Virtual reality set to become $15bn industry by 2020: Report

The virtual reality industry will be worth $15.89bn by 2020, according to a newly released report by market research agency Research and Markets.

Despite the fact the most high-profile VR device, the Oculus Rift, has not yet been released to consumers, Research and Markets believes that the industry will see over 60% growth every year for the next five years, transforming it from a fringe technology enjoyed by the techy few into a major medium for gaming, entertainment and business.

The report, which treats augmented reality technologies such as Microsoft HoloLens as a subset of the VR market, also predicted that fully immersive VR headsets would prove to be more popular, and thus form a larger part of the market, than their AR cousins.

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While VR is set to see growth around the world, it is thought that North America will see the fastest growth of the industry, with the Asia-Pacific region coming in second.

Some of this growth is undoubtedly going to be down to the release of new headsets and adoption of the technology, but the explosion of software for VR, one of the biggest catalysts for the industry’s projected increase in value, is set to play a major role.

A lot of this software is going to be targeted at consumers, with a surge in both entertainment and gaming software set to be on the way.

But there is also likely to be a rise in business, industrial and medical applications, with the report specifically highlighting VR’s potential for both healthcare and training.

Images courtesy of Oculus

Images courtesy of Oculus

However, while Research and Markets projects major growth for VR by 2020, the company has also highlighted limitations with the technology that will put some users off and thus hamper its growth.

In particular the low resolution and limitations on how much a wearer can move their head were identified as major restraints, as it is thought they will limit how immersive the technology can be; those of us who have used Oculus’ developer versions may well disagree.

There were also concerns about display latency and the level of energy consumption by VR devices, which may reduce the technology’s performance. Not all consumers have powerhouse computers, and many will be expecting to get good results using their laptop, regardless of how unfeasible this may be.

However, while the first generation of consumer VR devices is just around the corner, by 2020 we will no doubt be working with far more sophisticated – and hopefully less energy intensive – headsets, and by then many of these concerns may seem like distant memories.

China planning to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles

Xin Guobin, China's vice minister of industry and information technology, has said the government is working with regulators to put in place a timetable to end the production and sale of cars powered by fossil fuels. It's hoped the move will accelerate the expansion of the electric car market.

Source: Bloomberg

Limited Tesla Autopilot was "partly to blame" for crash

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Source: BBC

Chelsea Manning warns about the risks of AI

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Source: Ars Technica

US government bans Kaspersky software from its agencies

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Hyperloop One selects ten possible routes for the first hyperloop

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The plan to make every surface inside the car of the future smart

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) has revealed a vision for the future of cars where every surface inside the vehicle can become a smart surface.

Launched at the International Auto Show, YFAI’s activeSkin concept will turn the largely decorative surfaces inside cars, including the door trim, floor console and instrument panel, into smart interior surfaces, which YFAI says will be “fully interactive” and could be ready by 2022.

“The future generation of surfaces will be smarter than ever. Just by passing your hand over a upholstered surface of the car will appear an interactive surface or dynamic decorative ambient light. Surfaces interact with us, “says Han Hendriks , YFAI’s chief technology officer.

“This technology is impressive.”

Images courtesy of YFAI

YFAI says its customisable 3D glass surfaces could benefit drivers by replacing some of the current operating elements in traditional cars.

However, If no information is called up by the driver, integrated screens and operating surfaces would remain invisible as purely decorative glass surfaces, so drivers would not be distracted by unnecessary information popping up.

“We offer on-demand functionality, so it will only be visible when you need it. In this way we will be able to customise features on interior surfaces,” said Hendriks. “With activeSkin we can achieve a 3D effect that gives a feeling of amazing depth.”

This isn’t the first time YFAI has tried to predict what cars of the future will be like.

The company’s XiM17 concept car was designed with autonomous driving in mind and helped answer the question, “What will people do in their vehicle, if they no longer have to drive?”

YFAI’s XiM17 allows passengers to switch between a number of different modes to allow passengers a number of different ways of engaging.

For example, in family mode all four seats in the car are positioned facing each other, whereas in meeting mode the rear seats are folded away. so that the driver and passenger seats face each other. and a floor console rises to form a desk.