/// We Have Seen the Future and It’s 3-D, Mobile and Waterproof

January 14, 2013  |  Media Week

There were two big observations out of the annual Consumer Electronics Show last week. First, from media giants like AOL and Comcast emerged the common vision that 2013 will be the year content providers at last realize the promise of connectivity across multiple platforms. And yet, the CES hordes continued to hear about “technologies” that really amount to little more than slogans (SmartGlass, TV Everywhere) and that represent not some great, futuristic leap forward but, in reality, the interbusiness equivalent of sharing your toys at recess. Then, there was that familiar refrain of idealistic inventors who trek to Vegas not just this year but every winter to show off their sometimes cool, sometimes just plain weird wares: “This time around, my product will catch on.” The value these mostly twentysomethings bring to CES in the first place is to develop devices and software that help make other technologies better—even if it means working with competitors. Oculus, a startup run by Palmer Luckey, this year unveiled gaffers-taped prototypes of its 3-D headset, the Rift, which promises to turn video gaming into virtual reality quickly and simply. That’s a much harder proposition than it sounds. Video games aren’t made for head-mounted displays filled with little gyroscopes; they’re made for $60 controllers you buy at GameStop, all of which basically look the same. Luckey—with what he calls “some hacky driver fixes in DirectX,” Microsoft’s 3-D rendering software used to play most Windows games—demonstrated at the show that one could use cheaply produced sensors to mimic the commands of a gamepad within a headset. Luckey then put the prototype on Kickstarter as a “development kit” for anybody wanting to make a game compatible with his device.

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We Have Seen the Future and It’s 3-D, Mobile and Waterproof

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