The current life stages of AR & VR are all about enabling technologies. And that makes these sectors a sort of collective R&D department. This was one of many takeaways from a recent panel of investors, attended by ARtillry (video below).

The realization that AR & VR are earlier-stage than previously thought also seems to have taken hold. That’s manifested in tempered expectations about smart glasses’ and high-end VR‘s consumer ubiquity. The industry has shifted focus to the larger installed base for mobile AR.

“When we saw the Oculus Rift for the first time, we identified that the future of computing is in VR and AR,” said Across Realities CEO Steve Lukas. “And the future of VR and AR is mobile.” This aligns with our past analysis that mobile represents both the short and long term VR/AR modality.

This early phase also puts emphasis and opportunity around building blocks. Enabling technologies like haptics, processing and inputs can get AR and VR to the next phase. Input controls are especially important, and a key focal point for Super Ventures’ partner Matt Miesnieks.

“Most of the input systems that we use are a single mode. It might be voice or gestures or touch,” he said. “I’m interested in solutions that are multimodal, that can combine a gesture with voice with computer vision and intelligently tie those together to get a much more natural means of input.”

Lukas agrees, adding that AR & VR’s fully-realized vision won’t materialize until we refine all of the components and moving parts. Before we have the jet engine that is AR, we need to master the propeller plane that is VR, he says. And that makes nearer-term technical achievements critical.

“Every company working on VR and AR is doing massive R&D for our eventual VR/AR future,” said Lukas. “What do we need to achieve the next level of the VR so we can get to the medium term? If all we’re thinking is long term, we’re drilling too deep into a market we have’t saturated.”

See the rest of the video below including astute comments from Orange Silicon Valley’s James Li, and Outpost Capital’s Ryan Wang.

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Disclosure: ARtillry has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.