Most would agree that Microsoft's HoloLens mixed reality headset is an excellent piece of technology. However, it also has some notable limitation, such as its field of view (FoV). Augmented reality competitors are starting to arrive, and a new startup called nreal could point to the future of the tech.
HoloLens is a clunkly helmet-style headset, although it is worth noting Microsoft has only ever released a developer edition. With the launch of HoloLens 2 this year, the company may reveal a sleeker device.
Nreal wants to make mixed reality more mobile. The startup has announced the nreal light, a pair of MR glasses. Unlike rivals such as Magic Leap, nreal's device looks much more like traditional glasses weighing just 85 grams.
The company says users will be able to wear the glasses for hours, eliminating the fatigue that comes with HoloLens and other VR headsets. While we will wait for the device to arrive before making a lasting judgement, it seems fair to say the future of mixed reality will be devices that are small and light.
Similar to Magic Leap, the nreal light needs a companion pack that does the computing. Without this pack, the glasses are useless.
As mentioned, one of the benefits of the device is its improved FoV. Nreal says it offers 52 degree field of view compared to HoloLens' 35 degrees.
nreal light features
- Lightweight Form Factor– The featherweight of its class, nreal light weighs in at just 85 grams, only slightly heavier than sunglasses and comfortable enough to be worn for hours
- Sleek Design– Ready-to-wear and meticulously designed, nreal light resembles sunglasses
- Vivid Optical Display – nreal light's high-resolution proprietary display at 1080p with 52º FoV brings a wide-screen view that showcases vivid graphics
- Environmental Understanding – Designed with groundbreaking efficiency, nreal light uses just two cameras and sensors, which combined with SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) algorithms track the environment to make virtual objects interact seamlessly with the real world, with minimal computing power wastage
- Cross Platform Compatibility – nreal's external computing pack is powered by the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform, but also cross-platform compatible with most USB-C devices including laptops and desktops
- Integrated Spatial Sound and Voice Control – For a fully immersive experience, visuals are augmented by 360° spatial sound through dual speakers, while dual microphones offer control of your virtual environment through voice inputs
- Wireless Controller – With up to three degrees of freedom, nreal's controllers offer haptic feedback with a responsiveness that's intuitive to navigate a mixed reality