As the XR landscape continues to grow, accelerating towards an expected value of $300 billion by 2024, immersive technology is evolving at an amazing rate. Increasingly, vendors and innovators are searching for new and improved ways to immerse users in unique experiences, using powerful and disruptive technology.
Hand and eye tracking tools, capable of sensing the movements, gestures, and gaze of a user, can take XR experiences to a new level. These tools open the door for everything from completely hands-free XR user interfaces to intelligent foveated rendering.
While many XR vendors are investing heavily in this area, some innovators are making bigger waves than others. Here are some of the main companies you should be watching in 2022.
Paving the way to the future of the metaverse, Meta is one of the market leaders in the XR landscape today. For years, the company has been delivering some of the most powerful and accessible XR experiences around, with tools like the Oculus Quest. To achieve their mission of delivering highly immersive, productive, and engaging experiences, Meta invests heavily in tracking technologies.
Tools like the Oculus already come with hand tracking functionality, to help users interact with some software on a hands-free basis. Meta is also working on new technology to track your eyes and face in the Metaverse. This will allow for more meaningful communication and collaboration experiences, complete with emotion and facial expression.
Innovators in the world of Mixed Reality, Microsoft relies heavily on concepts like hand and eye tracking to help users combine the physical and digital worlds. The Microsoft HoloLens technology available today comes with state-of-the-art eye-tracking, and hand tracking capabilities to ensure users can easily interact with digital content.
Microsoft also makes it easier for other developers to create immersive experience within the MR landscape. The Microsoft Mesh development space provides access to Mixed Reality toolkits which come infused with hand and eye tracking functionality.
VIVE is quickly making a name for itself as a go-to solution for businesses and professionals in search of high-level XR experiences. VIVE’s technology, which covers a range of MR and VR tools, comes with access to powerful hand-tracking functionality, to immerse users in their virtual experiences. The company also supports eye tracking, for concepts like foveated rendering.
As VIVE’s innovative tools continue to evolve, delivering ever-more comfortable, convenient, and powerful XR experiences, we’re likely to see a strong focus on excellent tracking technology. Already, VIVE’s ecosystem is brimming with tools which make accessing the XR space easier.
Probably the most highly renowned name in the hand tracking landscape, Ultraleap produces some of the most powerful technology in the market. The hand-tracking technology offered by Ultraleap gives businesses, developers, and users new access to a world of opportunities in the XR space. The company offers a range of modules, including the Stratos Inspire, and Leap Motion controller.
For companies interested in a world of technology stepping beyond controllers, Ultraleap promises unlimited potential. The organisation is also investing in haptics, to help users feel more within the XR interactions.
Offering both virtual and mixed reality experiences, Varjo is one of the top companies in the market today for businesses interested in extended reality. The Varjo ecosystem is brimming with cutting-edge tools, great for businesses who want to take training, collaboration, and even customer experience to the next level.
Varjo’s technology also includes access to powerful eye tracking capabilities. When you first start using a Varjo headset, the technology will even help you to calibrate your eye tracking experience, which also works alongside single vision glasses.
Best-known in the gaming world, Valve helps developers and creators to design a host of unique and immersive experiences for their users in virtual reality. The Valve Index, for instance, provides access to a powerful virtual reality headset, specially designed for a new generation of gamers. With the Valve Index kit, developers can even dive deeper into the hand and eye tracking technology built into the Valve software.
Valve’s base station technology makes it easier for developers to create experiences capable of tracking user movement and engagement with various components in a virtual ecosystem. It will be interesting to see what Valve delivers next.
Unity and Magic Leap
As one of the major development platforms for vendors and companies creating in XR, Unity has taken the world by storm. Magic Leap, on the other hand, is one of the most significant companies in the Mixed Reality world, creating enterprise-ready smart glasses.
Unity’s intuitive environment makes it easy to produce a wide range of powerful experiences in VR, MR, and AR. The Unity Eye tracking feature allows users to leverage the features of the Magic Leap 1 to detect where a user’s eyes are focused. With Unity’s technology, developers can build applications using MLEyes to track fixation points in a user’s vision, and help guide the virtual experience.
No stranger to innovation in the technology landscape, Apple has been changing the way we interact with the digital world for a number of years. The company is also a major innovator in the eye tracking space, using intelligent technology to unlock the power of biometrics for phones, and even help users control their iPads.
As Apple continues to invest in the XR environment, introducing new concepts like branded smart glasses for future consumers, we’re likely to see an increase in its focus on tracking technology. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple innovates in this space, to make it easier for users to get the most out of their mixed and augmented reality experiences.