Virtual Reality: Is It Progressing?


sony-living-room

Many of you might have heard about Virtual Reality. Does Oculus Rift ring any bells? Virtual reality has been around since the late 80’s and 90’s. It is often associated with a virtual environment, in which a user can explore and manipulate a world that is created by technology to emulate the feeling of being in that digital world. While there are various definitions of the VR experience, there are few common agreements among those definitions (Strickland, 2007):

  1. The experience exists of 3D images that are close to the proportions of reality.
  2. The technology has the ability to track a user’s head and eye movements, reflecting the user’s actions into the digital world.

While I think we would all like the idea of being in an alternate world, escaping from me the current reality for a few moments, enjoying ourselves exploring new places and experience things we could not in real life, the current technology is limited and therefore is not allowing the full on experience Virtual Reality could offer.

Let us take a look at current technological advances in this area of interest. The most prominent advances in Virtual Reality have been in the gaming industry. The prime example is the Oculus Rift. It started out as a Kickstarter project in which Oculus VR gained enough funds to develop the product. It was the first time a user could just walk through the hallways of a virtual haunted mansion, fight against zombies or experience a virtual rollercoaster, feeling fully immersed in the environment. By the next year it will be one of the first VR products available to the masses (TheVerge, 2015).

project-morpheus-vs-htc-vive-vs-oculus-rift1-640x381

Sony has joined Oculus VR in the pursuit of Virtual Reality and announced it will release a headset in 2016 as well. The difference in the ‘PlayStation VR’ as their product is called is that it does not only focus on the gaming experience. Sony has revealed that they will be making non-game applications for users to run with their Playstation VR. Next to this, it will be the first VR headset that is integrated with a console, allowing the product to be introduced to a mass audience who do not need to purchase additional products for the headset to work on (Gaudiosi, 2015). This is where the future comes in sight.

What could the future of Virtual Reality bring to us? When I think of the current advances in technology in all industries, it seems inevitable that Virtual Reality will be embedded in our lives. Think about our phones. They used to be devices on which we could only call or text, but today a lot of companies are dependent on the smartphone. Not only companies, but humans are dependent on their phones. A lot of products we were using back in the days are now integrated into the internet, most of the times in the form of applications. We are streaming videos off Netflix, streaming music off Spotify, reading eBooks on the Kindle or writing our college reports on our tablets. A lot has changed. Virtual Reality could help us in our everyday lives. May it be in our jobs, using VR as a means for creating architectural structures, or to recreate holidays that we need in order to relieve stress, there are a lot of opportunities the technology provides and the companies will sooner or later thrive to implement into their products and/or services.

~ 366004ko

Sources

Gaudiosi, John (2015), ‘Here’s the big advantage Sony has over the competition’, http://fortune.com/2015/06/25/sony-morpheus-vr-e3/, accessed on 08 October 2015.

Strickland, J. (2007), ‘How Virtual Reality Works’, HowStuffWorks.com, http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/other-gadgets/virtual-reality.htm, accessed on 08 October 2015.

http://www.theverge.com/a/virtual-reality/

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2 responses to “Virtual Reality: Is It Progressing?”

  1. stefanbouts says :

    Hey there! First of all, well structured post! Interesting to see someone give their arguments pro-virtual reality. Personally, I think that Virtual Reality will remain a niche product with limited applicability for the better part of coming decades. Like you state in your article, Virtual Reality is a concept that has been around since the ’80 / ’90’s yet it has not made the same forward progress like other technologies such as mobile phones or PC’s. I feel that part of the reason for the marginal advancement is the sum of overhyping by the media and disappointment by the general public. Take the Oculus Rift, the project has been a great success on Kickstarter roughly three years ago where it collected around 2.5 million dollars. The innovative piece of technology was in the news all around the world. However, to this date the device has not been able to live up to the hype. The first headsets were due for delivery around October 2012. Since Facebook bought the company not much has changed regarding the technologies behind the system and people were disappointed that Facebook and Oculus did not provide the early backers with the earliest release they promised. Since then the Oculus hype in the mainstream news and public has reduced greatly.

    This does not mean that I do not appreciate the technology. I do however think that it will remain a product with limited applicability as stated earlier. Take for instance the combination of gaming and the Oculus Rift. Take the combination of VR + Omni. The Omni is a device that translates physical movement into digital, in-game movement. I have attached a video that demonstrates the technology below. This application of VR is one of the most interesting and promising ones I have seen to date. Problem again is that this is not something that the masses will use, mainly because of capital and space restrictions.

    To summarize, I do believe that VR is a technolgy that has great potential. I do however not completely share your view that it will be an integral part of our lives in the near future and think that it will remain a niche for some time to come.

    440300sb

    Attached: VR and movement video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3vHv4lNvg4

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