February 10, 2018

CES 2018 - It rained in the desert (Both tech announcements and 'ole fashioned water droplets)

By

Erik Horn


Gif sourced from HERE Technologies recap video

We were thrilled to be able to attend CES 2018 this year with our new client, HERE Technologies. We helped install and set up our interactive installation in the very impressive HERE booth, well less of a booth and more technically a two story building constructed from scratch, right outside the convention center.

Our project was an interactive screen powered by a tablet that enabled our client, Alex Osaki, to walk customers through some of the new innovations around tracking for industrial and shipping.

The above is the entire split screen video capture of the tablet that controlled the experience and the screens that it projected on.

While we were mostly occupied with that project, Nick and I were able to get around the show floor a bit and here are some of our impressions.

Vive 2.0 (Pro)
Photo from Road To VR

I was honestly surprised to see this announcement. We were expecting something from HTC but I didn't think the new headset would be coming out this soon, especially with such a large increase in screen resolution. 78 percent to be exact.

The new headset will have a Dual OLED display with a 615 dpi resolution – that's a 78% increase over the current HTC Vive's resolution. - From The Road to VR

I've found that above fact was left out in most mainstream coverage. A lot of folks are saying things like "a moderate upgrade in the resolution," but in actuality this is a huge increase to the already best in class headset on the market. (Though we are becoming pretty partial to the new Microsoft family of MR headsets.)

Vuzix

Nick and I were able to take some time to demo the new AR offerings from Vuzix and we are excited about the potential here. For technical and training applications this tech could be a great option for certain segments and the more consumer facing Vuzix Blade is interesting. They claim these are "fashion" forward and I think some would argue to the contrary...but in certain scenarios I could see wearing these out in public (but I'm the guy who shamelessly wears my Google Daydream on long flights).  What got my brain going the most was the possibilities around location based entertainment and groups wearing the glasses with a gamified feature that augments something physical like an escape room or immersive theater.

Samsung 4D VR

The most eye catching booth for my money was the mini theme park Samsung set up to showcase it's VR offerings paired with high end motion simulators. There was a snowboarding experience with a physical board, and a dragon ride with a full 360 degree motion simulator, much like you'd see at Space Camp. The lines were too long for us to try with our work schedule, but I was able to capture the above video. Notice that the 2 guys in this clip aren't exactly smiling....I'm not sure how enjoyable being spun fully upside down while wearing a mobile headset feels. I would have rather seen this done with the new Samsung Odyssey giving you some 6 degrees of freedom to prevent motion sickness. I have previously done the roller coaster demo seen next to it at SXSW, and the more simplified DBox chairs offer a surprising amount of immersion with far less stomach churning rotations. All in all, this is the future of themed entertainment in my book, especially for groups- giving a more shared experience vs. the isolation of a "one at a time" queue.

For another good breakdown of VR news around the conference we recommend this breakdown from Road to VR.

https://www.roadtovr.com/4-most-important-stories-ces-2018-breakdown-analysis/