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).
While sharing experiences with friends and gaining a better understanding of world news through virtual first-hand viewing are noble pursuits, most of the buzz around VR is gaming. A VR startup founded in 2011 and still in Beta, Surre.al, uses open source software to allow users to explore online environments that may or may not be based on real locations where they can play through very unreal adventures.
4. Insite VR
Engineering and design were revolutionized by 3D modeling software. Founded all the way back in 2011, virtual reality startup Insite VR allows designers and engineers to create models in life, or larger than life scale so that potential customers or clients can get a reliable feeling for a design without putting time and money into a prototype.
Chicago based Virtual reality startup Anarchist uses a combination of VR Technology and Mobile technology to create Virtual Reality Operating Systems. The ability to hook two monitors to one computer, or even have two tabs visible on the same screen at the same time have been huge breakthroughs in the world of productivity, so software that lets a user virtually enter their computer has huge potential. It’s about as close as we can currently get to Robert Downey Jr. interacting with Jarvis in the Marvel movies.
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.
Founded in 2014, Sebastopol California based virtual reality startup Pantomime allows users to use their mobile devices as controllers in virtual reality games providing a more engaging, and much cheaper experience than systems like Oculus. For a more immersive experience, Pantomime games are compatible with VR headsets.
Daydream, a young New York based company specializing in virtual and augmented reality, utilizes a Google Cardboard-like device which can be inexpensively purchased, or made with online instructions, practically for free, allows users to turn mobile devices into AR machines, which can run outside apps, modify real-world visuals and activities into whole new experiences, and offer new ways to experience music, literally in all new dimensions. Daydream has already merited attention from online publications including PR Newswire.
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. Fancy Turnip
An LA based VR startup founded in 2014, Fancy Turnip creates VR games and mobile apps for Handheld devices. Fancy Turnip is also using AR technology to make learning sports and hobbies more accessible to people without coaches or friends experienced in the sport.
Incorporating unique and stylish headgear, and a one-of-a-kind controller, FullDive, based out of Berkeley California allows users not only to turn their smartphones into VR headsets, but also allows them to create their own 3D models to be used in VR, or AR settings.
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.
“Multiple Path” stories, stories that place the reader in the front seat, making choices that affect the outcome of the plot, have existed in paper for some time, and are an integral part of many RPG videogames. AlterAction in the San Francisco area takes this dynamic to Virtual Reality platforms in graphic-novel type formats with multiple scenarios and endings based on player decisions.
Growing Demand for 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 Can Help
AppReal 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 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 today to learn more about how they can provide a virtual reality solution for you or your business.