36Kr Guangdong learned that Shenzhen Camsense Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Camsense"), a developer of high-precision positioning vision sensors, recently announced that it had completed a C1 round of financing of nearly 100 million yuan. The leading investor was Tongge Venture Capital, with the investment of HTC's industrial fund and Smartcitysz under SASAC . This round of financing will be used for VR/AR field layout.
With the rise of new concepts such as meta universe, the market demand for VR/AR technology is also growing. According to the 《Global Enhancement and Virtual Reality Expenditure Guide》 issued by IDC, the scale of IT related expenditure in China's AR/VR market was about 2.13 billion US dollars in 2021, and will increase to 13.08 billion US dollars in 2026, making it the second largest single country market in the world. VR technology is still the main area of users' attention in the five-year forecast period 2022-2026, and will attract about 70% of the relevant investment in the AR/VR market. The constant warming of VR/AR track has also enabled "Camsense" to find a new development direction.
01 Returning to VR/AR track, opportunities and challenges coexist
Even though CAMSENSE has long regarded VR/AR as a part of the company's development strategy, in the past few years, CAMSENSE has still focused on the laser radar as its main driving force, providing many first-line brands such as Roborock, Xiaomi, Dreame, 360 and leading customers in the sweeper industry with laser radar products. "Since the beginning of 2021, we have seen some changes in the market, such as the launch of Meta Quest Generation 1 and 2, which has brought better experience and more affordable prices, thus strengthening our confidence in VR/AR development." Zhou Kun, founder of CAMSENSE , said.
During the early period of 2014-2016 when CAMSENSE was established, the technology has been applied to the TV somatosensory devices and VR/AR fields, providing TV brands with a somatosensory game kit with cameras and peripherals. However, as the overall development of the somatosensory device and VR/AR market fell into a bottleneck, CAMSENSE began to quickly switch to the fast lane of smart home in 2017. Based on the previous precipitation in spatial positioning technology, the company chose LiDAR as the main force of the enterprise, and became the leading supplier in the industry in just over three years.
Zhou Kun said about the background of the transformation that year: "In 2017, 2018 and even 2020, the development temperature of the VR/AR industry may be 20 to 30 degrees Celsius, and by 2021 it will reach 50 to 60 degrees Celsius. I think the industry has reached a relatively mature turning point." Indeed, "Meta-universe" is one of the hot topics that the public and the industry will focus on in 2021. Therefore, manufacturers are actively planning from terminal hardware to content production. With the increasing number of entrants, it has become a track with both opportunities and challenges.
02 Enter VR/AR with 6DOF handle
Since May 2021, domestic VR/AR manufacturers have successively introduced new products, and the iteration rhythm has been significantly accelerated. CAMSENSE starts from the field of interactive technology that it is good at, and once again enters the VR/AR track.
In terms of interaction technology, CAMSENSE chose to cut into a more subdivided track - 6DOF handle.
6DOF is a keyword in the VR field. "DOF" stands for "degrees of freedom", the additional number stands for how many different axes to track, while 6DOF stands for three main axes (translation) and three auxiliary axes (rotation). 3DOF VR restricts the use of a group of rotating or translating devices, and the functions of rotating and translating cannot be realized at the same time. The experience of 6DOF can meet the requirements of rotating and translating at the same time.
In the past, most low-cost VR technologies can achieve 3DOF, because the process of tracking rotary motion is easier and the cost is lower than that of tracking translational motion. As users continue to attach importance to the VR experience of "immersive", 6DOF will also be applied to most VR devices.
As early as 2020, CAMSENSE launched the VR handle kit "Camsense XR" based on vision and inertial sensor positioning technology, which can realize VR/AR monocular visual 6DOF tracking. Camsense XR adopts the sensing scheme of "visual tracking+inertial navigation". When the handle is outside the tracking range of the camera, it can be compensated through inertial sensing. At the same time, it combines the algorithm to achieve a stable and smooth handle tracking effect.
At present, CAMSENSE mainly provides 6DOF algorithm technology and handle hardware for VR all-in-one computers or terminal brand customers of PC and VR products. With its own factory production advantages, it can provide customers with a complete 6DOF hardware R&D production line.
03 Deeply cultivate technology, and point to VR/AR "No. 1 player"
In the VR/AR field, CAMSENSE is both a pioneer and an in-depth participant. CAMSENSE has locked in the VR/AR field when it was not hot, and returned to the VR/AR track after major manufacturers had entered the production. Zhou Kun said that at present, the commercialization of CAMSENSE in the VR/AR field has just begun, and he did not dare to talk about the concept of market share for the time being.
Fortunately, although VR/AR is a large industry, it is uncommon for companies like CAMSENSE to focus on providing 6DOF handle technology. In addition, the downstream customers of the 6DOF handle are highly concentrated. The main players include Meta, SONY, Pico, etc., which are familiar to the public. Zhou Kun also revealed that the first customer cooperation product of CAMSENSE will be officially released in September and put into mass production, which will help CAMSENSE lay a more solid market share foundation in the future.
Zhou Kun took a positive attitude towards the future visual spatial positioning technology. "Not only in LiDAR and VR/AR, visual positioning is also a very promising technology with very broad application fields." At present, CAMSENSE hopes to achieve the ultimate goal of the industry with the basic laser radar. At the same time, we continue to deepen our efforts in the VR/AR field, following the same development path as the laser radar, from algorithm research and development to chip development to handle module design. The goal of CAMSENSE is to become a professional player in the VR/AR field.