Three of the Best Consumer Products from the Virtual Reality Expo

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This month the Vancouver Convention Center played host to the first-ever Consumer Virtual Reality Expo, presented by Archiact Interactive.

There was a lot on display, and line-ups that weren’t conducive to those looking to have even a brief moment with each exhibiting company. So while the lights are no longer dim, and we’re all eagerly awaiting the arrival of next year’s Consumer VR Expo, I’ve got a list of the top three consumer products from the show floor.

MERGE VR

VR’s biggest problem has always been fit. Does it fit in your budget? Does it work with your pre-existing hardware? Do you have enough room in your home/office for a dedicated space, or cable management systems?

Google Cardboard looked to bring mobile VR to the masses with its IKEA-like construction of the cardboard, and it really did help cement the idea of mobile VR in the marketplace. While it’s a different beast in comparison to “room-scale VR” – experience that allow you to walk around a space with position tracking – it doesn’t lack in the level of excitement it packs.

Merge VR has taken the mobile world of VR and given it a an overhaul. Made from almost nerf-quality foam, it’s a nearly indestructible quality version of the grease-soaked cardboard version produced by Google. Adjustable lenses, any-phone fitting, top band strap, and a sleek design, all make the Merge VR headset the premier mobile virtual experience. A portion of the back can even be removed to expose your device’s camera, which will allow you to experience seamless AR applications as well.

It’s a must.

VR CHAT

Something that the world of video games and entertainment has given to consumers since the get-go is social interaction. Whether playing online (thank you, internet), or sitting in a room with your pals, video games, and the digital age have fostered friendships – and destroyed them, depending on the game you’re playing.

Now VR hasn’t quite found a place, or property that will give you that same online experience, what it does have (thanks to VR CHAT) is social interaction. A “virtually live chat room” of sorts allow people to create their own hangouts, and invite people to join them.

It’s still in its infancy, and some of the avatars are fuels for nightmares, but the practice of spending time to create a world, then sharing it with people all over the world, is kind of the backbone as to why we love technology as a whole, isn’t it?

TILT BRUSH

I mentioned before how Google is no stranger to the VR space. What they’re doing at their campus is astounding. Putting a large portion of their efforts in furthering the evolution of the space/medium.

Tilt Brush is every artist’s wet dream. It’s the one thing that burst forth from the imagination of any human when you ask what the medium of free 3d movement could bring to the digital art planet. Tilt Brush is slick, it’s intuitive, and it’s extremely important. People often ask “how is VR going to change the world”, and Tilt Brush is an absolutely beautiful answer to that question. Creating, sharing, and experiencing art in a completely virtual setting is something to be seen.

Honorable mentions:

  • House of Languages, a VR teaching tool that will help attach words with their associated objects in a cartoony world. Spanish, German, and English are the only languages currently available, but the delivery of the system and educational material is key here.
  • Hammer & Tusk: While not a product per say, H&T is the premier online news source for all things VR / AR / 360 Video.
  • Call of the Starseed: I’ve gushed enough about Cloudhead Games’ VR puzzle adventure game. But it’s still the absolute pinnacle of gaming experiences on this medium. You’d be remiss to miss out on this outstanding game.

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