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Virtual Reality More than Just Fun and Games
Virtual Reality More than Just Fun and Games

By Johnny Yu
February 8, 2014 2:05PM

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A new wave of virtual and augmented reality devices could mainstream the technology, and it's not just for gaming anymore. Virtual reality devices such as the Avegant Glyph (shown) provide immersive experiences into digital worlds, while augmented reality deices like the Epson Moverio BT-200 overlay images into your regular view.
 



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While the BT-200 has hardware to serve as a social-media and entertainment device, Epson is targeting the commercial market. Eric Mizufuka, product manager for new markets, says, "To have technology on your face is still a bit of a foreign concept. Gaining that social acceptance is going to be the biggest hurdle."

There are several schools of thought on how to clear that hurdle. The most common seems to be creating more fashionable wearable tech products. Avegant, for instance, is already on the third iteration of its as-yet-unreleased Glyph, and each revision has involved a significant aesthetic upgrade.

Need another example? Look to the recently announced Pebble Steel smart watch, which costs $100 more than its predecessor, despite the fact that its notable improvements are all cosmetic.

On the other hand, Epson's approach of focusing on commercial applications is a kind of end run around the hurdle. The idea seems to be that if these devices allow people to do their work better and more efficiently, they'll simply become the new normal.

Augmented and virtual reality may have begun as Hollywood fantasy, but 2014 could be the year where they go mainstream. Avegant and Epson are just two among a host of companies -- including Sony, Vuzix, Meta, Recon Instruments, Optinvent and GlassUp -- pushing the envelope of what this technology can do to enhance our everyday lives.

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© 2014 USA TODAY under contract with NewsEdge. All rights reserved.
 

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