In this opinion piece, Rob Brooks from the Channel Dragons talks about hoping to bring this light-based headset to the UK market, and says it can be a game-changer.
I’m Rob Brooks. I am an early adopter, tech enthusiast and lover of everything that makes our lives more technologically advanced. I am a regular visitor to the largest tech show in the world in Vegas and hold Skype meetings with CEOs in charge of the most innovative tech start-ups across the globe.
I regularly converse with the directors of some of the most influential distribution partners and retailers in the UK, all looking for a piece of the next viral consumer tech purchase.
In this space I cover a wide range of consumer electronic categories from the latest wearable gadget to the most advance home automation solutions out there. I eat, sleep and breathe consumer technology and one of these particularly interesting categories (and one that has got heads turning) is soon to be a retail reality: the virtual reality headset.
The technology is there, it always has been, it’s simply just evolved. Back in the '80s, arcades were a place where creative minds were investigating and developing the possibilities of virtual reality for year, just waiting for the tech to be sophisticated enough to bring their imagination into reality.
It appears that now the time is right. We have the tech to produce a feel of virtual reality encapsulating movement, sound and touch… possibly even smell.
We also have a plethora of manufacturers all competing to provide the go-to headset experience to dominate this field. Oculus Rift, which was purchased by Facebook, seems to have everyone’s heads turning, however Google approached the market in a different way with their Google Cardboard costing only $20.
Others in this race are HTC Vive, Project Morpheus and Gear VR. One that has caught my attention and that I am in discussions with is The Avegant Glyph.
They are in the process of refining their solution which includes further testing and the final design, however The Avegant Glyph uses a unique technology which truly separates it from the rest. Its most important underpinning technology is called Virtual Retinal Display. It offers Avegant a distinct dvantage over competitors like Oculus and Project Morpheus. Those are fundamentally screens a picture you look at; Avegant's technology is more like looking through a window.
Avegant is effectively trying to recreate your vision as closely as possible. Everything we see in real life is simply light reflected off something else, and that's what the Glyph is. It reflects that light off of two million micromirrors and then directly into your eyes. There is no image, that’s right, no image and no screen… pictures exist only in your retinas and your brain. Virtual Retinal Displays simply create a picture without ever needing a screen. Sounds crazy huh?
Virtual Retinal Displays are also lighter, require less power and can project a much sharper image. I've only seen a couple of early prototypes of this product at CES in Vegas and the picture looks amazing. It is of course high-res, beautiful, with no pixellation like the rest of the competition. And as you see Glyph the same way you see the rest of the world, there is no eye fatigue, no adjustment.
The race is truly on, the competitors are at the starting block with only one goal in sight, to become reality. That said, I read an article recently that stated there is a possibility that the universe as we know it might not be real after all… Now that makes my head hurt.
I feel the Avegant Glyph, when ready, will be a game changer. And I hope to be involved in bringing this unique product to the UK. In the meantime, take the plunge, grab a beta version of the Oculus and jump into the virtual world.
About the author
Rob Brooks is from business development firm Channel Dragons/The Tech Crowd.