Between 2020 and 2021, the virtual reality trends headset market grew by 348% with nearly 9 million headsets sold, with models increasingly accessible to the general public (the success of Oculus Quest 2 in 2021 is proof of this). Last month was CES in Las Vegas, and the big tech show was taking place. The opportunity to review the virtual reality trends presented at this global event.
Here is the list of top virtual reality trends in 2022.
1. HTC- Vive Wrist Tracker
At CES 2022, Vive, a brand of the HTC group, announced its Vive Wrist Tracker: a VR tracker designed to work in tandem with the Vive Focus 3 headset. Unlike the VIVE Pro 2, which is more dedicated to entertainment, the Focus 3 is more focused on professional applications. In this type of use, professional users may need to use their hands regularly. Vive’s Wrist Tracker will thus make it easier to transcribe arm and hand movements in the virtual world, without using SteamVR tags (unlike the standard Vive Tracker). For this, the internal sensors will be accompanied by LEDs placed on the tracker. They will be tracked by the headset’s cameras.
In this way, they will allow obtaining an even more precise position of the limbs. Indeed, when the tracker leaves the field of vision, another technology will take over, namely an “advanced kinematic modeling” technique, as Vive put it. This one will allow anticipating permanently the position of the hands.
Another advantage: this new VR tracker is much more compact (85%) and light (50%) than a Vive Focus 3 controller. Its autonomy is four hours and it is charged via a USB-C connector.
Similar spatial localization technologies already exist in the virtual reality ecosystem. But it remains to be seen whether Vive will succeed in keeping its promises of precision. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until the accessory is released in 2022, after its first commercialization in the United States at the beginning of the year. The VIVE Wrist Tracker will be available for 129€.
At the same time, two other HTC accessories were unveiled during the show: a carrying case that will allow the Focus 3 headset and its controllers to be recharged when stored in it, as well as a 120W charger that will make it possible to recharge four batteries at once.
These new accessories will make it even easier to use these products in professional training!
Finally, several software updates will also take place in 2022: Vive announced upcoming compatibility with Wi-Fi 6E (for wireless connection to a PC). It will also soon be possible to use third-party MDM software to manage Vive Focus 3 fleets. This is one of the best virtual reality trends in 2022
2. Sony- PSVR 2
No Surprise, New Consumer Headsets Will Soon Be Available.
Sony has announced the launch of its headset connected to the Playstation 5, the “PSVR 2”. Without giving any indication of price, this new generation headset should benefit from technical advances that will push the visual performance a little further.
Indeed, an OLED screen in 2000x2040p will offer a 110° field of view and sensors will follow the eye movements, in order to concentrate the power of the device on the area that the player is looking at. Haptic technology (using vibrations to simulate sensations and stimulate the sense of touch) embedded in both the controllers and the headset should also enhance the richness of the user experience. This will be one of the most popular virtual reality trends.
A new version of the Oculus, owned by Meta (formerly Facebook), should also be released. After the success of the last version in 2021, this latest version, more high-end, should allow its users to live new virtual reality experiences and dive a little more into the universe (still a little obscure) of its famous Metaverse.
Finally, it is possible that we will finally see the arrival this year of the long-awaited Apple headset, announced 4 years ago but never released to date. Some companies such as Samsung or Google, shyer on the market, could also offer us some surprises in the AR/Virtual Reality field this year.
4. Qualcomm And Microsoft Announce Partnership, Tcl Unveils New Version Of Augmented Glasses
Exit the Hololens 2, Microsoft & Qualcomm have announced at CES 2022 a surprise partnership. Indeed, the two tech giants will create a chip to power new generation augmented reality glasses, lighter, connected to phones and Windows devices.
“We are announcing that we are developing a custom Snapdragon chip for augmented reality for next-generation, low-power glasses and very lightweight, for the Microsoft ecosystem. And we are integrating software from both companies into this chip: the Microsoft Mesh platform and the recently announced Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces XR development platform. Snapdragon Spaces will be fully integrated with Microsoft Mesh, and that platform will be available for the next generation of lightweight glasses,” said Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm.
Even if this has not been formulated as it is, we can imagine that both companies want to have their place in the deployment of the metaverse. As a reminder, Mesh is a collaborative mixed reality platform launched by Microsoft. It allows remote people to meet virtually through avatars and holograms. For its part, Snapdragon Spaces XR is a platform for developing applications solely for AR.
But one of its strengths is also to allow the use of the glasses, existing and future, as a “second screen”, thus working with “normal” applications. Thus, smartphones equipped with Qualcomm chips could be used as a second screen for mixed reality experiences. A market opportunity that Microsoft and Qualcomm may well seize before more players enter this year. This is one of the most promising virtual reality trends in 2022.
5. TCL- NXTWEAR Air
For its part, TCL has unveiled a new version of its connected glasses: the NXTWEAR Air, which promises to offer a “life-size” cinematic experience! Screen equivalent to 140 inches for a weight of 75 grams, two micro-Oled 1080p screens, and stereo speakers integrated into the temples.
If TCL does not talk about Metaverse, this new pair of glasses with portable screens is resolutely multi-functional, to integrate into a daily connection, while remaining designed and comfortable. Ideal for working or watching a movie on the road with total discretion. However, the glasses are not autonomous and must be powered via USB-C. This is an amazing virtual reality trends in 2022
6. Enki Pro HyperSense
Haptic Technologies Seem To Be A Must In Tomorrow’s Virtual Reality trends.
After smartphones, game controllers, and virtual reality headsets, haptic technology is now being used in accessories such as chairs. The Singaporean company Razer has presented its future haptic chair: the Enki Pro HyperSense, which promises sensations throughout the body, for gaming or cinematographic experiences even stronger. 65,000 different levels of vibration are distributed throughout the seat. The seat is capable of moving with a force of 1G to tilt the seat according to the action.
Eye tracking, graphic quality, visual haptic feedback and other features could well contribute to revolutionizing the gaming world and democratizing the use of virtual reality trends “at home”. With such an evolution, there is no doubt that immersive experiences will continue to progress in all fields, including professional training, through more innovative and engaging devices.