The New Level of Wearable Tech in the World of VR | VR Life

Exploring a Whole New World in Wearable Tech Video Gaming

Imagine playing your favorite game and wearing wristbands and smartwatches that can track your movements or using earbuds that allow you to adapt your performance according to your heart rate. It might seem impossible, but with virtual reality, it’s slowly turning into a reality.

Lately, it has been predicted that virtual reality (VR) will change the world of wearable tech video gaming in a way that has never been seen before through the emergence of wearable tech.

Wearable Tech in VR

Industry experts have stated that because of advancements in the field of data recording, the practical application of the said science has become more precise. And proof of that is in the invention and development of wearable gadgets like wristbands, smartwatches, and earbuds that one can use as control devices. This is proof that there is indeed a market for virtual reality and biometric gaming.

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According to Li Zhifei, the chief executive of Mobvoi, “For virtual reality, you need sensors to detect whether the user is standing or squatting, and to control input. A wearable device such as a ring would easily achieve that.” Mobvoi  is the Chinese startup responsible for producing Ticwatch, an Android-based smartwatch that is all the rage in China these days. 

“Smartwatches have potential because of the complex interactions and rich user experiences,” Li said, further confirming that by using devices like rings and smartwatches, users can monitor their own movements and even interact with VR interfaces. Video game developers have not overlooked this technology. In fact, a few have already created titles that have made full use of such technology. 

Steven LeBoeuf of Valencell, a US-based biometrics technology company, says that data recording in wearable tech is getting to be more accurate. For instance, their biometric sensors are more medically accurate in that they are able to monitor the heart rate as well as calculate the total number of burned calories. This particular technology can be used not only to create an immersive experience when gaming but also to adapt a user’s gameplay to their biometric responses.

One of the widely recognized pioneers of biometric gaming is Ubisoft, a French gaming company that launched in February 2016 a wearable heart-rate monitor by the name O.zen, which can be plugged into an iPad or an iPhone. The device measures a user’s heart rate and then, with the said data that is fed to it by an accompanying app, it controls the user’s gameplay throughout over 10 mini games.

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“Biometric gaming is still in its early stages, but there are companies who are integrating and experimenting with our [biometric] technology right now,” LeBoeuf of Valencell said. The said company’s technology has been incorporated into devices made by companies such as LG, Sony, and Jabra. In the future, they are looking to produce action games that enable the player to simultaneously hold their breath when their character is under the water’s surface. 

“Another application would be for the gamer’s heart rate to directly affect accuracy in a shooting game,” LeBoeuf added. “With access to earbuds and the rise of virtual reality, such wearables could directly affect virtual reality game play in the future.”

However, despite all these recent advancements, Dr. Neil Wang of the consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, advised that although wearable tech has amazing potential when it comes to merging VR control functionalities with gameplay, it is crucial that the VR market should mature first before we can expect any supporting equipment to become effective.

“Virtual reality technology is the main body for everything else. Peripherals are only accessories to virtual reality,” Wang said, who is currently managing director for Frost & Sullivan.

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He further affirmed that as VR hardware technology develops, it will also require more functions. “The greater number of virtual reality applications will also require the support from a great number of supplementary components,” he added. Frost & Sullivan also estimates that the technology’s global market, which will include wearable things like clothing, shoes, and clothing, will reach profits of about US$1 billion by 2020.

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