KDDI to co-develop VR/AR smartglasses and content for 5G

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KDDI has formed a strategic partnership with Osterhout Design Group (ODG) to jointly plan and develop smartglasses using VR/AR technology for 5G apps.

In anticipation of the changes that will be brought on by widespread 5G, KDDI says it has been moving forward with various partner companies to begin practical testing of VR/AR smartglasses in Japan in June 2018.

Under the ODG partnership, KDDI will help with the development of products using the R-9 smartglasses technology developed by ODG via practical testing.

The R-9 smartglasses to be used in future verification tests are equipped with the Snapdragon 835 chipset made by Qualcomm, compatible with an VR/AR app that enables standalone position tracking for users. A wide 50° viewing angle makes it possible to play big-screen movies with the glasses, which are also the first smartglasses to meet THX display standards, giving them the functionality to display high-resolution video, KDDI says.

KDDI ODG R-9 smartglasses

In addition, both partner companies plan to work with Qualcomm toward equipping future models with a modem function to bring cellular connectivity to smartglasses in addition to existing Wi-Fi functionality.

In order to deliver video services through smartglasses, KDDI will partner with Japan Airlines to test smartglass video services for a limited time during the summer of 2018. The tests will involve lending smartglasses to customers in the JAL International Sakura Lounge Sky View in the international terminal at Haneda International Airport. Guests who try the smartglasses will be able to enjoy various types of videos on the wide-screen display they provide.

KDDI says it has other partnerships in the works to develop new business operations using virtual characters and other VR/AR technologies.

KDDI has already worked with Crypton Future Media on development of the Miku☆Sampo AR app, and says it will soon be able to add to the AR presentation to enable users to communicate more naturally with the character. This will be accomplished through virtual character development capabilities unique to AI, which enable the character to recognize and understand objects and sounds, etc., in the surrounding environment.

In addition, this project will include highly sophisticated proprietary real-time image recognition engine technology provided by Couger, who will also cooperate with virtual character AI-related technology.

Beginning this week, KDDI is planning more business trials using virtual characters, including:

  • A business trial with Fields Group aiming to bring interactivity primarily to the photo-real domain
  • A business trial with Pasona Tech providing dispatch of virtual character personnel
  • A VR/AR trial with Iida city, Nagano prefecture for joint production of urban design aimed at integrating traditional culture and advanced technology to produce “coexistence of VR characters and the city”.
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