In March of 2015, the Silicon-Valley start up company, uSens, achieved 386% of their Kickstarter campaign goal. In fact, they made their original modest funding goal within 2 weeks of their campaign going live. Since then uSens has delivered on it's promise and is in development mode with an expanded presence in China and an increased staff. So what is it that uSens is developing that is so popular and compelling?
I'll bet you thought Oculus Rift was the only VR game in town. Not so. uSens core founders, Anli He, Yue Fei and Chris Shi, have been involved in deep development of the basic technologies of virtual reality for over a decade. The company doesn't have the flash or high-profile that Oculus does, but in a recent meeting with uSens, I had the distinct impression they were doing a lot of the real "hard-lifting" in AR/VR development. And although their kickstarter campaign was for a AR/VR headset, the Impression PI, they aren't really focused on manufacturing. The Impression PI is a kind of practical model for them to test their ideas on while getting focused feedback from their kickstarter investors (all 508 of them).
When we started out, it was with the vision of creating a headset that would give users the best possible VR + AR experience. We've come a long way towards realizing that vision. Our position tracking capability is coming along at a rapid pace, and we're continuing to fine tune the algorithms to ensure it meets the demands of tech savvy consumers everywhere. Our 3D hand gesture recognition and tracking abilities are already at a mature stage -from Kickstarter uSens post
Usens and it's development team are working to bring AR and VR to a wider user base and to expand it's use beyond simply gaming, but to "a new world of applications in industries such as education, healthcare, entertainment, business training, etc.". Where uSens has the edge on much of the burgeoning VR industry is that they've been working on the problems of VR/AR for some time, plus they have had a breakthrough in the very difficult technology of gesture control and position tracking. In fact, Usens was the the "first to offer 3D gesture recognition on mobile platforms and the first to combine virtual and augmented reality."
At the recent Siggraph 2015 conference, I discovered that the huge interest in Augmented and Virtual Reality is not just a passing fad. It's the result of years of study and research and technical breakthroughs, some of which were due to the efforts of uSens. We are on the verge of a major change in how we interact with computers and each other. It will take longer for the Hollywood entertainment industry to accept this change, but in the world of smartphones and tablets, the advent of Augmented and Virtual Reality is already becoming a force that could literally change peoples lives.
uSens is a company that is driving this change and, I for one, plan on following their progress.
You can find out more information at the uSens website and their unique AR/VR headset, the Impression PI at its dedicated website. Note: the Impression PI can be pre-ordered from the website and is scheduled to release sometime in November of 2015. And be sure to watch the video below as well to get a sense of what uSens is up to.