So, is augmented reality the future? It certainly is. And are ‘wearables’ going to be a hit? Well, you’ve already got headphones, a watch and a phone, so why not a pair of glasses too?
At CES (the Consumer Electronics Show) in California, it was wearable tech, augmented reality and virtual reality that made the biggest impact on the journos in attendance. It felt like we are now a little bit closer to a technological future that involves our environment and our whole bodies in ways that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago.
Here are a few CES gadgets that we can’t wait to get our hands on…
We are only just getting stuck into the development possibilities of Oculus and now they only go and release a new one! This was the big story from CES; the evolution of the breed that is the Oculus Rift Crystal Cove.
So, what’s different? Aside from a better-quality HD picture that helps eliminate dizziness-inducing motion blurring, the world’s first genuine (almost) commercially available virtual reality kit now has head tracking. This means that you not only look around your world, you can now experience true depth in your environment. This is all thanks to a camera located ahead of you, something that most computers and consoles already come equipped with. This is no pie-in-the-sky, it is ready to roll just as soon as the developers have got the right software to make the most of the astounding Oculus virtual reality experience. We’d better get our skates on!
This advanced headset is not as full-featured as Oculus, but it is home entertainment done properly. Apparently it projects a 720p image on to your retina! At only $500 and boasting the smartest design of any VR goggles so far, it does have an outside chance of success. It also requires less oomph to power videos and games on it, so it will happily run off a smartphone or tablet.
We’ve covered Epson’s Moverio glasses before, although it is now only a couple of months away from launching at an attractive $600 price point. Think of it as sitting between Google Glass and Oculus Rift, offering both augmented reality and a certain degree of virtual reality. The Moverio is not designed as an ‘always on’ augmented solution such as Google Glass; instead it is seen as an entertainment device or alternatively it is also being aimed at augmented reality business solutions. Moverio certainly looks a lot better than some rivals, but it doesn’t have the tech world buzzing like Google Glass or Oculus Rift, nor is Epsom a ‘cool’ brand like Sony.
There were plenty of new pieces of wearable tech at CES 2014, from full VR headsets to smart watches such as Pebble Steel. However, it was the Sony Core that caught our eye. Unlike many production-ready pieces on display, Core was described as a concept. It has all the usual features of a fitness band, but the actual device is interchangeable – so the user doesn’t need to commit to the same dreary plastic bracelet for years. However, where it really deviates from the crowd is the fact that it looks at your ‘digital lifestyle’ along with your fitness.