With Virtual Reality a household term now (almost!) and HTC selling 10,000 Vive headsets in the first 10 minutes of them going on sale, not to mention a free Gear VR with every Samsung Glalaxy S7 and S7 Edge you order… Could augmented reality be far behind?
Claire Pulpher took a look at Meta 2 to tell us what to expect…
A couple of years ago, I told my friends and family that a new wave in technology would take over the industry. Every single one of them laughed at me! My had said that virtual and augmented reality would be come supremely popular…and let me tell you, they're not laughing now!
I am hugely fascinated with every aspect of VR and AR, from the initial release of the Oculus Rift to video footage of the Microsoft HoloLens - don't even get me started on Magic Leap's incredible video of a 'whale' splashing through an auditorium. However, a certain new release has caught my eye and that's Meta 2. If you haven't heard of it, don't worry; the original Meta started life as a Kickstarter project and never really became a household name.
The Meta 2, despite the $949 (£900) price tag, is set to be a lot more popular and not just to the hardcore tech geeks like myself. So what does it do? Well, a video has recently surfaced showing the Meta 2 in action. Aesthetically, the headset looks like it's come from a video game or the Matrix. It's kind of a hybrid between a motorcycle helmet and Google Glass, showcasing a large visor. Once it's on, the visuals take 'hologram' to a whole new level. I couldn't believe what I was seeing when the person demoing the features physically interacted with the imaginary objects and screens in front of him.
I remember watching Iron Man 3 not too long ago and that feeling of awe as Tony Stark whizzed through holographic computer screens, enlarging them with a pinch. Part of me even thought it was maybe even a little too far-fetched (because a gigantic suit of armour that houses a robotic assistant is perfectly plausible). What the Meta 2 demonstrates is all that and more. Holographic items that are completely tangible appear with little distortion - although when they're touched you can see them 'melt' slightly. One of the best and most positive things to come from augmented reality is how it can help scientific developments.
Visual demonstrations of the Meta 2 show a human brain replica being enlarged in its 3D form right in front of your eyes. Not only this but the brain could be zoomed in on, analysed and touched. Sure, we may still be awaiting further developments to help make this a totally life-changing medical aid, but it's an incredible concept, especially for diagnosticians. For me on a personal level, I can't help but imagine how unbelievably mind-blowing it would be to use these devices for gaming. Now THIS is what I would call 'next gen'. And with Pokemon GO just around the corner for release on mobile devices, augmented reality gaming could take the world by storm even quicker than we think.
Imagine walking down the street, wearing your Meta 2, tuned in to a Star Wars game. Suddenly, you see Darth Vader across the road so you pull out your lightsaber and start duelling, just outside Tesco's. That, right there, is the future.
• 90-degree field of view
• 2560 x 1440 display resolution
• 720p front-facing camera
• Sensor array for hand interactions and positional tracking
• 4 speaker near-ear audio
• Brightness and volume control
• 9 foot cable for video, data, and power (HDMI Version 1.4b)
• Support for Windows applications, including: Microsoft Office Adobe Creative Suite Spotify
• Mac support planned for this year.
• Meta operating environment
• Meta 2 is a tethered device that requires a modern computer with Windows 8 or 10.