Virtual Reality – Will It Change Ours?
If you thought Virtual Reality was for gamers, you ‘d be right. Sort of. Sales of both VR and AR devices are predicted to be some 24 million by 2018, and a 5.4-billion-dollar industry by 2015. After all, Google, alone, just sold some five million cardboards. The more sophisticated Oculus Rift, a Facebook acquisition in 2014, is expected to ship in late March, with nearly all the other major players placing their own bets.
So, sure, games will become more awesome and engaging. But good money says the immersive experience of VR may well represent what will become a universal, transformative technology. In recent studies Augmented (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) show a strong enterprise future, with AR having the greatest potential for business-oriented applications according to TechPro Research
How To Talk About VR In A One Dimensional Environment
The problem, of course, in talking about VR is that illustrating it in a one dimensional space is, well, a fool’s errand. So if your interest is peaked, but you’re not ready for the outlay of, say, an Oculus, just buy (or make) a cardboard, pair it up with your smartphone and have a go at it.
But, if you just want to get a sense of it all, we’ve included some clips at the end of this article; some of which you navigate with your mouse or a touch screen (360-degree video).
A Transformative Technology
VR enables us, or will, to experience products, locations, sports, travel, education, architecture, medicine and communication in an immersive environment. For instance, rather than a screen shot of your new car, how about going for a virtual drive? Step in, look around, tinker with the controls and go for a drive. Or attend your next sporting event as part of the play.
Consider how much fun it would be to virtually travel to an exotic island, take a walk on the beach. snorkel, then do a walk-through of your accommodations and visit the Tiki bar – all before you fork out hard-earned cash. Alternatively, if you’re down to PB & Jelly, pour a thirst quencher and kick the sand without the outlay.
Educational applications become truly exciting. Traditional textbooks are unusually dry, but how about actually walking around an important archaeology dig to carefully see how its excavated and explored. As a budding marine biologist you and your fellow students could dive and explore an ailing coral reef just as though you were there. Students of all ages will likely be the beneficiaries of a maturing technology that enhances not only what we learn, but how deeply and memorably we experience it.
Filmmaking, medicine, in fact almost every facet of our daily existence whether for business or pleasure has exciting VR/AR potential or expansion.
VR. AR. What’s the Difference?
Virtual reality, augmented reality, full featured communications, volumetric VR, and the like all have individual interpretations and methodology. The ultimate goal, however, is to create either:
- A fully dimensional alternate reality or combined as in games, film
- A fully dimensional replication of a true environment as in climbing Mount Everest
- A fully articulated live environment transmitted nearly simultaneously as in a Sports event
- A fully articulated, interactive live environment transmitted in near real time such as a medical conference
Concerns, of course, include the delivery method. While gaming with rather bulky headgear isn’t that much of a stretch, business use will likely require customized solutions such as specially equipped media rooms or refined versions of something like Google Glass (Google has actually produced a business version). Another huge concern for universal adoption is VR’s need for hefty processing power.
But the potential is huge. As Forbes notes . . . “Combining high-capacity networks with ultra-high resolution cameras, microphones and full-wall displays, all kinds of people, for all kinds of reasons, can capture and project remote communications and activities in real time. This is the future of full field communication in which all of the light and sound of a remote environment is transported in real time and recreated in full, life-size and life-like fidelity.
This kind of visual and auditory detail will create, disrupt and revolutionize many businesses and professional activities.”
Perhaps in the not-too-distant-future, we will have fully immersive media rooms where we view and interact with media and others in a three-dimensional environment!
Video clips for your amusement: For those that have mouse or touch control, look for the navigation icon in the top left corner. Thumbnails are clickable and plus text links.
A Nike Clip that you control on your touchscreen phone, tablet or PC. with finger or mouse. Requires Chrome Browser or YouTube app
A Preview Oculus animation of Valkyrie
Tahiti Surf – Use Chrome for best viewing and toggle with your finger or mouse!
A wingsuit base jump video for Oculus, or just watch in 360 and look around with your mouse or finger!