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VR Trends Digest #2

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Published by admin
14 July 2020

Crossing the milestone: Facebook discontinues Oculus Go sales

Facebook drops support for the budget Oculus Go headset at the Enterprise VR, a business-oriented platform, at the beginning of 2020. The users are offered to shift to a fuller-featured Oculus Quest headset as the closest substitute. Why is it happening? 3 DoF-devices, one of which is Oculus Go, do not have fully immersive capabilities. Such a type of device allows us to track rotational motion not translational. It means we cannot determine whether the user has moved around the virtual scene by moving in real life. Only a limited number of actions are tracked when a user puts on a 3 DoF-device: head rotation up and down, left and right pivots. The advance of technological progress and the introduction of 6 DoF leaves behind what once was regarded as an innovation. Oculus Go was designed for passive VR experience such as viewing the content in VR. Also  it does not have full-fledged motion controllers, so they act more as a laser pointer than actually your virtual hands. 6 DoF-devices, on the contrary, allow to track both translational and rotational motion. It is very important for VR experience as it makes it possible to explore virtual environments, inspect objects, and perform real-life tasks in the digital location.

Recently Facebook has announced it’s discontinuing the Oculus Go project and ends the cheapest VR headset sales this year. This is how the corporation finally ceased to work with 3 DoF-devices.

It is worth noting that the corporation promises to maintain the viability of the product until 2022. However, any new content for Oculus Go is not expected, since developers will stop adding new applications after December 4, 2020.

VR/AR devices with Apple touch and design

Is Apple going to make a breakthrough in VR/AR industry with its two innovative AR/VR headsets the same way they did with the iPhone?

The company sees VR/AR technology as the next consecutive step in the digital transformation and has been investing in new product development for five years. The result is that they have two devices, N301 and N421, that they plan to launch in 2022-2023. Let us wait till 2021 when the first releases of Apple’s immersive devices appear and concentrate on prototype description.

At the present moment, the device N301 is designed for an all-encompassing immersive experience both VR and AR. The usage pattern includes it as a tool for overlaying information such as text messages, maps in front of a viewer as well as a means of immersing into gaming, and consuming content. N421 is an AR device only that is meant for AR only.

As Apple is concerned about the design of all its product lines, a conflict of product sophistication and productivity arouse in the process of N301 development. Initially, its prototype was an ultra-powerful device with advanced graphics and processing speed. As a result, the device could not support the load during the operation and HMD heated too much. To solve the problem, the development team created a stationary hub, which in prototype form resembled a small Mac, that would connect to the headset with a wireless signal. But the head of the Apple design department, Jonathan Ive, found the idea of having an external hub in the N301 unattractive to potential buyers. He suggested that it is better to create a less powerful, but more stylish augmented and virtual reality device. Still, leaving the hub idea aside means graphics won’t be as good as they might have been, and the download speeds could be slower. It will also probably make the experience less lifelike than originally hoped.

In addition, Jonathan Ive gave preference to the N421 model, since the device had a stylish design and less distracted people from the real world.

After discussions that lasted several months, Apple CEO Tim Cook decided that the N301 should ship without an external hub. So this device has evolved from a mixed reality headset into a standalone virtual reality helmet.

Having a closer look at the product development process, the final versions of the products are intriguing.

The future of shopping: VR controlled robots

COVID-19 pandemic transforms working patterns. The majority of the office staff have already been shifted to remote work. But in some areas, it is far from reality to apply this avant-garde approach. To name but a few, these are retail, public services, etc. The first approaches to bring science fiction into life have been done in Japan. This summer the convenience store chain Family Mart and robotics company Telexistence Inc are going to test a system where a non-human robot-vendor is operated in VR by a person being located far away. The robots will be used to stock store shelves. Remote human workers will operate their assistants via an HTC Vive headset. Three Vive Trackers cater to body and arms tracking, while a pair of Manus VR Glove tracks individual finger movements. 20 branches will be equipped with remotely controlled robots by the year 2022.

VR for fitness

YUR VR platform is the largest VR fitness tracking community for Daily workouts, achievement, and level goals. It allows us to estimate calories, set fitness goals, track heart rate with Bluetooth during a VR session. However, it is mainly a gaming experience in VR, YUR is remarkable to build up a community with multi-user support. The VR fitness platform has launched a user rating. Now a VR user can share the performance, as for example, a number of squats per hour of the game, calories, etc. The company’s slogan "We make YUR games a workout" is self-evident and allows the VR users to get fit after quarantine.

KAT WALK C for home usage

KAT WALK is a VR treadmill with a low-friction parabola and equally slippy footwear, making for a slick surface that simulates walking whilst in VR. It is compact and designed for at-home usage. KAT WALK C makes the virtual experience dynamic and even more realistic. A rear-mounted vertical harness allows you to stand and crouch at the same time keeps you in place while running, walking, strafing. It is compatible with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Pimax, and Windows VR. So the user can get the best of games at SteamVR. Even though this is one more feature to improve VR gaming experience, it is promising to be used in VR training, healthcare solutions, etc.

Anna Metsik
Virtual Reality Consultant
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