings yet, but expects to have them ready in the early months of 2023.

Lumus gives a boost to the dream of truly discreet augmented reality glasses

Lumus Z-Lens AR glasses

You may have to invade the wearer’s personal space to distinguish them from normal glasses. Image: Lumus

One of the biggest hurdles augmented reality technology has to overcome in order to become as widespread as existing wearable technologies is its tendency to make the user look like a weirdo. At CES 2023, Lumus showed off a new optical engine that shrinks its wave technology into a package so small it can be tucked into the top corner of an eyeglass lens.

Lumus Z-Lens

It may soon be possible to wear augmented reality glasses without looking like you’re masquerading as a cyborg. Image: Lumus

The new Z-Lens system offers 2048 x 2048 resolution for full-color AR content, along with a 50° field of view and LED brightness of over 4,000 nits per watt. So anything projected on your lens should be crisp and clear, even in direct sunlight.

We are still only in the prototype stage, but the technology is functional and ready to be integrated into the offerings of the major players, who we expect to continuously disrupt the market for augmented reality and virtual reality (yes, everyone expects what Apple can to do ).

Other announcements you may have missed

Holoride Retrofit Kit for in-car VR

The Holoride system aims to bring VR gaming to your car while hoping it doesn’t make you sick. Holoride

CES brings so much news and product announcements that it’s easy to miss a few things. It’s often half-heard ads like these that can turn an entire industry upside down within a few years. Let’s take a look at some of them at this year’s event.

Holoride’s retrofit kit can bring virtual reality gaming to any machine

Holorid Retrofit

The Holoride Retrofit Kit revolves around a main unit not much bigger than a hockey puck. Holorides

Holoride creates virtual reality experiences in cars. It might sound like a car sickness disaster, but the company’s technology allows it to create “elastic content” that matches in-game or app movements to the user’s actual vehicle movements. The result is an experience that many testers describe as comfortable and not as messy as you might think. At this year’s CES, Holoride debuted its new Retrofit system, which makes it possible to tailor virtual reality experiences to any vehicle.

The ball-shaped device that powers the entire experiment weighs less than a kilogram and is designed to be attached to the windshield using a suction cup. It then uses Bluetooth technology and a 14-hour rechargeable battery to connect to the user’s virtual reality headset and provide the data needed for Elastic Content experiments. The Retrofit is available as part of an $800 bundle that includes an HTC VIVE Flow headset, or as a standalone unit for $199.

Augmented reality enters the operating room, thanks to Magic Leap

Imagine your doctor being able to see real-time health data about you, just by looking at you… Magic Leap

There is probably no place on earth where a user needs to be more secure about their tools than in an operating room. That’s why it’s so impressive that Magic Leap’s latest augmented reality headset, the Magic Leap 2, has achieved IEC 60601 certification. ‘other clinical settings’.

Magic Leap and its partner SentiAR have already developed a software solution for the device that allows surgeons and doctors to see clinical data and live images without having to take their eyes off the patient. The companies say the solution can even perform complex tasks, such as inserting a catheter into a patient’s heart, by providing a 3D map of the organ superimposed on the doctor’s view.

Somnium Space brings modularity to the mainstream PCVR.

Somnium Space VR1 Headset

The headset is designed to be open source and easily modifiable. Somnium space

Somnium Space is an actor most people have probably never heard of. The company has been preparing a virtual reality headset for some time, but has run into supply chain issues that have caused it to delay development of a fully standalone unit. Fortunately, she was able to push forward with a PCVR headset for use with a computer at this year’s show.

Capable of wired or wireless gaming, the Somnium VR1 has some impressive core specs, such as 2880 x 2880 resolution, 120-degree field of view, and eye and hand tracking. However, it is the modularity of the device that sets it apart. Between three 10 Gbps USB-C ports for connecting accessories and three modular docking points, the device has the potential to be suitable for a massive variety of virtual reality and augmented reality scenarios.

The company even supports the ability for users to 3D print accessories for its headphones, further expanding the use cases and potential convenience. Somnium Space wasn’t ready to commit to a specific price or release date just yet, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.

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