Samsung announced that it will show off four new virtual reality (VR) projects at Mobile World Congress 2017. The projects include a desktop and smartphone virtualization tool called Monitorless, a travel-focused 360-degree video platform called traVRer, a home interior app called VuildUs, and "a visual aid application" called Relúmĭno that promises to help visually impaired Samsung Gear VR owners watch television or read books more easily.
All of the projects were developed by Samsung's Creative Lab, an "internal venture incubation program that encourages a creative corporate culture and nurtures innovative ideas from Samsung employees" and will be shown off at MWC 2017's 4 Years From Now (4YFN) platform from February 27-March 2 in Barcelona. Aside from the 2021 window implied by the platform's name, there's no word on when these projects might debut.
VR enthusiasts are no strangers to virtual desktops. A number of apps let people use their Windows devices through a virtual interface, and the recently released VR Desktop does the same with macOS. Monitorless differs in that--as its name implies--it won't require a monitor to function. Samsung envisions a pair of glasses that feature "electro chromic glass" and can be used to view smartphone or PC content in VR and AR:
The demo video also shows Monitorless working with a smartphone to control a PC. This way, you can use a photo editor, for example, or play a game. Samsung envisions these high-tech glasses connecting to a smartphone via Wi-Fi direct; the phone itself then connects to a PC via your cellular network. Combine the two and you've got easy access to all of your favorite PC software without having to lug around any particularly heavy gadgets.
Let's hope this one's as interesting as its name is cringeworthy. Samsung said traVRer users "are able to visit landmarks and famous places around the world but with the mood, noises and events captured" via 360-degree videos. It basically looks like a glorified Street View of famous places with some extra info--weather, address, when the video was taken--thrown into the mix. There's no demo video for this one, although Samsung did post a screenshot:
VuildUs is a little more involved. The app requires people to scan their homes with a 360-degree depth camera that's used to virtually recreate the domicile. People can then enter the virtual home with a VR headset (naturally) and experiment with different furniture options. Samsung's hope is that people will find this easier than just measuring the rooms and looking up the furniture's dimensions, as shown in the VuildUs demo video:
If someone finds a piece of furniture they like, they can purchase it right through VuildUs. The app seems like a more interactive Pinterest--it offers a bunch of inspiration (though VuildUs will probably have fewer mason jars and healthy snacks) and then makes it easy for people to make impulse buys.
We have no idea how this one's pronounced, but it might be the most important project on the list. Where the others are focused on entertainment or productivity, Relúmĭno is all about using VR to help people go about their lives. Here's what Samsung said about its goal for the app:
It works as a mobile app that when inserted into the Samsung Gear VR can enhance visuals and text so that they can be enjoyed in better quality. The technology even has the ability to remap blind spots by displacing images and uses an Amlser grid chart to correct distorted images caused by metamorphopsia. Relúmĭno enables visually challenged people to watch TV without using the expensive visual aids currently available in the market.
Relúmĭno is envisioned as a mobile app that works its magic when a phone's inserted into the Gear VR headset.