Canon Takes a Shot at Virtual Reality with MReal

When it comes to next-gen tech, Google clearly has the lead with its Glass project. Google Glass might be premature for its own time, but it is creating a visible impact in the market, as more companies are getting serious about virtual reality. While Glass has a more social and augmented-reality based use case, other companies like Oculus Rift are focusing on a niche market like gaming. The next revolution in consumer devices is coming in the form of virtual reality, and Canon Inc., the imaging expert is joining this race.


Canon is working on a virtual reality device called the Canon MReal. It combines Canon’s excellent imaging technology with the awesomeness of virtual reality to give us a mixed reality environment. The MReal device has a head-mounted display that is fed with a processed video for the wearer to see. There is a camera in front of each eye, which captures a live video, a computer combines the video with computer-generated visuals in live and puts it back on the screen for the wearer to see with assistance from a number of sensors.

Google Glass, Oculus Rift and the Canon MReal are all trying to capture different markets. However, all three are working separately on virtual reality. While the Oculus Rift has the advantage of being super affordable, Google Glass has the awesome Google infrastructure powering it. So, what does Canon MReal have to offer? At a price tag of $125,000, the MReal is not affordable, neither is it a consumer device. It has been showcased as a mixed reality environment creator, which needs a definite predefined behavior from the existing environment. Clearly, this is less of a Google Glass competitor and more of an industrial virtual-reality toy.

Google is playing a big bet with its Glass project. It is pitching Glass aggressively, and everyone’s attention is fixated on this one project; so much that it can easily be called the biggest thing that Google is working on right now. It would be sad if the project’s peak moment at Google were timed poorly in the context of the consumer electronics market. However, the very fact that it has aroused an interest elsewhere is a good indicator. Google is going beyond cellphones and is┬átaking a lead in the consumer electronics sector for the first time, and as we can see, it seems like it is working great for them.

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Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.