It was only a prototype, but what a view. While Pimax is already shipping 4K virtual reality (VR) glasses, the prototype 8K versions I was able to test just blew me away. Each eye has a 3,840- by 2,160-pixel display that is more than six times the resolution of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It also has a 200-deg. field of view compared to the 110 deg. of the Oculus Rift (the human eye has only a 220-deg. field of view). The system has latency under 18 ms. None of the VR systems I have used even comes close. With these other systems there were always artifacts and other issues that impinge the VR experience, but not so with the Pimax 8K platform. This is where the rest of VR needs to get to.
Remember how everyone used to worry about Google Glass taking photos of everyone? At CES everyone was taking photos, but some were recording a bit more of the scenery. Here were two who decided that 360-deg. cameras were the way to go, and they weren’t the only ones. While these cameras do give you a feel for the vastness of CES, they don’t necessarily give you more insight. Of course, you also need a set of VR glasses to view these videos that are all over YouTube and other streaming services.
VR was everywhere, and you could find many clusters of VR users like this one. Even Intel had a large presentation where a large number of attendees were given VR glasses to wear. One interesting thing to note is the amount of support necessary to support viewers. Usually a demo was not something where you just put on the glasses and you interacted with the world. VR demos had more minders and explainers than the drone demos.
The Vuzix M3000 glasses (left) are designed for commercial and industrial use. They use Texas Instruments’ DLP technology to deliver WVGA resolution with more than 3,000 nits of brightness. The 13 Mpixel autofocus camera can also record 1,080p video. Flash included. It works with eyeglasses and even has a hardhat mounting.
The Royole Moon (right) is designed for viewing 3D videos or just watching 2D movies. Plus they are foldable for easy storage. The virtual 800-in screen generated by an AMOLED screen is matched with noise cancelling headphones.
Standing and sitting aren’t the only ways to enjoy virtual reality. Sometimes a little support is needed, especially when playing first-player 3D games. These examples were not unique, and the variety is as mind-boggling as the 3D glasses being used. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are well known but there were dozens of vendors hawking 3D glasses and virtual reality augmentation hardware that also includes vests, gloves, and more. We haven’t arrived at holodecks just yet, but they’re getting much closer.
Platforms like Virtuix’s Omni keep VR gamers upright, but this hardware nevertheless provides them with a new experience. It does a lot more than let you walk in any direction, and if you are worried about nausea from just wearing 3D glasses, then this experience may not be for you. VR and related technology is still in a state of flux, but this kind of hardware can deliver more than just visual feedback.
Technology Editor Bill Wong saw quite a bit at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Here are some of the augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies he came across.
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