Despite capturing the general public’s imagination for decades, virtual reality (VR) has only recently become available to consumers through popular gaming platforms like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
These two may be be capturing the headlines for now, but a myriad of other companies are building devices and applications that enable and/or enhance the VR and augmented reality (AR) experience. Suffice to say, the best is really yet to come when it comes to VR and AR. And when it comes to use cases, games are only the beginning.
Here are 13 of the most promising startups developing solutions in this space that you probably didn’t know existed.
The folks at LeapMotion are developing a hand/finger tracking device called Orion that can be connected to any PC or Mac. Orion features low-latency digitization of hands motions with a a fluid and efficient 3D conversion mechanism. The the unit is $79.99 and is compatible with most VR headsets on the market.
After two years of research, Jaunt Studios launched its highly-anticipated 360° VR camera capable of high frame rates and full 360° audio recording. The Jaunt ONE is currently available as a developer release only.
Possibly one of the most immersive VR devices to hit the market, the Omni is a platform that tracks walking, running and jumping movements without restraints. Pre-order price is $699 and shipping starts in Q3 2016.
Envelop develops software that enables the transformation of data and applications from any source to VR. Your favorite apps can now be accessed within a fully 3D-inmersive environment. Currently in development, Envelop will be compatible with almost every VR headset once it’s released.
VR streaming is now possible with Orah 4i, a small directional camera that streams 360° 4K resolution imaging to any VR headset. Pre-order price is $1,800, $3.600 after April 30th. Orders start shipping in July 2016.
This headset allows users to aim with their eyes while tracking head movement. A benefit worth noting among others is that the device doesn’t require a high end PC for a high-definition, fluid VR experience. FOVE starts shipping in Q1 2016.
Lucidcam is a stereoscopic 3D camera that enables you to record VR with spatial audio at 60fps and 2K resolution. The diminuitive unit goes for $439 (pre-order) and uses LucidApp, an bundled iOS/Android app.
This offering allows users to place calls in VR and spend time in virtual places with friends. AltspaceVR is fully compatibility with the HTC Vive, Samsung VR, and Oculus Rift. It can be downloaded for free on Google Play.
Combining VR and brain imaging, MindMaze can track head, hand, and finger movements. The device has many anticipated use cases in medical/healthcare scenarios due to its precise, high-resolution tracking at 120FPS and gesture recognition.
Magicleap is developing a head-mounted virtual retinal display that superimposes 3D computer-generated imagery over real world objects and environments. The device is still under development and doesn’t have a release date as of yet.
Targeted at architects, engineers, and builders, IrisVR allows users to create full 3D VR environments of their projects. It’s compatible with SketckUp, Revit and OBJ formats, and features a mobile tool for creating VR panoramas.
Bioflight is attempting to redefine what medical tools and devices are capable of with its offering: a VR/AR platform that enables medical professionals to accurately interact, analyze, and diagnose in simulated VR/AR environments. Bioflight is compatible with most VR headsets.
Realities.io is creating a platform that simulates the VR environments of popular tourist landmarks around the globe. Compatible with the HTC Vive, the offering gives users a realistic, immersive tour experience without leaving their homes.
The world is entering a new era of computing defined by VR and a slew of new startups are tapping into these opportunities. VR is no longer just about gaming—as you can see from the above offerings, a myriad of applications exist, from healthcare to tourism. Be sure to visit popular crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter to get a glimpse of what’s coming down the line.