Panasonic hit the ground running at CES 2020 with their VR Glasses. I want to be clear, they’re not VR goggles like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. These are pretty much just extra thick eyeglasses with screens and earbuds built in. The glasses themselves are Ultra HD with 3D visuals and 5G connectivity, to support Ultra HD streaming. This new format sounds quite a bit more immersive than what we’re used to. This potentially means no more worrying about massive headsets: just slap on your specs and get to gaming.
It’s interesting to look at these because they’re unlike the VR hardware we’ve seen become popular in recent years. Current VR hardware is bulky and heavy on your head and requires near-constant connection to power. If Panasonic’s version of VR glasses were to take off, we would be looking at a simpler experience all around the board – literally.
What kind of application can this serve?
Smaller, more portable VR glasses could revolutionize the experience for a generation. Assuming they can function the same way and connect to existing VR controllers, VR gaming would become much more streamlined. Rather than one or two VR stations in an arcade – or at Happy Daze if you’re in Ottawa, Ontario – you can have a whole internet cafe set up with VR spaces. No longer will you need a big open living room to accommodate your whole setup, just pop the glasses on and get going.
This could also serve as a catalyst in moving life as we know it to a permanent state of VR, like we see in sci-fi. No no, come back. I know: VR gaming is super expensive to get into still, with the cheapest headsets still running you around $200. I’m not saying Panasonic VR will be cheaper, but it my be more worth the price.
Virtual Reality is already so accessible. I have a pair of goggles I got for $20, and all I need is an app on my phone. When I started using it I was super giddy, smiling like a kid for hours. That was my gateway into the tech; for others, it might be Panasonic’s steampunk-looking VR glasses.