AbsentiaVR : Can This Indian Startup be the Next Oculus Rift?

Few technologies have the capacity of manipulating the human psyche in the manner VR technology does. It allows the creation of an optional state of being in one’s mind, bringing the physically impossible into the realm of virtual possibility.

Absentia VR

Founded in June 2015, by Shubham Mishra, Vrushali Prasade and Harikrishna Valiyath, AbsentiaVR is a startup that has developed a virtual reality headset called Tesseract, with a vision to give an incremental user experience in the newest available format ie, 3-D virtual reality.

The BITS Pilani, Goa dropouts created Absentia upon realizing the necessity to bridge the gulf between existing electronic content and virtual reality. Adding a comment on the product, Shubham says, “Absentia VR is the manifestation of our endeavour to disrupt the conventional trends and give the big players a run for their money”.

Use Cases

The device is multitudinous in its scope and can be employed in various areas. For example, users can use Tesseract to get inside their favourite games and completely immerse themselves in an alternate computer-generated environment. The headset uses technology which is compatible with video games developed using any technology and is also compatible with HDMI dongles like the Chromecast.

Similarly, it can also be used by architects and product designers for 3D views of real estate developments and designs. The 360 degree view offered by the device can as well help customers take an informed buying decision based on their experience, thereby slimming the risk factors, saving time and resources.

Educational institutions too can make a good use of this device. They can benefit from programmes such as virtual classroom interaction and long distance learning. Students can be made to experience and visualize phenomena which are not immediately possible in the real world.

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“Virtual reality is all set to break the limitations the material world has placed on us,” maintains Shubham.

Traction Details and Monetization

The 1080p version of the product comes at Rs. 12,000 (US $180) while the 1440p version of Tesseract is priced at Rs. 20,000 (US $300). Currently, Absentia VR is taking preorders for a booking price of Rs. 4,000 (US $60) and Rs. 4,500 (US $70), respectively, for the 1080p and 1440p versions.

The company claims to have received 1500+ pre-orders and is looking forward to have a B2B model, expanding its reach and spreading the VR experience through gaming zones and gaming cafes.

It has also tied up with several architectural firms, along with a number of US distributors to push the product in the US market. Revenue will be generated through product sales, intellectual property monetization and software licensing.

In November, the company bagged around $200K from Astarc Ventures and others.

How is Tesseract different from its biggest competitor Oculus Rift?

Answering to this question, the team said, “Our product is different because we are opening up the option of experiencing existing media in virtual reality. No dedicated content needs to be developed.”

Further, the device offers military grade head tracking with ultra low latency and uses a simulated “static nose” and smart video rendering techniques to prevent “simulator sickness”. It uses two motion tracking units such that there is no drift or lag in the head tracking.

As compared to Oculus Rift which is priced at $350, both the variants of Tesseract are cheaper. Also, Tesseract is lighter in weight.

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iamwire’s Take

A Virtual Reality device is no more just a fad. It has traveled a long way- resurrecting from the dead technology of the 90’s to emerge as what Mark Zuckerberg says, “the next big thing”. The technology comes with a strong promise of transforming communication and creating a generational leap in electronic entertainment. It can equally contribute to health care sector for surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training. The scope does not end here. When it comes to business, the possibilities of using this technology are endless. During the creation of a new product, rather than developing a prototype, businesses have the opportunity to use virtual headsets to interact with, and test, 3D models. This means that any glitch in design can be detected early on and, crucially, before they become hugely expensive to fix. Using the technology in this manner also engenders global collaboration, as teams can share their progress and work on projects regardless of geographic location. Some brands have already started experimenting.

The aforementioned use cases may just be the tip of the iceberg of opportunities. We can expect many more of such disruptions made by this technology in the near future.