Virtual reality is already pretty realistic, but tactile experience is limited to handheld sensations or simple vibrations.

The coming year no doubt will be just as unpredictable as 2018, as a huge range of tech trends from the cloud and blockchain to machine learning and virtual reality collide and combine. This is the latest in a series of predictions by SiliconANGLE’s staff and other experts on what’s coming in the enterprise, emerging technologies and the broader tech industry in 2019.

“Virtual Reality adoption in the consumer segment is highly dependent on price, and Oculus’ strategy of lowering prices has definitely helped drive adoption,” said Canalys Research Analyst Vincent Thielke. Incumbents and new players entering the market are targeting similar price points. “Hugo Barra is betting on his next product, the $199 Oculus Go standalone headset, to reach more users next year. The Go will excite first-time users, but driving adoption beyond social media will be a challenge.

IDC predicts that Virtual Reality headsets will make up more than 90 percent of the market until 2019, but between 2020 and 2021 AR headsets will experience exponential growth, grabbing a quarter of the market by the end of that period.

The year 2018 may be the start of Virtual Reality hitting the mainstream as headsets come into their second generation and will become cheaper, lighter and easier to use. Head-mounted displays released from Facebook Inc.’s Oculus VR, HTC Corp. and Sony Corp. in 2016 and 2017 can cost anywhere from $400 to $800, which is a barrier to wide adoption.

The concept of “inside out” tracking is that VR headsets can keep track of orientation and position in space – basically how a VR game or environment would allow a user to look around and move around. With inside-out tracking, the headset determines its own position with sensors without the need for a room to be outfitted with extra hardware and sensors.


Eye tracking, in particular, will be fundamental to VR technology in 2018. This is because rendering a VR experience even, on tiny screens near the eyes, takes a lot of computer power. That limits how games, entertainment and apps that can be written.

With the way the eye works, human vision does not “see” very well except for a very tiny spot in the very center. Foveated rendering makes it possible to spend most of the rendering power on that tiny spot and ease up in the periphery without affecting the user experience. This greatly reduces the strain on computer resources.

Disney is trying to create a more immersive VR experience with Force Jacket. The prototype is made from a converted life jacket that’s been retrofitted with 26 airbags.

Using an air compressor, vacuum pump and sensors, each airbag can be manipulated to replicate a sensation such as being hit in the chest by a snowball.

So far, researchers have been able to re-create the sensation of getting tapped on the shoulder, being punched in the side and having a snake coiling its body around the user.

People wearing the vest can even feel what it’s like to have their muscles grow to the size of a superhero’s.

EON Reality and EON Sports have developed a Virtual Reality batting simulator designed to improve a batter’s pitch recognition and improve their performance at the plate. By blending several media types, Project OPS delivers a stunningly realistic view of a Major League at bat. Real pitch data collected from real professional games are injected into the Virtual Environment and combined with 360 degree views of stadiums and video of the actual pitcher teams face. Players can now better prepare for the pitcher they will face in the next game, or review how they performed following a game.