The Future of Virtual Reality

virtual reality | HTC Vive

Today I want to get a bit closer to the definition “Virtual Reality” and what kind of “VR” technology we have already today. If we examine both words, one by one, we will find exactly the following definitions for each word:

“Virtual”:  temporarily simulated or extended by computer software

“Reality”: the state or quality of being real, real things.

 

We know the world through our senses and perception systems. In school we all learned that humans have five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. These are however only our most obvious sense organs. The truth is that humans have many more senses than this, such as a sense of balance, pressure, pain, Thirst, Hunger and of course a sens for Time.

 

Everything we know about our reality comes from our senses. In other words, our entire experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information and our brains sense-making mechanisms for that information. It stands to reason then, that if you can present your senses with made-up information, your perception of reality would also change in response to it. You would be presented with a version of reality that isn’t really there, but from your perspective it would be perceived as real. Something we would refer to as a virtual reality.

How to explain Virtual Reality in technical terms…

Virtual Reality is the term, used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment. We can interact with this Virtual environment using interactive devices like the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift DK2.

There is a huge variety of applications for virtual reality, which include:

  • Architecture
  • Entertainment
  • Computer Games
  • The Arts
  • Medicine
  • Sport

Virtual reality can lead to new and exciting discoveries in these areas which impact upon our day to day lives.

Wherever it is too dangerous, expensive or impractical to do something in reality, virtual reality is the answer. From trainee fighter pilots to medical applications trainee surgeons, virtual reality allows us to take virtual risks in order to gain real world experience. As the cost of virtual reality goes down and it becomes more mainstream you can expect more serious uses, such as education or productivity applications, to come to the fore. Virtual reality and its cousin augmented reality could substantively change the way we interface with our digital technologies. Continuing the trend of humanizing our technology.

What to expect in 2016?

The past few years the Virtual Reality has grown immense and the term Virtual Reality is famous already. Leading technology companies like HTC or Oculus working very hard to develop better devices with more accuracy and higher resolutions already. There are also a lot of small devices to extend your smartphone and it will transfer you for less then a 100 bucks into the Virtual Reality.

With all that in mind, here is what will come next…

  • High Powered Headsets
  • A new generation of Games and Applications
  • Better camera options / 360 degree capture cameras
  • Virtual environments to experience Hyper Reality – The VOID

 

Summary

Virtual reality is the creation of a virtual environment presented to our senses in such a way that we experience it as if we were really there. It uses a host of technologies to achieve this goal and is a technically complex feat that has to account for our perception and cognition. It has both entertainment and serious uses. The technology is becoming cheaper and more widespread. We can expect to see many more innovative uses for the technology in the future and perhaps a fundamental way in which we communicate and work thanks to the possibilities of virtual reality.

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