Two Possible Paths into the Future of Wearable Computing: Part 1 â€“ VR | Valve
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Right now, VR is much closer to becoming a consumer product than AR. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that VR hardware is more capable and easier to make right now. The Oculus Rift, which is intended to ship at a consumer price, has a 90-degree horizontal field of view; in contrast, Iâ€™ve never heard of see-through AR glasses with anything like that field of view at any price, and while they may exist, itâ€™s hard to see how they could be made at consumer prices with anything like current technology. (Video-passthrough AR glasses could of course have the same field of view as the Rift, since all that would be required would be to add a camera, but I donâ€™t think video-passthrough AR will be good enough for a number of years, for reasons discussed here.) Also, because VR is used in a fixed location, it can be tethered, sweeping away a host of hard power problems that walk-around AR has to deal with, and enabling the use of far more powerful CPUs and GPUs. Alternatively, VR headsets can be designed to run for just an hour or two between recharges; in contrast, AR has to have the same order of battery life as a phone or tablet. Furthermore, because VR is restricted to one location, itâ€™s much easier to develop tracking technology for. And since youâ€™re not going to wear a VR head mounted display in public, or walk around with it, it doesnâ€™t have to be as stylish, and while it still has to be light and comfortable, it is considerably less constrained than AR glasses that have to look like fat sunglasses. Finally, VR can use existing controllers initially; youâ€™ll be able to play VR games with standard game pads, for example, although I think new VR input will have to evolve quickly in order for VR to really reach its potential. In contrast, the input scheme for AR is an open question.