Between brain-controlled VR and karaoke, HTC has wild plans for the Vive

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Given how many competing products and startups there are in the space, it’s easy to forget that we’re still in a relatively early stage with virtual reality technology. But companies are now starting to truly invest in the wealth of applications and industries that will be revolutionized by VR.

The latest example? HTC Vive, which this week announced that its Vive X accelerator program is investing in 26 new companies, all with different ideas and approaches to building and advancing the global VR ecosystem.

These companies include innovative startups like Neurable, which is developing brain-computer interfaces for VR control — with the goal of making “mind-controlled” virtual reality a, ahem, real reality, using the latest machine-learning technology to interpret electroencephalography (EEG) signals.

“Neurable is a brain-computer interface company with propriety machine learning technology that allows people to interact — click, type and manipulate — in the real and virtual world using brain activity in real-time with unparalleled speed and accuracy,” a spokesperson for the company told Digital Trends. “Our first product is an EEG brain recording strap for the HTC Vive that leverages our software developer kit, and allows developers to start creating next-generation brain-based applications.”

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Another startup receiving investment is the intriguing-sounding eLoupes, focused on providing a real-time surgical imaging system for the operating room. Combining light-field rendering and head-mounted displays, the hope is that hospitals can incorporate HTC Vive VR into their workflow in a way that both saves costs and improves patient outcomes.

We won’t list all of the startups in the accelerator here, but they seemingly cover everything from tools to allow fashion designers to create and test clothes in VR to (as a personal favorite of ours) a VR karaoke experience.

“We look for companies that would typically be considered to be too advanced for accelerators,” Marc Metis, vice president of HTC Vive, told us. “The reason we can attract such talent and technology is the value we add, as well as our open and agnostic approach. Vive X can leverage resources and expertise in many areas of the overall Vive business — including hardware, software, and services, and do this globally.”

Watch this space in 2018! It seems that some exciting innovations are coming down the track.