The United States of America has been a leader in the development and adoption of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology. These technologies have made significant contributions to the US economy, from jobs created during their research and development stages to new innovations that change how we work, live, learn, play or communicate with one another. VR/AR companies are one example of this innovation – they are driving economic growth through investment in innovative products that create value for consumers worldwide.
Talking about the AR and VR implementation fields, the United States could be said to have more than a decade of experience. The U.S has been actively implementing AR and VR technologies since the early 2000s, with military applications as well as commercial products that continue to grow in number each year.
VR/AR technology is a fast-growing industry in the US and is expected to generate more than $215 billion dollars by 2025 according to technological estimates; this will include all hardware, software, and services related to these technologies.
Currently, there are over 300 companies in the US developing both AR and VR solutions for use in entertainment, gaming, education, or healthcare sectors (among others).
Here are some of the top companies that are working in AR and VR technology in the US (hardware and software).
American VR(Virtual Reality) Brands
- Founded in: 2012
- Products: VR headsets and devices and VR digital services
- Website: Oculus.com
Oculus is the most popular VR brand in the world and has produced some of the best devices to sustain its popularity. Bought by Facebook in 2014 for approx $2 billion, it has become a pioneer in the VR headset market. Its market spans globally primarily in the United States.
Some of its most popular products of Oculus are:
- Oculus Rift: Announced in 2012 and after going through scores of pre-production stages, Oculus Rift was finally made available in 2016. It is a PC-tethered VR headset, primarily targeted at the gaming community. While it was a fairly high-end device at its launch, it just got better with Oculus touch controllers. The accessories gave much appealing performance compared to its market rivals at comparatively aggressive price-point. However, the PC recommendation should be kept in mind as it demands a relatively powerful CPU integrated with a dedicated GPU card. The latest variant available in the market is Oculus Rift S.
- Oculus Go: The Oculus Go was announced in 2017 and is the first standalone VR headset developed by Facebook Technologies. It was also co-developed with Xiaomi, China, and Qualcomm. A stand-alone device here means it is capable on its own to function as a complete VR system without any PC configured or phone attached to it. Interestingly, it comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon-821 chipset and boasts a refresh rate of 60-72Hz depending on the applications. It uses Fresnel lenses that provide an improved field of view compared to Oculus Rift and has a 5.5 inches display with a resolution of 1280×1440 pixels per eye. It was discontinued in late 2020.
- Oculus Quest: Oculus Quest is another all-in-one gaming system developed and built for Virtual Reality by Oculus. Like its predecessor Oculus Go, it also doesn’t require external devices like PC and can be used only with controllers. Launched in 2019, the most striking point for Oculus Quest was its aggressive pricing. Along with that, it was equipped with internal sensors and an array of cameras that provided smooth VR experiences, static or dynamic. It housed a Qualcomm Snapdragon-835 processor with 4 GB RAM.unlike Oculus GO, which was limited when it came to positional tracking, Oculus Quest offers seamless VR motion with six degrees of freedom and a refresh rate of 72Hz. It was discontinued in September 2020 over the launch of Oculus Quest 2.0.
- Oculus Quest 2.0: In October 2020, Facebook-owned Oculus released a lighter, faster, cheaper, and more powerful upgrade of Oculus Quest as Oculus Quest 2.0. Oculus Quest 2.0 incorporated Snapdragon XR2, the first chipset that was designed specifically for VR/AR technologies by Qualcomm. It offered 6GB RAM and a price that is $100 less than Oculus Quest, thus making it a big success in a short period. The refresh rate was increased to 120Hz and the controller battery life was increased fourfold compared to the first generation of the standalone VR headsets from Oculus.
Oculus games and apps:
Oculus offers a wide range of VR products in apps that work with the device. One can often have free experiences that come built into the device, but high-end games and apps are $15 to $30. The Room VR: A Dark Matter, Walkabout MiniGolf are some of the most popular games available for purchase.
- Founded in: 1975
- Products: VR/AR/MR apps, PC, GEARS, Games, consoles
- Website: Microsoft.com
Some of its most popular products of Microsoft are:
Microsoft Store offers a variety of Mixed Reality apps that will work with a range of VR devices, such as the HTC Vive cosmos, Steam and others.
Windows Mixed Reality is a mixed reality environment that includes apps and the OS as well. WebVR is one of the virtual realities built into this platform, which are available to those using compatible headsets.
Microsoft HoloLens is a pair of smart glasses that run the Windows Mixed Reality platform and the user can experience high definition mixed or virtual reality. It was developed under the code name “Project Baraboo” and the development kit was released in 2016. It is embedded with advanced wave-guided optics and multiple sensors which further combines with holographic processing, producing amazing augmented realities. These output holograms can be information displayed in thin air in the real world or even simulate a virtual one.
HoloLens 2.0 was launched in 2019 as an upgrade to HoloLens with better SoC and hardware upgrades.
Mixed Reality compatible PCs: Microsoft has partnered with giant companies like HP, Acer to build PCs and laptops that support their mixed reality platform and updates.
Hewlett- Packard( HP )
- Founded in: 1939
- Products: VR headsets and gears for personal and business use, VR-ready PCs
HP is a tech company that has been around for decades and has collaborated with Microsoft, Valve to produce high-performing VR devices. HP has developed a couple of high-quality VR headsets and a line of powerful PCs that are capable of running Windows Mixed Reality environment.
HP Reverb G2: HP collaborated with Windows and Valve to create the HP Reverb series of VR headsets that are capable of augmented reality as well as virtual reality experiences. HP Reverb G2 is the latest gaming VR headset in the series that was launched in November of last year. It is a PC-tethered headset with an outstanding display resolution of 2160×2160 px per eye. It offers a refresh rate of 90Hz and is supported by the SteamVR platform. Valve essentially designed the lenses and the speakers for HP Reverb G2.
HP Reverb G2- Omniconcept Edition: HP Reverb G2 is designed for developers and tech professionals. The main feature this upgraded edition provides is a seamless software development environment, as well as rich training and collaborative experiences. The Reverb-G2 (Omniconcept Edition) uses highly advanced sensors that are able to track muscle, pupil size, and pulse with mind-boggling accuracy. This further adds its applicability in the Well-being industry and creative works.
VR-ready PCs by HP: When Windows launched Windows Mixed Reality as a part of Windows 10, PC manufacturers all over the world rushed to manufacture laptops and systems compatible with that platform. Well, HP is right at the top in this cutthroat rivalry. As a consequence, it has some of the finest VR-ready machines in the market.
Below are some of the virtual reality PC devices offered by HP:
- HP ZBOOK CREATE
- HP ZBOOK STUDIO
- OMNI 15 & OMNI 17
- CPUs- HP Z2 TOWER,HP Z4,OMEN 25L & 30L
Google / Alphabet
- Founded in: 1998
- Products: Mobile-based VR headsets and Softwares
- Website: Google AR/VR
Google Daydream: Daydream was the VR platform developed by Google for headsets used with phones inserted in the specified slot. It was discontinued in 2019.
Google Daydream View: This is the Daydream-compatible headset that required a phone to be used. This was Google’s first step in the VR world back in 2016. The fact that it worked with only a bunch of premium phones, was not a popular choice for the users.
The current market is more spanned by standalone VR headsets and PC tethered ones, thus devices like Google Daydream View are struggling to stay in the game. With this outcome as anticipation, Google is working towards a standalone Daydream device, discontinuing the present one.
Google EarthVR: Google Earth VR is a video game or application (hard to differentiate really!) that runs on standalone or PC-connected VR headsets. It provides a unique experience of roaming around anywhere in the world. For instance, you can wander through the streets of Tokyo or fly over the Atlantic. Google Earth VR is compatible with Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.
Other applications and software: The AR-VR department of Google has developed some intriguing and fascinating apps and games for mobile-assisted VR headsets like Daydream View and Samsung Gear. Along with that, they have also delivered to standalone devices like Oculus Quest and HTC Vive.
Check Google AR and VR products here
- Founded in: 1996
- Products: VR headset, video games
- Website: Valve
Valve SteamVR: Developed together with HTC Vive, Valve SteamVR offers the same specifications as HTC Vive.
Valve Index: Valve Index is an independent VR headset from Valve released in 2019. It caters to the higher-end user experience and comes at a higher price compared to its competitors. Valve Index offers a 1440×1600 LCD panel, fully RGB. It offers a wide range of refresh rates from 80Hz to 144Hz (currently experimental). On paper, the field of view is 130 degrees but users have experienced FOV of around 120 degrees. The tracking system is the new Lighthouse 2.0 which is also the tracking device of the HTC Vive.
Valve Steam: This is the online marketplace by Valve for VR games like Viveport. Here is the link to check out some of the most popular titles.
- Founded in: 2016
- Products: Virtual Reality platform for surgeons and medical sales professionals for training and assessment
- Website: OSSO VR
OSSO VR is a novel company that has Meditech industry experts, medical VR developers, and practicing surgeons/physicians. It has developed a Virtual platform to train and assess new entrants for surgical procedures. Arguably, this takes medical science to a new reach.
Well, in the places and hospitals in the world where specialists are not available, a general surgeon can train on this platform in the time of need, thus making the best practices available to all.
With OSSO VR, surgeons get to practice in a virtual room that is exact to an operation theatre. Thus, they can practice anytime, anywhere in a rich and immersive surrounding. The students who aspire to do complex surgeries can train on these platforms regardless of the availability of actual facilities at their own institutions.
- Founded in: 2013
- Products: VR simulator treadmill and games
- Website: Virtuix
Virtuix Omni: Back in 2013, Virtuix Omni was listed on Kickstarter as the omnidirectional treadmill simulator that allowed the user to live within games and apps. Living up to the hype, it raised a whopping $1.1 million in funding. Further, the investors saw the potential and put another $35 million into it.
Fast forward 7 years, Virtuix Omni has delivered on its promise and is a fully functional product in the VR world. Essentially, it works with HTC Vive and uses a locomotion platform to simulate walking in a virtual 3D space.
- Founded in: 1994
- Products: Medical and Healthcare VR products
- Website: Firsthand Technology
Firsthand Technology has worked towards embedding technology and virtual reality in the most homogeneous way possible in medical treatment and therapies. And rightly so, since its inception, it has worked toward the development and creation of software and hardware that can produce virtual reality experiences for the patient to heal and recuperate.
VR Health software by Firsthand Technology :
- Cool !: Cool! is proprietary software developed for patients feeling pain and stress from medical procedures or a load of chronic diseases and conditions. Multiple research and clinical studies have suggested that Cool! really helps the patient to recover smoothly from the anxiety.
- Glow ! is another software that helps the patient deal with trauma and mental fatigue through mindfulness and self-control. It has VR simulations of mystical worlds filled with light and fireflies that indulge the patient and takes away their attention to their conditions.
- Founded in: 2017
- Products: Strategy, Design and Engineering Solutions
- Website: CemtrexLabs
CemtrexLabs works toward delivering need-based digital services to its clients. It specializes in web development and VR content development according to the demand. CemtrexLabs has worked and completed projects for high-profile companies like LiveNation, Bose, and AT&T.
Some of its completed projects are :
- In order to test the limits of the then launched Oculus GO VR headset, CemtrexLabs developed a fully functioning game called QUAZAR.
- Unity Game Engine based VR application: KIRI: RIDE VR
- Founded in: 2014
- Products: Virtual Reality application
- Website: BIGSCREEN VR
BigScreen is an app available on the Oculus store that works like an Operation System (OS) for Virtual Reality. And rightly so, you can do almost anything on the app that you would normally do on your desktop or smartphone. From social media to messaging to entertainment, you name it.
BigScreen as a company is on a journey to create a stable metaverse for VR. It currently offers social media and movie streaming VR platforms. Along with that, it offers over 50 TV channels to watch on the app using the Oculus VR headset.
- Founded in: 2014
- Products: Products for AR/VR entertainment, learning, and training
- Website: WITHIN
The company Within advocates that they can create immersive VR experiences that can activate people’s minds, hearts, bodies, and imaginations. And for that, they have developed wonderful apps to prove those claims.
Supernatural: Within’s flagship product, Supernatural is an all-in-one fitness service for Oculus Quest devices that will let the user enjoy while they work out. It creates an experience where the user is face to face with expert coaches who will root for you and indulges you in the most beautiful scenes on the planet, making the whole thing a joyful adventure.
Wonderscope: Wonderscope is an app for iOS for kids. It uses augmented reality (AR) to convert normal boring spaces into extraordinary interactive spaces for fun. Using Apple’s ARKit and accurate voice recognition technology, the users can interact and converse with the 3D characters in the AR.
The Within App: The Within app offers cinematic VR experiences to the users. Some of these titles are award-winning stories and documentaries. It is compatible with most VR headsets like Oculus Rift S, Sony PS-VR, HTC Vive, and all mobile platforms.
- Founded in: 2015
- Products: VR based space travel, Orbit Therapy
- Website: SpaceVR
SpaceVR, a one of its kind Virtual Reality platform that allows the user to experience space travel. It markets its product with a hashtag called #BeAnAstronaut. The device is a VR float tank equipped with waterproof headset gears that have been placed all across the world in major cities. The customer can visit their outlet and book a session. There are currently 2000 of those patented pods around the world.
- Founded in:2014
- Products: AR/VR platform and tools for education, AR/VR headset
- Website: Merge
Merge Edu: Merge Edu is a VR/AR software package for interactive Science and STEM learning. It works as a subscription-based package.
Merge Cube: Merge Cube is a projection screen that allows you to hold 3D virtual objects in your hand. All you need to do is Merge the EDU app on your IOS or Android phone and then point the device camera towards the cube. Voila! You can see all sorts of amazing 3D projections on the cube.
Merge VR/AR headset: Merge VR/AR headset allows the learner to take a 360-degree tour from the available scenarios on the Merge Miniverse app. You will need to use your phone with the headset.
- Founded in: 2010
- Products: web-based VR simulation
- Website : Wevr
Wevr creates amazing and extraordinary VR simulations that are rich and immersive. Their simulations can be purchased and run on multiple devices like Oculus and HTC Vive headsets. Wevr has been named in the top 10 most innovative VR companies by Fast.
All of the titles mentioned below are available on Oculus Store, Viveport, and SteamVR.
Some of the famous title developed by Wevr are :
- Gnomes and Goblins: A fantasy world directed by Jon Favreau
- TheBlu directed by Jake Rowell which is a deep rescue experience
- Death Planet Rescue
- Virtual Brainload for Adult Swim
- Founded in: 2015
- Products: AR/VR/XR studio that provides solutions to a wide range of fields.
- Website: Groove Jones
Groove Jones is a band of highly creative artists and engineers who work in resonance to create out-of-the-box products for various sectors. They like to call their company “Agency of Ideas”. And rightly so, they literally do everything where VR could be implemented. From developing VFX and CGIs for their clients to mobile apps and games development, they haven’t left a leaf unturned. Eventually, this happens when a bunch of high on caffeine geniuses get together and work!!
Bricks and Goggles
- Founded in: 2016
- Product: VR simulation of 3D real estate designs
- Website: Bricks and Goggles
Bricks and Goggles is a VR solutions provider. They accept or take in 3D architectural and interior designs rendered as CAD files or other modeling forms and convert them into a smooth VR experience with some tweaks and tuning. Right now, their product is compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets.
- Founded in: 2004
- Products:3D Modelling, VR applications, MR development
- Website: VironIT
AnatomyNext : AnatomyNext is VR software with educational and training purposes. It basically provides an in-depth Anatomical study guide to medical students and professionals
ECG VR : ECG VR is a simulation that provides training on ECG procedures to medical personnels in a lab or actual work-place setting.
- Founded in: 2002
- Products: Design and Development of VR solutions and software
- WEBSITE: WorldViz
VR solutions offered by WorldViz:
Projection V a single-projector system developed by WorldViz for group immersive VR experience. Projection VR can turn any wall or screen into a virtual reality environment. Paired with a VR headset, this is a great tool for design reviews and interactive presentations. Since it is portable it can be used at tradeshows and mobile advertisements.
VizBox: VizBox is one of its kind portable VR stations designed for professionals. Moving on, VIZIBLE is a cloud-based collaboration and content development platform that allows users to create VR content without any coding. VizBox combined with VIZIBLE offers professionals from an array of fields to create and fine-tune their designs with the minutest details possible.
VR Softwares offered by WorldViz:
- VIZARD: WorldViz’s Vizard is the complete VR software development platform that provides an easy-to-use workflow to the users. Vizard is all you need to conceptualize and create 3D immersive VR content.
It comes with a Python console, thus making the scripting and coding part easier to perform and workflows smoother to grasp.
- VR Eye Tracking: WorldViz also offers Eye Tracking Analytics Lab, a tool for performing eye-tracking experiments using PC-tethered HMDs like HTC Vive Pro Eye. It basically is a plugin for VIZARD to make it more capable and powerful.
- VIZIBLE : VIZIBLE is a VR content creation and collaboration tool or software that requires minimal or no coding unlike the development engine like Unity 3D or VIZARD. Its main user base is the group of people who lack coding skills but are adamant to use VR content as a tool.
Vizible comes in two parts: Vizible Presentation Designer and Vizible Presenter. The Designer allows the user to create rich and awesome VR presentations without any coding. And then, with the Presenter, you can arrange sessions and meetings inside your presentation for collaboration and communication in VR.
PHASER LOCK INTERACTIVE
- Founded in: 2015
- Products: Video games and animations for VR platforms
- Website: PHASER LOCK
Phaser Lock is an American company working towards Video game development for VR platforms. One of their popular flagship games is a simulation game called “FINAL APPROACH ” where the user can fly an airplane and run an airport. Eventually, this success led to the development of the sequel called “FINAL ASSAULT”. Phaser Lock also creates cinematic content and does animation mixing to create virtual worlds for VR platforms.
- Founded in: 2013
- Products: VR based therapy experiences for dealing with anxiety and traumas
- Website: AppliedVR
AppliedVR specializes in helping people suffering from pain and trauma through the application of Virtual Realities. The software development has been assisted by an expert team that comprises doctors, researchers, psychologists. This software is strictly for clinical purposes. The success stories and results have been published in several journals.
- Founded in:1985
- Products: processor chips for AR/VR/XR
- Website: Qualcomm
Qualcomm is the market leader when it comes to SoCs for mobile and wireless network technologies. It owns a great deal of 5G shares.
Qualcomm Snapdragon XR chips: Qualcomm has developed and perfected the VR dedicated processors which provide a richer and immersive VR experience. The XR platforms present the user with immersive realism where the exact details are replicated which the eye can see. Along with that, it offers 360 degree 8k video quality at 60fps which is astonishing to think about. To add cherry at the top, it delivers an amazing 3D sound and extended battery life to the device.
- Founded in: 2004
- Product: Cross-platform 3D game development software
- Website: Unity
Unity is a game engine (software) that is used to create 3D/2D gaming environments and simulations. Initially released exclusively for MacOs, it has extended its compatibility to other OS over time. And to think, most of the VR software and games are based on the Unity game engine. So, it is an integral part of the VR/AR industry.
The game Pokemon Go was built on Unity which is one of the most played AR games bringing Pikachu to your living room. The most recent feat for Unity is Pixar’s first project into standalone VR filmmaking, Coco VR.
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