Here are 10 companies in the company VR space that everyone must watch for the rest of the year and until 2020.
Much work is being done in the area of applying VR for medical training. But Fundamental VR based in London adds a new dimension to VR for medical training by developing a system that also offers haptic feedback to users. Through a partnership with Seattle-based HaptX, an innovative haptic glove maker, Fundamental VR currently uses a system that enables realistic touch interactions in a virtual training environment at medical institutions around the world
While companies such as Oculus (Facebook), HTC, Sony, and Samsung have focused their VR efforts mainly in the consumer market, HP stands out as one of the few large technology companies that exclusively pursues the company's VR market. While its flagship VR products - the recently released HP VR Backpack and HP Reverb headset can be applied to consumer and entertainment applications, the company has no qualms about being the leader in creating products for design and engineering workflows. HP Reverb (shown above) in particular is a high-resolution headset designed with engineers and designers in mind - making the resolution and comfort needs of its target audience the highest priority.
Long seen as Oculus's main competitor in VR entertainment (especially in PC games), HTC added new wrinkles to the traditional consumer-focused product portfolio with the release of the HTC Vive Pro. Vive Pro is HTC's first VR product targeted at the corporate market - offering a 78% increase in resolution compared to the original Vive headset. HTC's goal with Vive is to attract corporate users who are interested in users who are interested in virtual collaboration and design of products and other applications.
In 2019 the company released an upgraded version - Vive Pro Eye (shown above) - with integrated eye tracking technology from the Swedish company Tobii. Using the Tobii infrared tracking system, Vive Pro eye can allow users to move and control the VR environment without using their hands with only their eye movements.
Mechdyne, based in Iowa, focuses on large-scale VR systems for smart manufacturing and other corporate applications. The company deals more specifically with virtual virtual environments (CAVEs) - systems that create virtual environments through room-scale projections on walls.
One of its products, Powerwall, is a VR display system that projects 3D visualization onto the 8 x 14 foot wall and to the floor in front of it. By wearing shutter glasses, users can explore virtual environments such as factories on a room scale with the sensation of standing in actual space. This system is suitable for interactive training and data analysis and visualization.
Boston-based Neurable takes an innovative approach to controlling schemes for virtual reality - mind control. The company has developed an EEG headset that can be attached to HMD VR like HTC Vive to allow users to control applications using only their minds. The hope is not only to create easier and more efficient ways of control for VR users but also enable better access for people with disabilities, provide user insights, and create new applications for VR.
This year Neurable launches a new software product, Neurable Analytics, which "provides neural insights for objective feedback in human insight, design, and immersive training applications." This software uses machine learning to classify EEG signals and can be used in applications including markets research, product design, and training of high consequences and industrial safety.
Facebook's Oculus is a company that brings VR back to the map. In the past, Facebook has offered business packages from Oculus Rift. But now rumors are circulating that the company might launch an enterprise edition of its VR hardware in the near future.
In 2018 the company released Oculus Quest (shown above), its first standalone VR headset (no cables or PCs needed). This headset offers a resolution and specifications comparable to some of the latest PC-tethered headsets and has been one of the best standalone units reviewed on the market since it was launched.
In 2019 the company released the Oculus Rift S for mixed reviews. While the Rift S includes next generation features such as inside-outside tracking, it is not a big leap forward in many of the expected innovations. However, that still hasn't stopped much
from eagerly anticipating true follow-up for the original Oculus Rift.
Based in Tokyo, SE4 specializes in making software for robots that operate in high latency environments, where it may be difficult to operate remotely. Recently, the company has developed a robotic operating system that combines, VR and machine learning and AI to accelerate remote robot control in applications such as excavation and construction. Instead of training robots in 2D environments or through tedious programming, SE4 solutions allow robots to be trained through simulations in 3D virtual environments. A user performing tasks in VR and AI extrapolates the task into a kind of task list that can be performed by a robot, even remotely.
The company also has greater ambitions and targets its software solutions on robots placed in space. If SE4 has its own way, one day we might use VR to help robots build colonies on Mars.
London-based VR Electronics is a manufacturer of Teslasuit - a full body haptic suit that gives users a touch of VR sensation through electrostimulation. The lawsuit can also capture biometric data, which according to the company can be used in personalized experience and training, performance, and health care applications by providing feedback on key health indicators, stress levels, and even the emotional state of users.
Teslasuit also functions as a motion capture device and can be used in related applications.
There are many VR headset makers on the market, but very few create devices specifically intended for professionals such as engineers and product designers. But VRgineers based in Prague do that. In 2018 the company released VR Hero 5K - a powerful headset with a whopping 5K video resolution (that's 2.5K per eye). The company immediately followed up with XTAL (shown above), another 5K headset that added a number of additional features including eye tracking and integrated Leap Motion sensors to track hand movements without the need for an external controller or sensor. Corporate headsets are determined and valued at the level targeted at large organizations, where VRgineers aim to be the main supplier for VR headsets for training, product development, and other engineering applications.
VRSim creates interactive tools aimed at training workers in trade and skilled professions. The latest version of the company's SimSpray software is a VR painting tool that is compatible with HTC Vive which is targeted at the coating and paint industry. SimSpray creates VR simulations that apply to various sectors, including automotive and aerospace, and gives users a realistic experience and feedback, complete with final paint and even defects.