CES, where businesses are showcasing cutting-edge innovations that might make virtual reality, or VR, more realistic, depending on whom you ask. So this new metaverse news has arisen from Las Vegas. The four-day technology conference in Las Vegas that closes on Sunday represented a lot of discussion about the metaverse, which is essentially a jargon for three-dimensional virtual communities where people can interact, socialize, and have fun.
The high-end VR headset that Taiwanese tech giant HTC unveiled is intended to compete with industry leader Meta. Other businesses and startups displayed sensory devices that allow users to feel and even smell in a virtual environment, such as augmented reality glasses.
A headset with a cartridge that has eight primary smells that may be combined to create new smells was displayed by Vermont-based OVR Technology. It is expected to be released later this year.
The ability to smell anything, from a romantic bed of roses to a marshmallow toasting over a campfire, is incorporated into VR eyewear, which is an older, more business-oriented version that was primarily used to promote fragrances and beauty products.
The company describes the solution, which includes an app, as a hybrid of an Instagram-like digital spa to help people unwind.
“We are entering an era in which extended reality will drive commerce, entertainment, education, social connection, and wellbeing,” according to the company’s CEO and co-founder Aaron Wisniewski. “The quality of these experiences will be measured by how immersive and emotionally engaging they are. Scent imbues them with unmatched power.”
But in terms of creativity, more potent and pervasive uses of taste and smell are still years away. According to experts, even more, user-friendly VR technologies are still in their infancy and are too expensive for the majority of people to purchase.
The statistics indicate a decline in interest. In this research firm NPD Group, sales of VR headsets, which are frequently used for gaming, decreased by 2% in 2017. For businesses that were banking on more customers purchasing their products, this is bad news.
Nevertheless, Microsoft and Meta are investing enormous sums of money. Other businesses are competing to gain market share for auxiliary technologies like wearables that replicate touch.
However, customers aren’t always pleased with what they discover. Ozan Ozaskinli, a tech consultant who flew more than 29 hours from Istanbul to attend CES, put on a pair of yellow gloves and a black vest to test out a gadget known as “haptics,” which stimulates our sense of touch by buzzing and vibrating.
Ozaskinli was attempting to type a code onto a keypad so he could pull a lever and release a box containing a brilliant gemstone. But I was generally disappointed.
Ozaskinli responded, “I think that’s far from reality right now. But if I was considering it to replace Zoom meetings, why not? At least you can feel something.”
Virtual reality proponents say that since it will make it simpler to be with anyone, anywhere, at any time, everyone will ultimately profit from it. Companies that want to provide users with the most immersive experiences are eager to employ these technologies, even if it’s too early to predict what they will be able to do when they’re completely developed.
Next month, Flare, a company, will release a VR dating app called Planet Theta. Aurora Townsend, Flare’s chief marketing officer, claims that once the technology is more widely available to customers, her team would create the software to support more senses including touch.
The nuanced ways we connect with people will change, according to Townsend, once haptic technology is completely integrated into virtual reality. “For instance, holding your partner’s hand while you walk together or being able to feel the earth.”
However, Matthew Ball, a metaverse authority, doesn’t believe that many of these items will catch on shortly, not even in video games. He argued that the first industries to employ haptics and virtual reality will likely be those with larger resources and more specialized requirements, such as bomb squads and the medical industry.
Neurosurgeons at Johns Hopkins University claimed to have performed spinal fusion surgery and removed a malignant tumor from a patient’s spine using augmented reality in 2021.
David Goldman said that the company’s vice president of marketing, optical technology from Lumus, an Israeli company that manufactures AR glasses, is already being used by fighter pilots, surgeons, and underwater welders who want to view a patient’s vital signs or MRI scans during a procedure without having to look up at multiple screens.
The co-founder and CEO of Xander, Alex Westner, said that a pilot program with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will begin the next month to try out some of the company’s technology. A Boston-based business called Xander creates smart glasses that display real-time subtitles of in-person discussions for hearing-impaired users. In some of the organization’s clinics, he claimed, veterans with appointments for hearing loss or other auditory issues will be able to try on the glasses. If all goes well, the agency might become a client, according to Westner.
In other regions, large corporations have started releasing various virtual reality ventures, including Walmart and Nike. Yet, it’s unclear how much they will stand to earn from the technology in its infancy. According to the consulting company McKinsey, the metaverse might generate $5 trillion by 2030. But according to Michael Kleeman, a visiting scholar at the University of California, San Diego, and a tech strategist, the majority of VR use today isn’t all that significant outside of gaming.
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