metaverse. metaverse. metaverse.
It seems like half of the companies at CES this year all raved about the Metaverse buzzword. And alongside the Metaverse, virtual reality was all the rage at CES this year as well. There have been countless wearable prototypes that attach to your face and immerse you in virtual worlds where you can see, feel, and in some cases even smell your cyber environment.
While the Metaverse was being heralded as the next big thing in tech at CES, another virtual reality technology at the show seemed like the truly revolutionary immersive 3D technology: glasses-free 3D monitors and TVs.
That’s right, 3D screens did Not require 3D glasses – and the graphics looked incredible. In fact, it seemed obvious that in order for Metaverse and VR to actually become a viable technology like so many companies are hoping, they would need glasses-free 3D monitors and TVs to be successful.
Breylon headset-free 3D displays. The Breylon Fusion debuted at CES and can be seen in the background.
Credit: Matt Binder/Mashable
Brelyon was one company I encountered at CES in this space. Breylon, an MIT spin-off, makes virtual displays without a headset and presented a prototype for its new VR screen at the event. This prototype has a rounded shape like a VR headset, but you’re not actually wearing it. It’s way too big for that anyway – it’s a full-fledged 8K OLED panoramic desktop monitor. The company calls it the Brelyon Fusion and says it has the world’s largest field of view for an OLED display. And it really felt that way when I stood in front of the monitor.
So is the Breylon Fusion really good?
The optics of the Breylon Fusion were amazing. The picture was clear and the colors were rich. It looked unlike any 3D visualization I’ve ever seen. Usually when I’m watching a 3D movie that requires glasses, the graphics just don’t appear as clear to me as they do in 2D. Another problem is that I often have to remove my glasses when my eyes start to strain. Sometimes I even catch myself squinting. I didn’t experience any of that when viewing these glasses-free 3D screens.
And Breylon had other equally impressive monitors to offer. One of his products basically layered visuals on top of each other to create the most realistic 3D visuals I’ve seen. The best way to explain it is to imagine the images on the headset display when Tony Stark puts on the Iron Man helmet in the Marvel movies. Now imagine being able to see these overlays over other background graphics – but without having to wear a helmet or goggles or anything else.
Breylon’s products are not yet available to consumers and are currently in the five-figure range. However, I came across another headset-free 3D monitor from a company called 3D game market says they will release their consumer monitor called the 3DGMin the coming months – and at a price below $2,000.
The glasses-free 3DGM 3D monitor from 3D Gaming Market.
Credit: Matt Binder/Mashable
The 3DGM is a 32-inch 4K glasses-free 3D desktop monitor that doesn’t even require you to stand directly in front of the screen. 3D Game Market says the monitor comes with AI eye-tracking technology that optimizes the 3D visualization to match your position. And it looked really good.
(It’s important to note here that the way glasses-less 3D display technology works makes it all but impossible to capture on camera. As a result, dear readers, you unfortunately cannot experience the 3D visuals in the photographs of the displays we’ve featured included. Hope you get a chance to experience it for yourself soon!)
How are the 3DGM and Breylon 3D displays different?
One difference between the 3DGM and Breylon device models was that 3DGM felt more like the traditional kind of 3D you would experience in 3D cinemas – only without the glasses, of course. Graphics weren’t as sharp as Breylon’s screens. And when you look at the Breylon monitors, you get the feeling that the 3D images were created by going deeper and deeper in the screen. At times I couldn’t tell how close I was to the actual Breylon monitor. However, the 3DGM felt like the images were popping right out of the box the end of the screen and comes towards me.
This is not a blow to 3DGM at all. It is clear that each company uses different methods to create glasses-free 3D television. Breylon’s version might have a slightly bigger wow factor, but unlike Breylon, the company will be releasing its monitor soon if 3DGM’s current plans come to fruition, and at a price consumers can actually afford.
And it’s not just new companies working on glasses-free 3D. Although I didn’t see it, our friends over there PCMag also reported on a new Asus gaming laptop equipped with a built-in 3D monitor without a headset.
It should be pretty clear why VR and the Metaverse haven’t taken off like so many companies were hoping. Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has billion lost to focus on its virtual reality platform — and that’s the company that’s basically started this whole current metaverse trend. At the moment, it’s hard to imagine people wearing bulky VR glasses and using them as a regular device for everyday use. Imagine instead of having to strap on bulky hats, users could just flop down in front of their monitors and enter virtual reality metaverses like they surf any other part of the internet.
When I was in Las Vegas for CES, I came across a storefront that made the whole issue crystal clear. Right there on the Vegas Strip was a company that marketed virtual reality experiences to tourists. The marketing visuals featured cartoon images of people wearing headsets not dissimilar to Meta’s Quest 2 VR headset.
In 2023, virtual reality is still, well, very gimmicky. If companies want their immersive virtual worlds to go beyond a mere tourist attraction, then that success depends on 3D displays being successful. Until then, the Metaverse will stick with the headsets not too much want to wear.
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