The future of Virtual Reality
Quite simply, virtual reality (VR) is the future. The applications are endless, from gaming to movies to travelling to education. All industries will change to accommodate VR.
Currently, there are only a few big players. You can buy the Oculus Rift by Facebook for $350USD. Sony is set to release their product in 2016, Project Morpheus. Samsung have a product available that connects directly with your smart phone. Carl Zeiss have one similar to Samsung but you’re not restricted to Samsung smart phones. Microsoft have the HoloLens, an augmented reality headset that merges with the real world. HTC and Valve are creating a VR product that integrates directly into Valve’s massively popular gaming platform, Steam.
With the Rift, you can download interactive demos. These range from space walks, to roller coasters. There are games, such as Battlefield, that are currently being created specifically for it. It is compatible with open source engines Unity and Unreal, allowing anyone to create realistic demos or games. I have used a Rift, it is mind blowing.
The Samsung Gear is already being used with the NBA in the USA, allowing patrons to be courtside to the games and watch the action. A full 360deg view of the arena and court.
Current applications are limited though, wrinkles still need to be ironed out. The future is what is exciting me no end.
Imagine concerts where people are no longer restricted by location. Instead, you can buy digital access and see it through VR. It’d be like you were in the crowd. You could look around you at the screaming fans, or up at the band. Totally immersive.
What about sporting events? Want to see Arsenal play in front of 60,000 fans? You could buy a VR ticket and be there with them. Want to see the Eiffel Tower? Swim through the wreckage of the Titanic? Explore Antartica? Want to go to space?? With VR, you could be right up there with the astronauts.
Even education will benefit. With VR you could be seated in a Harvard law lecture theatre while being on the other side of the world. Prisoners could educate themselves without putting the public at risk, making reintegration easier. Future history lessons could be taught during the actual events. Imagine if the photographers of WW1 or 2 were instead recording for VR devices? Or the cameras in Apollo 11 were set up for VR? We could recreate events, like earthquakes, volcanos, dinosaurs, the big bang, and witness them first hand based off what we know.
What if you could be totally immersed within a movie. You could look around, see what they see, focus on something that isn’t directly related to the movie. Like cars going past or an asteroid shower. Maybe you could walk into a store while the main characters talked on the street.
Dangerous jobs like mining could use robots with VR cameras, making it easy and more natural to control heavy machinery from a safe distance. Bomb disposal units no longer need put their lives on the line.
Even within our own industry, things could change. Imagine trying on clothes before buying them, without leaving your house. Test drive cars, or try out sporting equipment. Recreate your living room and see what furniture looks best and if they will fit. Online ecommerce stores will become actual stores you can browse, instead of a page you scroll through. Social media could become virtual meeting grounds, where we talk and interact instead of making inane posts about the diet Coke you’re currently drinking.
I hope from my exciting ramblings you are beginning to understand the scale of change VR will bring about.
In my opinion, there is no piece of technology on the planet (that is known to the public) that has more potential than virtual reality. It is going to change the way we live.
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