Virtual Reality (VR), which uses state of the art motion sensing and speech recognition software to immerse users in a digital experience, is probably one of the most anticipated technologies currently approaching the market. Because a VR system uses much of the same hardware as mobile devices, it’s easy for Virtual Reality startups to come up with products using tools that they are already familiar with.
However, entering the competitive market is no simple matter, and it can still be difficult for these companies to become established and profitable. Even larger VR companies like Oculus are struggling to get their systems just right. While Forbes Analysts have said that the payoff for investing in VR may not be immediate, no one is suggesting that it’s not worth the effort, as groups like TrendForce have forecasted a $70 Billion dollar VR market by 2020.
Like all technology fields, VR is currently a difficult to predict economic landscape. There is always uncertainty as to who will come out on top, however we have our list of the best virtual reality startups to keep an eye on in the coming year, with a special spotlight on Appeal-VR, a mobile and software company that specializes in virtual reality development.
1. Lucid VR
One of the potential uses for VR that has people interested, is the idea of immersive video. The New York Times has tried to get into this with it’s immersive videos that can be watched on devices like Google Cardboard, but these videos are not truly 360° so much as a Point-of-View video. Lucid VR, a VR startup out of San Francisco, makes wide angle cameras that use binocular imaging, 3D technology, and spacial audio to bring the idea of truly immersive video that much closer to what we want and expect. The company has only been around for about two years, and still has pending patents, but has already been featured in an article in The Washington Post.
2. Altspace VR
It was big news when the massive social media site Facebook bought into VR giant Oculus, and many have been wondering what that kind of partnership could produce. A virtual reality startup out of Redwood City California called Altspace VR might give us some idea. The company founded in 2014 creates virtual reality environments for real people using their app to share experiences online with created avatars. Altspace is already running with available apps, compatible with popular VR software, and has presented at Consumer Electronics Tradeshow (CES).
3. Global DJ
Jumping into world of VR peripherals is Ukrainian startup Global DJ, with its offerings for music lovers worldwide. The Tornado A1 “Music Gloves” are quite the cool toy, and they have the potential to take any electronic dance music performance to the next level. DJs can use the gloves to craft their beats and control every part of the show, from the lights to the fog machine.
Global DJ also offers a companion to the Tornado A1, the Tornado D1, which controls drones instead of music, and with a little programming know-how, both gloves can be programmed for use with video games and other software. The Tornado A1 and Tornado D1 are both currently available for purchase.
4. Hauoli Technology
On the surface, what Hauoli Technology is offering may seem pretty mundane in the world of virtual reality; their software allows users to program their phone to control technology from video games to drones and beyond. This isn’t anything new or shocking in the world of VR, but Hauoli Technology puts a slightly different twist by making their controller based on sound, instead of the visual infrared tracking used by most VR technology.
The Hauoli program has the added benefit of not requiring any specialized equipment; all you need is a speaker and a microphone. This technology was unveiled at the SXSW expo, with plans to make it commercially available soon.
When it comes to virtual worlds intersecting with reality, there have been a couple different roads to take: virtual reality, where the user is submerged in a completely realistic virtual environment; and augmented reality, where the virtual information is projected onto the real world to provide more information or entertainment value. However, a little company called Occipital has bridged (heh) the gap between the virtual world and the real one with their mobile positional tracking hardware called, appropriately, the Bridge.
The technology allows you not only to project virtual information onto the real world, but for that information to respond in real time to your actions and the actions of your environment around you. The Bridge is used with an iPhone as its processing power, making it very accessible at its pricepoint. The Bridge is currently available for purchase.
6. Discovr Labs
Rather than using virtual reality for games, socializing, marketing, or manipulating, Discovr Labs plans to use VR to make learning more natural and intuitive. The Toronto based virtual reality startup uses VR technology to create interactive training videos, tours of historic locations, and more.
7. Chornobyl 360
VR users looking for the most interesting new experiences might be surprised to find that experience in the form of a simple documentary. However Chornobyl 360 is anything but simple; merging the worlds of virtual reality and documentary filmmaking, this project allows users to visit the site of the catastrophic Chernobyl nuclear accident in Russia. With breathtaking new perspectives in the Exclusion Zone, anyone interested in history (or creepy dystopian vistas) will find this app irresistible.
8. Roto VR
When using VR, the eternal problem comes down to keeping your physical body safe from bumps and bruises while you’re galavanting around in virtual space. Startup Roto VR has put forth a compelling solution to this problem with their Roto VR-enabled chair. While seated in it’s shiny black grip, VR users will be able to safely rotate and reposition to allow for maximum VR enjoyment, without the potential of tripping over the coffee table (or the cat). The Roto VR chair won “Best Product” at the VR & AR World Expo, London in October 2016. It is currently available for purchase.
9. Vivid Vision
A virtual reality startup out of San Francisco called Vivid Vision is using VR for the unique pursuit of repairing eye conditions. Some Eye conditions, such as lazy eye, can often be greatly relieved through certain exercises, which are made simpler, and more entertaining by this company, which has already been mentioned in Time Magazine, and stories by CNBC.
Based in San Jose California, DoubleMe, founded in 2014, uses regular cameras taking pictures or filming from multiple angles to create 3D images, which can be incorporated into VR settings, or superimposed over views of the real world to create Augmented Reality experiences. The result is basically as close as the average person can get to using a hologram to communicate, or just make fun 3D videos.
Most people think of VR as a way of creating unreal scenarios that can be realistically engaged in, or placing themselves in real scenarios that they don’t have the opportunity to engage in without VR. But what about using VR to place yourself in a realistic scenario that you don’t want to be engaged in? Moodru, a Virtual reality startup company founded in 2013 in Palo Alto California allows people with certain issues like anxiety or phobias to confront their fears in a controlled, VR environment.
12. The Metaverse Channel
One area where VR has long had potential, but remains undeveloped by most companies, is the realm of education. The Metaverse Channel is seeking to make a splash in VR with their educational platform which would allow for seamlessly integrated learning experiences for VR users. From filmmakers to classroom educators, the Metaverse Channel project wants to make VR tools easy to use for anyone seeking to educate and inspire.
Virtual and augmented reality rely largely on visual information to do what they do. But humans have more than one sense, and when it comes to creating a believable virtual space, the audio can be just as important as the visual. The Liverpool-based Kinicho, whose name comes from a combination of the Greek words for “kinetic” and “audio”, is set to become the leader in providing aural environments as realistic and convincing as Virtual Reality’s visual ones.
— Kinicho #3Daudio (@kinichoVR) February 22, 2017
Kinicho is currently developing two products: the Cosmos speaker array for installation in any space, and their audio engine Sympan which will allow users to tailor music and environmental noise to accompany their Virtual and augmented reality efforts, Kinicho started in 2014 and entered the Augmentor accelerator in March of 2017, making it a rising star in AR/VR development.
Wearable technology already on the market allows us to monitor our heartbeat and blood pressure as we exercise. Taking this concept, but very different technology to a whole other realm of science, Myndgazer, A virtual reality startup out of New York City, uses Neurofeedback to allow users to watch patterns and light that represents their mental states, allowing them to focus on mental tasks like meditation and attentiveness.
15. Feel VR
Virtual Reality as a technology is often only as good as the technology supporting it. For those looking for the most immersive experience with driving gaming and simulation, Feel VR has the goods. With their Feel VR Wheel and Feel VR Seat, sold separately but intended to be used in concert, Feel VR allows users to, well, feel exactly as if they are racing in Monte Carlo, or cruising the Pacific Coastal Highway. The technology can also be used to help users learn how to drive, overcome driving anxiety and build better driving habits for new drivers.
Growing Demand for VR Developers
This boom in Virtual and Augmented Reality is driven by demand and the compatibility of existing Hardware. Turning this technology into VR experiences requires software developers that know how to use pre-existing hardware into software that has never been seen before, that users can interact with naturally and intuitively.
How AppReal-VR Can Help
AppReal-VR is a software development company composed of experienced developers that use mobile technologies like accelerometers and gyrometers to make VR and AR more real. AppReal works with businesses and gaming companies to create Virtual and Augmented reality applications for mobile devices.
AppReal-VR can put it’s team of programming experts to work creating the VR solution to whatever need you and your business may have. VR is a young technology, but as you can tell from the companies described above, it’s about more than just gaming, with potential applications in everything from marketing to medicine.
Contact AppReal-VR today to learn more about how they can provide a virtual reality solution for you or your business.