Virtual Reality: Is It Progressing?
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):
- The experience exists of 3D images that are close to the proportions of reality.
- 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).
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.
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.