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Google And Lenovo Unveil The First High-Quality Stand-Alone VR Headset

For more than two years, consumer virtual reality has been in 1.0 mode. The first generation of VR devices needed to be linked to either an external PC or a smartphone from the likes of Facebook-owned Oculus, HTC, Google, Sony, and a few others. But this year, we’ll see the beginnings of VR 2.0: Stand-alone headsets . Today, Google and Lenovo pulled back the wraps on their entrant into the stand-alone VR world, the Mirage Solo, a device that has all its computing onboard, and which is capable of positional tracking with no external sensors. Stand-alone VR is one of the innovations that could help virtual reality become a truly mainstream technology given that it does away with all the cables and wires that weigh down the user experience on systems like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Although analysts predict that VR will be a $38 billion industry by 2026 , it has been slow to gain traction with consumers. And while things like lower hardware prices, more and better content, and improved social experiences will help, innovations in the hardware, like the release of stand-alone headsets, is likely to be a major boon for the industry . Lenovo’s Mirage Solo incorporates Google’s Daydream VR platform , meaning it joins an ecosystem that currently includes 15 Daydream-compatible smartphones. But while Daydream to date has offered a 1.0 VR experience that’s far less capable than higher-end (and more expensive) devices like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, the Mirage Solo vaults Google’s platform into the so-called “six degrees of freedom,” or 6DOF, arena. That means that rather than simply being in the center of a 360-degree view, users of the new device will be able to, as Google vice president of virtual and augmented reality Clay Bavor put it in a blog post, “duck, dodge and lean, and…step backwards, forwards, and side to side” in VR experiences. VR systems featuring 6DOF enable much richer content given that people can move around in three-dimensional space rather than being limited to the center of a 360-degree view. [Photo: courtesy of Lenovo] That’s thanks to Google’s WorldSense technology , which it first unveiled at its I/O developers event last spring. That technology merges work done by the teams of both Daydream and Tango–Google’s augmented reality platform.

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Google And Lenovo Unveil The First High-Quality Stand-Alone VR Headset

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