A new virtual reality headset is coming, but one with a difference. It’s an untethered, 5G powered, hand-tracking capable headset designed to bring people together.
Peter Chou, former CEO and co-founder of HTC, started XRSpace in 2017 with the goal of taking XR to the masses. XR being a mix of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality.
The former HTC chief is of the opinion that VR, as it stands, is too complicated, too difficult to use and unappealing to the mass market. XRSpace’s goal, therefore, is to create a device that’s not only appealing to the masses, but also helps people connect, collaborate and come together in the virtual world.
In a time where we’re all socially-distancing at home, the idea of meeting in the virtual world instead is certainly an appealing one.
The world’s first 5G mobile VR headset
XRSpace is hoping to “create the social reality of the future” by making it possible for people to come together in a virtual setting in a way that’s natural, immersive and personal.
How’s the company doing that? Well, for starters it’s launching the world’s first 5G mobile VR headset (the XRSpace Mova). A headset that’s designed to be small and lightweight, but also far less complicated than the others currently on the market.
Packing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a wealth of other clever tech, this headset is designed to be tether-free (meaning you don’t need a PC to run it) and controller-free too. Movement inside the virtual world is controlled entirely by your head, body and hands. That’s right, the XRSpace Mova uses hand-tracking as standard.
Of course, the Mova isn’t the first headset to offer hand-tracking, the Oculus Quest has had that for a while. But the fact that this tracking is the standard straight out of the box shows that Mova is intended to be intuitive, immersive and easy-to-use.
The other main difference is where most VR headsets focus on gaming, the XRSpace Mova is designed more for the social experience.
An immersive social experience?
To that end, the company has also created a virtual world for users to explore. XRSpace Manova, as it’s known, is a VR platform with both public and private spaces.
Users will have their own virtual homes where they can get together with friends and family to chat, take part in activities or watch films. But they’ll also be able to venture out into public spaces that includes a city centre, beach, fun park, night club and more.
XRSpace Manova public space was described to us as an area where you could explore, meet up with people, buy tickets to go to the cinema or even pop to an arena to watch sports events.
This entire experience is designed to be intuitive and natural. XPSpace has built its virtual system to allow users to create life-like, full-body avatars with convincing body movement. That includes AI-powered contextual awareness, so your avatar smiles and uses natural facial expressions when you meet other people in the world.
XRSpace also says that the built-in hand-tracking will result in natural feeling handshakes, high-fives, waving, clapping and more. The company also told us that you’ll be able to buy additional trackers to further improve tracking of your legs and arms so you can play sports (for example) inside the virtual world more easily.
Digital wellness at your fingertips
Alongside the ability to explore and meet with others, users will also be able to engage in “Digital Wellness” experiences thanks to MagicLOHAS. This is pithed as “a combination of unique experiences promoting healthy and active lifestyles through VR”. That includes virtual Tai-Chi, body stretching exercises, Yoga, aerobics, cycling and more.
Sting Tao, president of the platform spoke a bit more about the virtual offering from Manova and its accompanying experiences:
“During this global lockdown, we all witnessed first-hand the importance of togetherness. In the XRSpace Manova, we’ve created a lifelike digital avatar, social gestures and plenty of places where people can be together, experience everyday social situations without the limits of distance. We are glad that we can deliver that much-needed human intimacy, helping the world adapt to the new normal with our wonderful products.”
Alongside relaxing with friends, XPSpace’s experiences are also set to include VR classrooms, meeting rooms and online learning opportunities. The company is also working with various other partners to add other experiences in the future. This includes, for example, partnerships with real-estate companies that can scan the inside of real-world homes to make it possible to explore houses for sale without even leaving your own.
Add in games, virtual reality video content and a whole lot more and you’ve certainly got an interesting proposition.
Whether it will have mass-market appeal remains to be seen though. Will the average user want to strap on a VR headset just to be able to meet up with friends or do some Yoga online? Maybe if the current social situation carries on long enough. If nothing else the timing is perfect.
Find out more about XRSpace on the company’s website and YouTube channel.