Virtual reality’s popularity seems to have exploded in recent years.
Big companies and fledgeling startups alike are scrambling to come up with VR software and products that will appeal to the consumer market.
Apart from the predictable uses of VR, namely gaming and movies, there are other areas to explore through a virtual reality perspective. And some companies have realised that and are looking for new ways of broadening the virtual reality experience.
This is good news because virtual reality just isn’t for the big companies like Sony and Facebook to take advantage of.
Startups can also come up with new ideas that are practical and useful.
In fact, this is the best time for small companies to come up with innovative ways to use VR technology and be heard.
Let’s take a look at some of the virtual reality companies changing the game!
10 Virtual Reality Companies Changing The Future Of Gaming
We really cannot mention VR companies and exclude Oculus.
This is the company that brought a viable consumer product in the form of the Rift VR headset to the masses. It has taken a lot of years to mature but is finally in its prime with a price that is accessible to a large number of people out there.
Facebook shelled out $2 billion to acquire the company even before the Rift headset was ready for the market, and that should tell you the extent of the work this company has done for VR.
With Facebook’s unlimited cash reserves Oculus has stepped up its game.
The threat from the very capable HTC Vive VR headset has now been dealt with thanks to the latest iteration of the Rift headset which undercuts its rival on price and matches it in technical ability.
WaveOptics is a startup company which is utilising the powers of augmented and virtual reality to assist in everyday activities.
The company designs well-engineered yet affordable AR lenses that can be adapted to multiple optical uses like for example spectacles. The lenses designed by WaveOptics differ from conventional AR lenses by using ultra-thin waveguides and photonic crystals to produce graphics.
Conventional augmented reality lenses use projection which of course works but makes the hardware quite bulky.
The company managed to raise $16 million in funds in July 2017, so you know they’re on to something important.
The Immerse Learning is a virtual learning platform that aims to transform the way online learning and training is conducted.
It lets multiple users join a virtual classroom to learn in 3D and VR for a much more immersive experience. The participants can talk to each other and interact with 3D objects in the classroom as well.
The platform allows users a way to engage in sensitive training skills such as surgery in a virtual environment where room for error is a lot more than in a real setting.
Perhaps the most significant success story of this company is that airline operator Air France used Immerse to train its pilots remotely.
More examples include the British Council which is using the innovative learning platform to deliver English language courses to students in Saudi Arabia and other countries.
VRTU was founded by Oxford University students Arfa Rehman and Scott Rehman in the hopes of treating patients with dementia with a more effective way of using virtual reality.
This is done by recreating reminiscent experiences in a virtual reality setting.
The concept behind the technique is nothing novel; in fact, reminiscence therapy has been used quite widely to treat dementia.
However traditional ways of administering reminiscence therapy are not very practical or very affordable, and that’s where VR helps.
In fact, the virtual reality experience in purported to be more engaging and visceral as well which could increase the effectiveness of the therapy as a result.
Read more on Virtual Reality Can Revolutionise Healthcare.
5. Wizdish ROVR
Modern virtual reality experiences can be quite immersive and exciting for most users, but there’s still something to be done about interacting with the virtual environment.
There are motion controllers which aim to make the experience feel more natural, but there’s still the question of how to make the process of moving around feel natural as well.
That’s a challenge that Wizdish have taken upon themselves, coming up with the ROVR, a walking platform that lets users walk.
The users can also change directions while walking on the ROVR platform and the movements are replicated in the VR world as well.
Emteq is exploring a new level of interaction with virtual reality: emotion detection.
The company is working on a set of sensors that can track human expressions and bio readings that would indicate what how they’re feeling.
It certainly is an ambitious undertaking, but the payoffs could be quite useful in the technology having uses in education, research, creative industries and even forensics.
Ultrahaptics is looking to bring the sensation of touch into the world of virtual reality. The company is looking to achieve this by using ultrasound waves to simulate feel.
This opens a whole new level of immersion when it comes to virtual environments.
The potential uses include the obvious in gaming, driving and multimedia.
While Microsoft has not shown any interest in virtual reality for its popular Xbox One game console, it is still dedicated to making a new kind of virtual reality headset.
The project for this is called HoloLens, and while it’s still in early development, it could become a major player in the VR/AR space in the future.
The focus of the HoloLens is more on augmented reality where virtual images or 3D models are overlaid on real-world objects.
The HoloLens could have important applications in engineering and industrial design.
9. Magic Leap
Magic Leap is doing something different by letting users view augmented reality using their eyes, as opposed to using virtual reality headsets.
This is done by projecting a digital light field into the user’s eye via a head-mounted retinal display that also tracks the user’s head movements.
The technology eliminates the virtual headset to create an even more immersive experience although due to technological limitations of the retinal display the content is not as rich as a VR headset’s display.
10. Gravity Sketch
The team behind Gravity Sketch have set themselves a very tall order: the design and creation of 3D objects in a virtual reality space.
The technology this requires is quite complicated but is direly needed due to the scarcity of 3D literate people in general and the growing demand for 3D content.
The Gravity Sketch application is designed to be used with the help of only touch and gestures and as such there’s still a lot of work to be done in fine-tuning it.
It has already gone into a limited public beta version which was launched in January 2017 for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
Most of us think of virtual reality as just another way to play games. The fact is that virtual reality is so much more than a gaming-centric technology.
The ability to be inside an utterly virtual environment and to interact with it using touch and hand gestures is quite unusual and opens the doors to a lot of practical applications.
Virtual reality is here, and there are no signs of it slowing down.
These are only some of the top VR companies that are changing the game. For more information, read our guide to the Future Virtual Reality Experiences.