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Why Virtual Reality Headsets Failed to Create Craze Among Masses?

There is no doubt that enterprise AR is evolving quickly, especially in the fields of healthcare, education and at firms that aim to enhance customer experiences

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virtual reality headsets
Having been around for nearly five years now, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are yet to find adoption among the masses. Pixabay

Having been around for nearly five years now, Virtual Reality (VR) headsets are yet to find adoption among the masses. You only find them tucked away in a corner at the neighbourhood mall where kids wearing head-mounted devices (HMDs) experience virtual games. Even those who bought VR headsets — either as an independent unit or bundled with smartphones — have dumped those at home.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the global Augmented Reality (AR) and VR headset market returned to growth after a full year of decline in the first quarter this year, as global shipments reached 1.3 million — up 27.2 per cent — from the same quarter last year.

VR headsets represented 96.6 per cent of the combined AR/VR market during the quarter with strong volumes from top companies such as Sony, Facebook, HTC, Pico and 3Glasses. There is no doubt that enterprise AR is evolving quickly, especially in the fields of healthcare, education and at firms that aim to enhance customer experiences.

“Many companies are actively looking for hardware solutions they can use to improve existing business processes and drive new ones,” says Tom Mainelli, Group Vice President, Consumer and Devices Research, at IDC. However, VR headsets have failed to strike a chord with the consumers.

virtual reality headsets
VR technology is not able to rule out nausea and other health-related issues while experiencing it. Pixabay

“One of the main reasons why VR is not booming into the consumer segment is because of the uncomfortable, clunky headsets — even early VR adopters have complained of mental fatigue due to prolonged use of VR headsets,” Prabhu Ram, Head – Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told IANS. “Secondly, there is a clear dearth of quality VR content that one could watch,” he added.

Reports suggest that even as a relatively young technology, AR has shown more promise than VR as it involves adding visual elements to the real world — typically via smartphones. Unlike VR, it does not push users into distinct virtual environments.

According to Delhi-based tech entrepreneur Tanuj Malhotra, who is working on his own VR startup called VRover, the technology is not going to come to life anytime soon. “It is impossible for VR to take off and compete with AR unless vendors make some serious changes from the consumers’ perspective,” said Malhotra.

“VR content out there is not readily available to consumers. Also, the VR technology is not able to rule out nausea and other health-related issues while experiencing it,” he added.

virtual reality headsets
VR headsets have failed to strike a chord with the consumers. Pixabay

According to Jack McCauley, one of the co-founders of Oculus, Facebook-acquired VR firm Oculus may not be profitable as the social networking giant is struggling to bring VR to the mainstream consumer market. “There are a lot of fundamental issues that remain unresolved with VR gaming,” McCauley, who stayed through Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of the company in March 2014, told CNBC.

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McCauley mentioned how people still get nauseated when they put on a VR headset and how they still prefer to play video games alongside their friends on a 2D display. “Consumer interest in VR, while still in its infancy, will see a slow and steady traction as specific use-cases, such as gaming, are pushed forth,” noted Ram. IDC expects standalone and tethered headsets to drive the VR market growth.

“Standalone VR headsets will capture 38.2 per cent of the VR market in 2019, up from 26.6 per cent in 2018. Tethered VR headsets will have a share of 46.1 per cent this year, versus 44.1 per cent last year. Finally, screen-less viewers will decline to 15.7 per cent, down from 29.3 per cent last year,” the IDC predicted. (IANS)

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Artificial Skin Made of Silicon Helps In Enhanced VR Experience

Scientists have developed a soft, flexible artificial skin made of silicone and electrodes that can help in rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality

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AI Skin, silicon, Virtual Reality, VR
This is ideal for wearable applications, such as for testing a patient's proprioception in medical applications. VOA

Scientists have developed a soft, flexible artificial skin made of silicone and electrodes that can help in rehabilitation and enhance virtual reality (VR).

Just like our senses of hearing and vision, our sense of touch plays an important role in how we perceive and interact with the world around us.

The skin’s system of soft sensors and actuators enable the artificial skin to conform to the exact shape of a wearer’s wrist, for example, and provide haptic feedback in the form of pressure and vibration.

Strain sensors continuously measure the skin’s deformation so that the haptic feedback can be adjusted in real time to produce a sense of touch that’s as realistic as possible, said the team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

“This is the first time we have developed an entirely soft artificial skin where both sensors and actuators are integrated,” said Harshal Sonar, the study’s lead author.

“This is ideal for wearable applications, such as for testing a patient’s proprioception in medical applications,” said Sonar, in the journal Soft Robotics.

AI Skin, silicon, Virtual Reality, VR
To develop the device that can quickly determine a skin lesion’s depth and potential malignancy without using a scalpel. Pixabay

The artificial skin can be stretched up to four times its original length for up to a million cycles. That makes it particularly attractive for a number of real-world applications.

For now, the scientists have tested it on users’ fingers and are still making improvements to the technology.

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“The next step will be to develop a fully wearable prototype for applications in rehabilitation and virtual and Augmented Reality (AR),” said Sonar. (IANS)