The value of the AR market will reach $100 billion by 2024 as smart glasses and improved interaction methods deliver optimised user experiences. New ABI Research finds that making the tech simple and accessible will increase AR adoption rates. Until then, AR on phones continues to rule the roost.
IDC has predicted a decrease in both AR and VR device shipments in the first half of this year as the COVID-19 outbreak disrupts supply chains. The analyst firm predicts a decline of 10.5 per cent year-on-year in Q1, followed by a 24.1 per cent fall in Q2. However, IDC believes the market should bounce back in the second half of the year.
While augmented reality headset firm Magic Leap promised much, it has struggled to deliver. After raising over $2 billion in funding, the company is now being touted for acquisition with a $10 billion price tag, according to Bloomberg, a figure TechCrunch believes is “ridiculous”. While AR headsets have a future, smartphones still dominate the AR device landscape.
As smaller pure-play VR/AR headset manufacturers struggle, tech giants like Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are intensifying their efforts. While most of Apple’s public interest has been in AR, the company is said to be ‘quite far along’ in negotiations to buy VR company NextVR for a rumoured $100 million. In related news, Microsoft has hired former Apple wireless executive Ruben Caballero in a bid to boost its own HoloLens mixed reality efforts. He’s been joined by Bill Stilwell from the firm’s Xbox division.
Facebook may have dealt a serious blow to Apple’s ambitions to launch its long-rumoured AR headset by signing a licensing deal with Plessey, a UK-based AR display manufacturer. Plessey was rumoured to be an acquisition target for Apple but Facebook now appears to have struck a deal to buy all of the UK firm’s total display output.
Sports footwear manufacturer Asics went virtual for the launch of its new range of running shoes. Rather than host journalists at its Tokyo HQ, the company shipped Oculus Quest headsets to press organisations and recreated its presentation in VR to demonstrate its latest product range.
7. Doctors use VR to detect COVID-19 lung damage
VR tech is helping doctors identify healthy and virus-infected lung tissue in their fight against COVID-19. Doctors at George Washington University Hospital said that using a VR technology simulation makes it relatively straightforward to identify the extent of virus damage in lungs.
Online game service Steam now collects data on wireless headsets throughout the month. The survey found the Oculus Rift S (released spring 2019) is now the service’s most widely used headset, replacing the four-year-old HTC Vive. The data reveals at least one million VR headsets were in active use during March.
Medical researchers have determined a test using VR could help patients with multiple sclerosis reduce the risk of falling. The tech works on the theory that MS patients might compensate for walking difficulties through overdependence on visual input. The VR simulation helped uncover previously undiagnosed differences in walking balance and could help identify balance impairments.
Australian triathlete Mirinda Carfrae lost out on a potential Ironman silver medal after her husband tripped over a power cable and disconnected her from the VR bike race at the 55-mile stage. Husband and fellow triathlete Tim O’Donnell had entered the room to offer encouragement. “Tim is racing next weekend and I won’t pull his cord out,” Carfrae said. “What an idiot!”
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