Amazon Getting Into Augmented Reality? These 10 Tech Companies Are There Already

Amazon.com (AMZN) has patented augmented reality technology that is controllable through gestures, according to Business Journals.

The patent covers cameras, computers, and projectors that display an interactive screen on a physical surface.

"The projected content may include electronic books, videos, images, interactive menus, or any other sort of visual content," Amazon said in its patent filing. "Various types of cameras and sensors may be used to capture images representing the scene and a person's hand within the scene."

Meanwhile, YouTube is working to become the leading provider of virtual-reality content, whether its creators want to go 360 or not.

The video-sharing website recently introduced a new video format called VR180, which allows creators to film as they normally would but is compatible with virtual-reality goggles such as Google's (GOOGL)  Cardboard, Daydream and PSVR. Cameras that support the format will be available this winter, according to a press release.

"We've heard from creators and viewers that you want to make and see even more immersive videos on YouTube," the announcement said. "VR180 will unlock opportunities for anyone looking to easily make VR memories."

VR180 allows creators to set up their camera as they normally would to capture about 180 degrees, but the format lets viewers watch in high resolution on their computer or mobile device or stereoscopically in 3D, which means objects closer to the camera appear closer to the viewer and objects farther away appear farther. The other 180 degrees of the virtual-reality sphere will appear black.

Creators will be able to livestream the format as well as edit the video with Premiere Pro from Adobe (ADBE) , which recently acquired SkyBox technology, which builds transitions, titles and effects in VR applications and 360-degree videos.

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Google is working with Xiaomi Inc.'s Y.I. Technology, Lenovo Group Ltd.  (LNVGY) , and LG Corp. to create the cameras and a certification program will be available to other manufacturers such as 3DV Systems Ltd.'s ZCam.

For more than two years, YouTube invested in supporting 360 and virtual reality on its platform, according to the release.

Here are some other top names already playing in the space.

Apple
Apple

At its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple held a virtual-reality Star Wars demonstration that showed how it is diving into virtual reality.

The company announced its new graphics application programming interface, Metal 2, would allow developers to render directly on a device such as a VR headset, according to The Verge. Lower-end iMacs and Macbooks also will now be able to support external graphics processing units to play VR, and virtual reality gaming software and hardware like Valve Corp.'s SteamVR and HTC Vive are also now compatible with Mac.

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Oculus
Oculus

Oculus Visiontech Inc. (OVTZ) has designed goggles that put people into a virtual reality. It also has touch controllers that allows people to interact with the virtual reality with hand controllers such as when playing video games. It has also partnered with PC manufacturers to create systems that that are compatible with Oculus Rift and Touch.

Facebook
Facebook

Facebook (FB) Spaces is an app that creates a virtual-reality social space with Facebook-owned Oculus Rift VR goggles. The app allows users to create a digital avatar based on their profile picture, and they can spend time with people on their friends list in a virtual lounge. The Facebook Spaces app launched in beta in April.

HTC
HTC

HTC Corp. in conjunction with Valve Corp. created HTC Vive, which is a high-end virtual reality headset. Its bundle also includes two controllers, base stations for safety, ear buds and two games. It is also compatible with Valve's virtual-reality digital gaming platform, SteamVR.

HTC is also working on a VR headset that does not require a PC, as is the case with the Vive, or a smartphone.

Valve
Valve

In conjunction with HTC, Valve helped develop the HTC Vive virtual-reality headset. According to Polygon, the video game developer is also creating virtual-reality games. Its digital distribution platform, Steam, is also helping people to access virtual-reality video games. As of February, 30 VR apps had made more than $250,000 in Steam revenue so far, Polygon reported.

Razer
Razer

Razer USA Ltd. also has made its own virtual-reality headset. It is a part of the Open Source Virtual Reality, or OSVR, an open-source software project that looks to allow all headsets and game controllers from any vendor to be compatible with any game. Its Hacker Development Kit headset seeks to provide developers the tools to work with the OSVR software development kit.

Samsung
Samsung

In partnership with Oculus, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. created the Gear VR. Instead of connecting to a computer, the Gear VR uses a Samsung Galaxy smartphone to allow people to experience portable and wireless virtual reality.

Intel
Intel

Intel Corp.'s (INTC) Core i7 processor has the power to support VR gaming, 360-degree 3D visuals and 3D sound. The processor is being used with VR headsets from HTC and Valve, Oculus and Razer.

Intel is also working with athletes to help them train in virtual reality, immersing moviegoers in the storyline, assisting retailers in laying out stores and helping architects to better plan their projects, according to iQ.

Nvidia
Nvidia

Nvidia (NVDA) Corp.'s graphics processing units help make it possible for people to experience virtual reality.

AMD
AMD

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) creates processing units that power virtual-reality experiences.

Editor's pick: Originally published June 26.

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