Is 2016 the Year of VR?

I came back from another conference and we’ve got two weeks of news to catch up on. Luke is working hard on his C3P0 outfit and shows off the progress.

Show Notes for Wearable Today Ep 94

  • Apple is building VR! According to the Daily Mail, Doug Bowman has joined Apple, and as a former director of Human-Computer Interaction with a focus on VR, they think this points to same big changes at Apple. No other information is known at this time, but the fact that Apple is getting behind VR, it points to a very interesting 2016.
  • 4D rides at amusement parks have been pretty popular for a while now, but what if you could look all around you and enjoy the experience in VR or AR? Darren Brown’s Ghost Train will be an all new type of experience, where you are inside an actual train car, suspended 10 feet in the air. Multiple participants should be able to ride the experience at once, but how it will play out is yet to be determined. The ride will be launching at Thorpe Park in London later this Spring.
  • MyKronoz is a new Swiss company focusing on building smartwatches. Their new ZeRound watch connects to Android and iOS devices, and runs it own custom software. At only $99, this watch provides a nice entry level option for people only concerned with making calls, getting notifications, and basic fitness tracking. Look for it launching in March of this year, just a few weeks away.
  • Samsung is doubling down on VR, taking on the task of producing more VR content themselves. They’re opening a studio in New York to build the experiences, which will likely be exclusing to Samsung devices initially.
  • We look at FitPal and it’s crowdfund
  • Focus – is 2016 the year of VR?
  • From Jeff: This year is the year for VR goggles – so the industry is implying. Oculus was a big name at CES and I have been seeing a lot of companies using VR. While at NAMM, I watched an Augmented Reality segment with drummer Steve Gadd on different Yamaha drum sets. I watched a company with a VR drumset.I even listened to House of Cards star Kevin Spacey talk about how VR will change multiple landscapes. Being able to emmerse yourself from anywhere. This last weekend with the east coast blizzard, you could have stayed home, put on goggles and still attended a show.In five years we’re going to see VR change some businesses. For example, you will have a choice to see Episode 9 in 2D, 3D, 4D, or VR. Imagine that – you can watch X-Wings and Tie Fighters fly over your head in battle, or watch a piviol scene and hear a voice behind you. You turn your head and feel like you’re in-between a conversation.
    Even though that is a ways away, companies that try to adopt the new technologies will be doing it now. That is the one thing about the Porn industry. They are those early adopters.
    And from what I saw, the news at the AVN awards this last weekend was Virtual Reality was kicking into high gear.
  • From Luke: I think this year will be a big turning point for VR. That’s been said every year for the past several years, but we’re finally seeing the hardware come out, and the software to back it up. The Oculus Rift has gone in to real production, and I’ve heard several people say the HTC Vive is an amazing experience. Microsoft is going HoloLens, Google has cardboard, and now Apple has brought someone on board to help tackle their issues. Everyone is in the space now.
    One of the big issues I haven’t seen addressed is how this will work in the home. Will people have to have empty rooms so they can have a holodeck? Seated experiences in a rotating desk chair work pretty well, but eventually people will want to move around more, and it won’t be as immersive if you’re just sitting. But all that hardware will be expensive, will the average person really want to do it?
    I think back to the Wii, when people made more room to play in their living room, instead of just sitting. VR takes that to the next level, or at least it could.

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