Highlights from Vancouver’s Consumer Virtual Reality Conference

This year’s Consumer Virtual Reality Conference (CVR2017), spanned two days and attracted some of the biggest players in the VR space to the Vancouver Convention Centre (just blocks away from our HQ!).

Below are a few takeaways from the conference, and what to expect from VR in the coming months/year.

Headsets are still awkward as hell

A lot of R&D is being directed towards mitigating the awkwardness of headsets. Specifically, efforts are focused on removing wires, canceling outside noise and reducing the headsets’ general cumbersomeness. We saw a lot of cool modular headsets that allowed for customization, but the tech is still far from practical and user-friendly.

VR headsets are still awkward

Eye tracking tech is lowering the barrier to entry

Foveated rendering is a new video game technique that uses eye-tracking to reduce the rendering workload. It does this by lowering the image quality of things in the user’s’ peripheral vision, offering a more fluid, seamless experience. This new technique will lower the barrier to entry, allowing new players to enter the space, not to mention increasing performance from existing hardware like mobile devices.

This eye tracking tech will also allow content creators (and advertisers) to better understand how users navigate and react in the virtual world.

An animated gif showing how foveated rendering works in virtual reality.

It’s still all about the games

Gaming (and pornography) are going to dominate the VR space for the foreseeable future. The majority of booths were focused on gaming, and with the multiplayer gaming industry being what it is, it’s not hard to see why.

Outside of the game industry, we saw some great examples of VR used for more practical, training and educational purposes. Take BCIT’s veterinarian booth for example, where users were able to see through semi-transparent animals, reach inside them and pull out organs. Surprisingly, It reads far creepier than it is in reality. Then, with the organ in hand, information about the organ appeared beside you to educate you about it.

Similar educational booths contained simulations aimed at teaching gardening and mechanics.

VR and 360 Video are just getting started

Huge gains in virtual app, phone and camera technology have made AR, VR and 360 videos more accessible than ever before, and we’re just getting started. As this tech becomes smaller, more cost effective and new, increasingly practical use cases are discovered, you can expect this sort of technology (like depth-sensing phones) to be the standard moving forward. These technologies will become a seamless part of everyday life, merging the physical and digital world together, with entire industries created to support/service them.

Overall, CVR2017 gave us a glimpse into the movers and shakers in the space, the many advancements made in the past year, and some of the challenges and frontiers yet to be conquered. Regardless of what comes next, we’ll be here right in the thick of it!

Were you at CVR2017? If so, let us know what stood out to you in the comments section below!

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