Okay, so recently there’s been a lot of buzz in the technology world around virtual reality. It’s something that has struck the interest of not only members of the public but some major OEMs within the technology space also. Oculus were the first company that got into the mainstream with their Oculus Rift a few years ago that really caught the minds of people! Since then other manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony and Microsoft. But why is everyone so excited about virtual reality? What are the potentials of this brand new piece of hardware?
The initial idea when it came to Virtual Reality was the advancement of gaming. Playing games where you can view the content by looking around would an immersion and interactivity with the game that has previously not been explored.
With virtual reality, as you move your head around, you can view different areas of the 3D world that you’re in. The next step is conquering movement within applications. There’s the option of using a joystick or the more advanced options of using a standing walking machine that allows you to walk on the spot. However this is why I think virtual reality is still in it’s early stages and therefore needs a little more thinking before it is released. However, the potential is definitely there for gaming and it would really take the experience to the next generation and is a route I feel Microsoft and Sony would definitely go down!
Another area that issuing explored with virtual reality is the possibility to advance films and increase immersion with films also. Initially the enjoyment would be the feeling of being close to the action and having the sound right in your ears also without having to hold any form of device. However there have been talks of interactive films in which you can view around the scene as the action plays out, however this could be an option that might cause some problems and lessen the experience as you may miss action in different areas of the scene.
Once again, this is something that has it’s fallbacks but it something that has great potential and would take the user and consumers into a whole new dimension of immersion with films. The likes of Oculus have begun talks about opening up a dedicated store for it’s film and gaming services which would open up a brand new ecosystem and would bring the idea of apps to the forefront of the device itself.
Talking of apps, this is an area that virtual reality is sure to eventually delve into. Now with brand new hardware to play with, there is requirement for the software/apps that run on it to have a completely different outlook in how they are navigated, controlled and function. By this I mean, applications such as task applications and calendar applications wouldn’t be useful as you wouldn’t want to put your expensive VR headset on just to view what your day looks like tomorrow when you can quickly get out your phone or tablet to view it.
However, many other applications could take incredible use of a headset and really the next generation of immersive applications and run with it. For example, imagine Google Street View working smoothly in virtual headset? You would literally be able to visualise your walk down the street to your designated location. In addition, the idea of using VR to tour a 3D render of a house that’s been created in Maya or some form of 3D modelling software is an exciting thought also. The idea of making the person feel like they’re there is something that I’m sure will make the most successful virtual reality apps really stand out.
One of the hottest topics being talked about within the virtual reality scene is the ability to use such headsets to train military troops. The headset would be worn by the soldiers in training and it would be set up with their weaponry so that they could experience the sounds and sights of war without actually sending them out directly. This would arguably save a lot of money and would enable them to train more as they wouldn’t be restricted to constantly travelling countries to train and it would allow them to do it within the comfort of their own army camp.
This is something that has brought up a lot of controversy within the army sectors as it is deemed an unreal interpretation of war itself as the soldier knows that they can come to no harm despite hoe realistic the sights and sounds may be. However, the potential uses expand when you think it could just be used for basic weapon training. For example, if the headset could be used to track the gun/turret so precisely that it could improve the aim of the soldier using it, then once again it could save time and money as it is something that would need far less organisation to accomplish.
THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS
In reality, the possibilities are endless! When the iPad first came out, it was lauded as “an oversized iPod Touch” however since then it’s uses have expanded to unbelievable levels. It is now used in a major number of schools worldwide as a learning tool, it is used to fly airplanes, it is used to build buildings, it is used to print 3d objects and so many more amazing uses.
Such as the iPad, a VR headset is only limited by the imagination of those that can use it. However this article has highlighted, what I believe to be, some of the main uses we will see it used for when these devices eventually become mainstream and start being brought into everyone’s homes.