A few days ago I ran into Clyde DeSouza hanging out in the comment section at UploadVR. I was editing a paper I had written up on augmented reality in the medical field (download below), and took some time out to read up on what Will Mason had to report on the differences in depth of focus between Magic Leap and META Glasses. The article, the conversation with DeSouza and the paper on Medical AR all coalesced into this post and the attached PDF below.
It seemed not long ago that the AR and VR hardware vendors and models could easily be rattled off, and most of the people working in the space knew one another. A lot has changed in a very short time.
When I backed Oculus on Kickstarter in 2012, there were a small handful of Virtual Reality companies servicing university research departments and the military. The $25,000.00 nVisor SX HMD by NVIS was the state of the art. Not much had been done in the consumer VR space since the early 90s. There were even fewer Augmented Reality display systems.
Riding the wave of enthusiasm following Oculus (and the miniaturization and processing advancements driven by the smartphone market that made the Oculus Rift possible), in these short intervening years there has been a veritable cambrian explosion in both VR and AR development across both hardware and software, and a competitive market has blossomed.
Above is a sampling of the current hardware on the Virtual Reality Market including dedicated systems, smartphone based displays that followed the introduction of Google Cardboard, and other variations.
The Augmented Reality hardware market is also diversifying and specializing into verticals. By show of example, see the five AR motorcycle helmets below. Many companies will enter the market in a niche space from which to expand out into other verticals.
If somewhat less glamorous than AR motorcycle helmets, I recently put together an overview of AR eyewear in the medical vertical for a pharma-healthcare advertising agency. I decided to publish a version of this paper that you can download below.
Feel free to ping me on Twitter, and let me know what you think. If there is positive response to this paper, I may publish more on some other specialized verticals.