Qualcomm Introduces Vuforia, A virtual Reality App SDK
With the rise of smartphone popularity today you will be considered left out or backwards if you did not have one. The growth of smartphone adoption and technology is so rapid that it is almost unreal. Just a little under 10 years since the launch of the first iPhone, one of the first smartphones that gained mass adoption the technology that we find in these little handheld devices we carry daily and we rely on daily is phenomenal even compared to the PC. Of course 10 years ago we could not use our smartphones to edit documents, we can even barely access the internet through our mobile phones. Today the in thing is the smartwatch, or smart wear. It was at the time of iPhone’s introduction just an imagination, something that can only come out of star trek. Today it is a real product you can get off the shelves of your nearest tech stores. The smartwatch phenomenon is still a very young thing but it is a very welcome addition to the smartphone era, where we rely on our smartphones basically for everything; schedules, payments, browsing, gaming and the likes. It makes sense then for us to have something on our wrist reminding us of everything we store in our smartphone too.
But since the mass introduction of smartwatches to be paired with you smartphones and every manufacturer frantically developing smartwatches to go with their products we sidelines something else. Before the smartwatch craze there was a craze for 3D experience in movies, and gaming. But it is not the 3D technology we want or crave for, we want a virtual reality experience and when the smartwatch was introduced, we forgot about this craving. Not only us, the manufacturers too. The only manufacturer in IFA that announced their Virtual Reality gear is Samsung and that reminds us how much we actually want a VR device. So if you are wondering what would the next big thing be, look no further it is Virtual Reality and we welcome Qualcomm’s Vuforia into the fray.
The Samsung Gear VR that we see in the IFA 2014 works very much like an Oculus Rift or Rift 2 except that the gear VR will have to be paired to your smartphone to be functional, it is more like you have to insert your device into the Gear VR for it to work. The Gear VR effectively uses your Samsung smartphone display as the VR display to give you that immerse experience. That puts Samsung in the right place but without developer support there is no point to the Samsung Gear VR and the Oculus Rift. Qualcomm looks to solve that issue for us luckily with the Vuforia.
What is Vuforia? Unlike Qualcomm’s natural and usual releases of a super fast and expensive processor for a super advanced smartphone for NASA, or cheaper alternative processors for the likes of us this time they actually helped the VR industry by introducing an SDK for developers to develop apps for VR purposes specifically. It is specifically known as the SDK for Digital Eyewear and that not only includes VR but any type of digital display that you can put on as a pair of glasses for example (cue the dragon ball-esque one sided eye wear, or lets just go with Google Glasses). But as it was stated Qualcomm’s Vuforia focuses on developing and growing the VR market by encouraging developers to design apps on it specifically for VR. The SDK will help developers to develop better apps with its support for calibrating sensors for position calibration and also object recognition. It also basically transforms your vision into an augmented reality space. From the reports we get form Uplinq Samsung and Epson are already on board with Qualcomm in this venture. We also heard that it is quite good in implementation. The beta SDK is expected to be released later this year if all goes right.
Now VR is great, it means that everything can become personal now. You need to identify something without taking photos of it, use a VR and done. You watch to watch an HD movie but you want to make it private and watch it in real 3D, load up the movie in your device, done. It works great for education too if you think about it. Instead of using complex computer models or use up plenty of space to create a science model you can just load it up and show it through the VR device. It can also immerse students in the experience of say a historical event. The biggest effect it will have is definitely gaming. For use gamers we will get gaming experience that is so real that we won’t be able to separate it with real life, heck we can even use our environments as a backdrop to the games we play, how cool is that? So if you are a developer and you aspire to develop apps geared for VR; watch for it, wait for it, get it, develop on it. We really encourage you too because like you, we want VR.