Virtual world or augmented reality XR market may be active again this year

Although the global VR equipment shipments in 2022 will decline year-on-year, many institutions predict that in 2023, with the launch of many new head-mounted equipment products, the VR and AR markets are expected to be active again, which will also promote the industry-wide technological upgrades and exports. The volume of goods “turned down instead of up”.

All have head-mounted devices, VR and AR have different effects

In 2021, the metaverse concept will introduce XR into the mainstream cultural imagination. XR (Extended Reality) is a general term for immersive interactive technologies such as VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality). From the perspective of personal user experience, what kind of different experiences can these XR devices bring?

●VR glasses can be “split” or “integrated”

VR (Virtual Reality) is a simulated environment generated by computer technology. It is mainly realized through key technologies such as vision, sound field, touch, and sensory interaction, which can create a strong sense of “immersion” and “presence”.

VR products on the market are mainly implemented in the form of head-mounted devices, which are divided into three categories: mobile phone boxes, split glasses and all-in-one machines. Through these devices, people can experience immersive virtual game worlds, sports scenes, and movie worlds. At present, Sony’s VR smart glasses configured for PlayStation, and domestic VR “new star” PICO all-in-one machines are all such products.

The “entry-level” mobile phone boxes in VR products rely on the mobile phone as the carrier for calculation and display. The VR glasses themselves only provide convex lenses. The quality of the display depends entirely on the screen resolution, processor speed, and sensor accuracy of the mobile phone inserted into the glasses.

Split VR glasses belong to the high-end existence of VR glasses. In order to achieve excellent display effects, they need to be connected to PC or game console terminals, and use the CPU and graphics card of the PC or terminal to perform calculations. However, the connection of the head-mounted display hinders the user’s free movement to a certain extent.

The all-in-one VR machine is a model with a built-in display, gyroscope, and computing module. It can run without an additional mobile phone, taking into account a good performance experience and the advantages of freedom and portability.

●AR equipment can be worn with naked eyes or head

Different from the realization of VR, AR (Augmented Reality) is a technology that superimposes virtual information on real scenes to achieve reality enhancement, mainly through key technologies such as perspective optics, tracking and registration, virtual-real fusion, and human-computer interaction. Compared with VR, more emphasis is placed on “reality” and “enhancement”.

The realization of AR not only has a similar head-mounted method, but also directly projects virtual information into the real scene, and can interact with people to realize naked-eye augmented reality. According to different presentation methods, AR products are divided into handheld, holographic projection, single/binocular glasses, plug-in and invisible. Among them, handheld and holographic projection do not require head-mounted equipment, and are realized through mobile phones/tablets, projectors and other equipment.

In terms of products, monocular AR glasses and handheld AR technology are relatively simple. For example, monocular devices used in the field of sports and health can provide cycling and running enthusiasts with simple navigation information and other data.

AR holographic projection is to project 3D models and animations onto holographic materials, and realize real-time interaction between virtual information and reality. AR-HUD, as its typical application, has become an important direction of vehicle intelligent display. There are few plug-in AR products at present. The premise of using it is to download the application on the mobile phone and insert it into the headset. AR contact lenses may be mainly used in scenes that are not suitable for wearing glasses, and they are still under development.

Binocular AR glasses support 3D stereoscopic image display, and can be applied to all possible scenarios, while taking into account appearance attributes, and are considered to be the most likely type of device to drive the development of the consumer market. At present, the AR glasses products for individual users on the market can be used for shooting from the first perspective, completely freeing hands when recording daily life. The hybrid zoom function can “zoom in” the lens at any time when watching the game and feel the “referee’s vision”. It has functions such as animal and plant recognition and real-time translation.

MR (Mixed Reality) is a technology that combines real scenes and virtual scenes very naturally. The real scene information is obtained through the perspective of the lens and is consistent with AR. Real-time interactions including occlusion and collision can occur between the virtual and the real. To enhance the sense of reality of user experience, the display effect of its virtual scene is similar to that of VR, and it is difficult to distinguish the scene close to the real one.

Technological progress solves VR “vertigo” AR glasses are closer to ordinary glasses

The “2022 XR Industry Investment Report” shows that XR (VR, AR, MR) technology and products have undergone multiple rounds of upgrades and iterations, the ecology is perfect, and the industry is entering a mature stage. In 2021, the XR industry will develop rapidly. Quest 2, launched by Facebook’s parent company Meta, has sold 10 million units. The number of mainstream VR content platforms such as Steam, Vive Port, Oculus PC, and SideQuest exceeds 17,000. -Content-Hardware” forward loop. At the same time, the number of enterprise-level AR use cases and the number of potential user groups continue to increase, consumer-level AR products continue to emerge, and the concept of metaverse introduces XR into mainstream cultural imagination. In 2022, investment and M&A in the XR industry will continue to heat up.

Regarding the VR products currently on the market, consumers generally report that there is still an intuitive feeling of “dizziness” when worn for a long time. AR still has room for optimization in terms of optics and performance, which needs to be integrated between the system, computing power and product weight. measure.

However, from the perspective of technology and industry development, with the technological advancement of optical devices and perceptual interaction, hardware-level problems have gradually been improved. Solving “dizziness” runs through the evolution of VR technology, and the level of optical devices, display screens, and sensory interaction technologies has a decisive impact on the terminal experience.

In recent years, with the advancement of technology, optical devices have gradually become ultra-thin, and display screens with high resolution, high refresh rate, and low latency have become the current mainstream configuration solutions; in terms of sensory interaction, head tracking technology is basically mature, combined with eye tracking The variable-focus display of VR has greatly alleviated the dizziness of VR, and the problems at the hardware level have been gradually improved.

At the same time, the threshold of hardware technology is gradually lowered, and content resources have become the core driving force for the development of the industry. VR technology has been gradually upgraded to empower content creation, adding innovations in content interaction such as space movement, gesture interaction, and voice input, bringing richer imagination space to content creation.

At the same time, in AR optics, optical waveguide technology, which is regarded as the ultimate solution, has also developed rapidly. In the first half of 2023, a variety of consumer-grade AR glasses equipped with optical waveguide modules will be released, showing the gradual replacement of free-form surfaces (including Birdbath). Compared with free-form surface technology, the optical waveguide is light in weight, small in size and high in light transmittance, making AR glasses closer to the glasses worn by ordinary people.

In addition, in terms of sensing technology, technologies such as eye tracking, expression capture technology, and head and body motion capture have entered the application stage. Modeling technology is becoming more mature, driving the optimization and development of image engine and rendering algorithm. In terms of interactive technology, multi-sensory and multi-channel interactive technologies such as vision, touch, hearing, and motion are developing rapidly, six degrees of freedom are basically popularized, and multi-person collaborative interaction has begun to be applied.

Domestic products seize the market, and various regions issue policies to “layout” the Metaverse

It is worth noting that although global VR shipments will decline slightly in 2022, sales in China will double. According to foreign media reports, Pico, a subsidiary of ByteDance, is grabbing more shares of Meta. The Pico 4 headset developed by it has not only attracted many consumers in the Eurasian market, but also entered some overseas markets that Meta did not enter in the past. Pico’s market share more than tripled to around 15%.

In terms of AR, according to data from research institutions, the total AR shipments in 2022 will total 420,000 units, an increase of 50% compared with 2021. Goods have increased significantly, including domestic Nreal, Rokid, Thunderbird, Yingmu, Mijia Honeycomb, Dream Glass, Bright Vision, Lenovo, Li Weike, etc., which together will contribute 50% of the global AR glasses sales in 2022.

At the same time, in China, in 2022, various regions will launch XR-related policies based on the metaverse. Beijing, Shanghai, Henan, Xiamen, Wuhan and other places have successively released policies to promote the development of metaverse industry; Shandong Province and Qingdao City have issued policies related to virtual reality to further consolidate the existing foundation and cultivate new highlands; Reality is cultivated as an important field of the digital economy; Shanxi, Jiangxi, etc. are focusing on promoting the application of virtual reality in various industries. In 2023, Zhejiang, Suzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and many other places will introduce XR special policies, with a view to promoting XR technology innovation, industrial development and ecological construction, and planning a new track for future development.

The new form of “smart manufacturing” combining virtual and real, more application scenarios have been “unlocked”

It is worth noting that, in addition to individual users, XR technology is accelerating the empowerment of thousands of industries, and new technologies, new scenarios, new models, and new business formats are emerging one after another.

In the field of industrial manufacturing, XR technology has become a new generation of productivity tools, widely used in R&D design, production optimization, equipment operation and maintenance, product testing, skills training, cross-border and cross-regional collaboration, etc., presenting a new form of intelligent manufacturing that integrates virtual and real. In the medical field, XR technology has demonstrated value in medical imaging, surgical assistance, medical education, telemedicine, rehabilitation training, and drug research and development.

For example, in terms of medical imaging, with the help of holographic and virtual reality image data, it is possible to comprehensively observe the details of lesions and dig deep into image information, which helps doctors reduce the time spent on film reading and the rate of misdiagnosis. In terms of surgery, XR technology can improve the efficiency of surgery. For example, holographic imaging technology can display holographic effects, and full-view display can make up for the limited field of view of minimally invasive surgery, reduce intraoperative risks, and reduce postoperative complications.

In the field of culture, immersive new interactive modes have appeared in various scenes such as the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Spring Festival Gala. New technologies such as holographic displays and digital virtual humans are dizzying.

In the field of education, breaking the barriers of space brings innovations to offline and online education. The Educational Metaverse can realize the integration of smart education on the cloud. Teachers and students participate in the classroom as digital identities and interact in virtual teaching places.


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