Now that it’s all said and done it’s easy to see that E3 2017 just wasn’t a huge showing for VR hardware. Microsoft didn’t even mention VR at all during the reveal of the Xbox One X even though executives have suggested the system will still support it.
That said, we did try out some really cool stuff located around the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Runner Up: CaptoGlove
The CaptoGlove was quickly funded when it started its funding campaign on Kickstarter and it is easy to see why.
The wearable allows users to interact with hand gestures, it is low profile, it is comfortable, and it is incredibly functional with many customization options across VR and non-VR experiences. You can use one or two gloves to control movement, actions (including shooting), and driving with inputs measured across the entirety of your hands and we got a chance to try it while piloting a military helicopter.
The simulation took place in DCS World, a grueling simulation experience, so the chopper flew realistically and responded to even the most subtle movements. Once I got my bearings with the glove, which I was wearing while mimicking the action of holding a helicopter’s control stick, I flew closer to the ground and between buildings. The accuracy and response time allowed me to maneuver deftly, an impressive feat in DCS World for sure. The creators of the tool have plans to add haptic sensors to the base glove in the future, so we could be witnessing an affordable and functional new step for immersive input in VR.
Runner Up: Antilatency
We’ve seen Antilatency at the last few VR-focused conferences, but at E3 we saw the latest iteration of the startup’s tracking system and it was both quite solid and might be very useful for certain applications.
Previously, the company used strips across the floor with lights on them and a tiny camera that attaches to the front of a Gear VR to track a wireless headset throughout a large space. The problem was that it would be easy to step on the strips, or annoying to have to remember to step over them.
At E3, however, the company embedded the lights into inexpensive foam flooring and covered a much larger space with the tracking technology than we’ve seen attempted previously. The system tracked a pair of Gear VRs in a 3.6 meter by 7.2 meter space and showed a concept of a two-player game in which the space was divided in half and each player could stay within their region.
The next step for the startup is to take the tiny camera used on the headset and apply that technology to a 6 degrees of freedom hand controller. The company recently raised $2.1 million and is moving to San Francisco.
Best VR Hardware of E3 2017: DisplayLink Wireless Vive
Being completely untethered in a wireless VR headset with 6 degrees of freedom hand controls running at 90 frames per second is pure joy.
We tried out a pair of wireless accessories for Vive at E3, but the one from DisplayLink seemed to get everything right. It fit snugly at the back of the head and balanced out the weight so it didn’t even seem like it was there. The receiver’s position would also keep it out of the way of over-the-head headphones. Two fins on the top are the antennas so it can make a better connection with an overhead transmitter too.
We only had about five minutes with the unit but didn’t notice any additional latency or loss in visual quality. We absolutely cannot wait to see companies turn these types of units into consumer products as we think everyone that owns a Vive is likely to want something like this.
Getting rid of the wire is such a freeing experience nobody is going to want to go back to a wired headset.
What were some of the best hardware announcements and demos you saw at E3 2017? Let us know down in the comments below!