Consumer virtual reality (VR) headsets took a stride toward the mainstream with the release of Oculus Quest 2 this year, while augmented reality (AR) experiences have been mainly phone-bound—consisting of Snapchat overlays and Apple ARKit apps. Still, some compelling AR and VR content was produced, such as the Solastalgia short film that took honors at the Sundance Film Festival, and Valve’s new game, Half-Life: Alyx. Because of the pandemic, some businesses have begun thinking about bringing far-flung employees together to collaborate using spatial computing. These are the companies whose products did the most to push mixed reality forward during 2020.
For alleviating trauma
AppliedVR is perhaps the best-known of a cadre of VR content companies that specialize in helping people deal with pain and anxiety. The company’s software is developed by a team of psychologists, doctors, researchers, and patients, and is meant for use within clinical settings. This year AppliedVR has found a new use case in helping give relief to people who have been traumatized after contracting COVID-19. The company’s research on the subject has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed clinical research journals.