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Thought VR and AR were fads? CES would like a word with you

I’m ready for the virtual future.

man using vr headset to explore a space ship
Image: Unsplash

Listen up, forget about all those “death of VR” articles you’ve read recently. If CES 2020 is any judge of the future (and it really should be), both VR and AR have a bright path ahead. This year, VR- and AR-ready experiences from major automakers, peripheral developers, and streaming companies were all in attendance at CES, showing that the dream of mixed reality tech isn’t anywhere near over.

Oh, and it wasn’t just “you’ll be able to buy this in 5 years” tech either, but “this will be on shelves soon.”

CES 2020 will be remembered as the moment mixed reality went mainstream

While none of the established consumer VR companies had anything new to show off, CES was covered in companies showing off their VR headsets and accessories, both at consumer and enterprise levels.

Here are some of the best-mixed reality experiences and tech that has been shown off at CES 2020:

  • AARP’s Innovation Lab showed off the benefits of VR and AR for senior citizens, with Alcove Playground from Rendever making it easy for developers to make VR experiences for supporting seniors’ mental wellness; and HomeFit AR, which uses AR and a smart device to scan a room, then display suggestions for improvements to make that room a “lifelong home,” which really means what needs fixing to make it more comfortable and safe to live in.

    aarp alcovevr vr ces 2020

    Image: AlcoveVR

  • Hyundai showed off its S-A1 flying taxi by having simulated VR flights shown off on eight Pimax widescreen VR helmets, all under the canopy of the real thing suspended in the air above the booth
  • Audi showed off a car with AR icons popping up in your field of vision through the windows to flag things like charging stations or restaurants. The kicker? All the windows were actually video screens
  • bHaptics showed off their wearable haptic accessories, which all make the user look like a SWAT member while the actuators make you feel the game you’re playing

    bhaptics vr ces 2020

    Image: Cas and Chary VR (YouTube)

  • Nolo showed off a 6 degree-of-freedom controller solution that could be used with existing smartphones, PCs or headsets, with a relatively low $200 price tag
  • Both Pimax and VRgineers showed off “8K” headsets (4K per eye), that are meant for consumer and enterprise use
  • Nreal is still the top of the pile for AR glasses that don’t cost a kidney, but a crop of Chinese companies are closing in fast

    nreal vr glass ces 2020

    Image: Nreal

  • On the enterprise side, Vuzix showed off its M4000 AR headset which has a completely see-through waveguide display. Expect a $2,500 price tag when available later this year

Now, all we really need are some more killer apps and more usable user interfaces, and mixed reality can get as ubiquitous as the smartphone.

What do you think? Excited for the future of VR? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Maker, meme-r and unabashed geek. Hardware guy here at KnowTechie, if it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't) I probably have one around here somewhere. My hobbies include photography, animation and hoarding Reddit gold.

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