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Ultraleap Showcases XR Bonsai Tree at CES 2024

Ultraleap Unveils a Virtual Bonsai Tree in XR Using Haptic Technology at CES

The field of extended reality (XR) is expanding quickly. The worldwide XR market was estimated to be worth $49.6 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach $519.5 billion by 2032. A projected 57.4–90.9 million people used XR technology as of 2021, with 90.9 million opting for augmented reality (AR) and 57.4 million using virtual reality (VR).

HTC unveiled the Vive Full Facial Tracker equipment for developers and organisations a few days ago at the CES 2024 event. The kit is designed for the Vive XR Elite and leverages OpenXR. It is anticipated to improve the immersive portrayal of emotions and facial movements in virtual reality (VR) by capturing up to 38 face blend forms, including the chin, cheeks, lips, tongue, teeth, and nose.

However, Sony made one of the biggest XR revelations at CES 2024 with the release of their top-tier XR headset for creating spatial media. As opposed to targeting customers who would like to play VR video games, Sony’s latest headgear is aimed at 3D content makers and technicians.

In order to demonstrate how XR encounters feel, Ultraleap, a UK-based business that uses haptic and hand tracking technologies to construct digital realms, is building a simulated bonsai tree at CES 2024.

The haptic sensations for the digital bonsai tree were created in Unity with Ultraleap Sensation Designer, a component of the company’s development package that is provided via the HDK-REC192 haptics programming gear.

The inability to physically experience what one touches in AR and VR is one of the main problems, according to Miguel Rodrigues, Ultraleap’s Senior Vice President of Product.

Feedback is now standard on every phone and is essential for interaction approval, according to Rodrigues. The goal of the bonsai presentation is to demonstrate how to overcome this difficulty by fusing VR with tactile technology in a manner that hasn’t been seen before.

According to Rodrigues, Ultraleap’s haptics and hand tracking system allow them to precisely detect a user’s hand motions and use ultrasonic waves to convey impressions to the wearer’s palms. 

Rodrigues remarked that visitors may participate in the tender care of a bonsai tree at the CES and experience the sensation of the sun’s heat or water trickling from their fingers, which is what gives a tree life. He goes on to say that users can engage with the virtual universe like real life by combining hand tracking, VR, and haptic feedback.

According to Rodrigues, this experience demonstrates how far haptics technology has advanced, from basic hand vibrations to complex virtual emotions like warmth that enhance the realism and immersion of XR encounters.

He said that the virtual bonsai tree’s tactile innovation creates an emotive and thoughtful experience.

Mid-air haptics, according to Rodrigues, will find utility in headless user interfaces, vehicle UIs, XR, gesture controllers, and more in the years to come. The virtual bonsai tree’s tactile innovation creates an emotive and thoughtful encounter.

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