Chinese players use both types of devices in innovative and pioneering applications
One of the most impressive scenes in Ready Player One, a 2018 sci-fi film by acclaimed director Steven Spielberg, is that the protagonist connects to the future world with head-mounted displays and haptic data gloves.
In fact, such a fantastic way to see, hear, touch and interact with a digital world is not far off, such as in China, virtual reality equipment – which allows users to enter virtual worlds for gaming, entertainment, education and work – recently debuted in Beijing.
Dubbed Gates01, users can enter an area of approximately three square meters, run freely and move in omnidirectional movements to discover digital worlds with a VR headset, vibrating vest, treadmill and motion capture gloves. .
“To some extent, the future shown in the film is now happening in the country,” said Guo Cheng, founder and CEO of Chinese hardware maker StepVR, which is also the maker of the product.
“Right now, a simple headset can cause motion sickness and dizziness due to an inability to restore the vestibular system’s sense of balance. Compared to most existing VR equipment, Gates01 has made five senses in terms of visual, tactile, olfactory, taste and auditory, which created a more balanced and immersive experience,” Guo said.
According to breakthroughs made by StepVR, China has seen increased investment in virtual and augmented reality markets in recent years.
China’s IT spending in the sector reached about $2.13 billion last year, according to international consultancy Data Corp. He also predicted that by 2026, China will be the world’s second largest virtual reality and augmented reality market.
“Virtual reality and augmented reality are promising in the country thanks to the advancement of consumer hardware products and a more abundant content ecosystem created by various manufacturers,” said Claire Zhao, analyst at IDC China.
StepVR’s Guo added that the Chinese company has gradually launched its innovative products in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Middle East, North America and Europe, and launched products for individuals and families. around the world in the first half of next year.
Founded in 2013, StepVR launched an ultra-space free-roaming VR esports brand, Future Battlefield, in China last year. In less than a year, Future Battlefield had opened over 140 stores and gained over one million users by the middle of this year.
“We aim to launch a new VR product, with 50% smaller size and lighter weight, to fit easily into places such as homes, gyms and offices for personal use,” Guo said, adding that the goal is to create an immersive VR experience for every user.
In November, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and four other ministries unveiled a plan to boost the development of the virtual reality industry and promised to achieve breakthroughs in key technologies and applications to from 2026.
According to the plan, the total scale of China’s virtual reality industry, including related hardware, software and applications, is expected to exceed 350 billion yuan ($50.3 billion) by 2026.
Meanwhile, the country aims to cultivate 100 enterprises with strong innovation ability and strong influence on the industry, and increase sales of VR terminals to 25 million units, according to the plan.
In addition to the entertainment industry, virtual reality and augmented reality have been widely applied in a range of industries, including healthcare, education and media in China.
At Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, virtual reality has already been used in endoscopic surgery to remove a brain tumor from a patient.
Wearing VR headsets, doctors successfully and precisely cut target tissue through a five-centimeter skin incision. The enhanced 3D holographic images of the brain were projected in real time onto the patient’s scalp to show exact locations inside the brain.
In addition, virtual reality has also played an important role in driving the media industry. During the two sessions this year, a series of VR products had already made a positive difference in the tasks of journalists.
For example, Leion Pro, a pair of 5G and AI-enabled AR and VR glasses, allowed journalists to conduct interviews and stream them live online in real time.
Developed by Chinese smartglasses producer Beijing LLVision Technology Co, the glasses, according to the company, are able to identify faces from a database of 10,000 in 100 milliseconds.
“The era of holographic media created by 5G will combine reality and virtuality, from technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality, voice recognition and facial recognition to technologies related to emotion recognition and emotional computing” , said Yang Qiguang, a professor at the School of Journalism. and Communication at Renmin University of China in Beijing.
“With the support of virtual reality and augmented reality, the integration of intelligence and media industry will be advanced to a deeper level,” Yang said.