What is the first thing that comes to your mind on hearing the term, Virtual Reality? Do you get images of Neo and Morpheus strolling about in “The Matrix” or is it that of Johnny Quest with his father fighting it out in their “other world”. Either way, you are about in the right track. To think that these were characters created as part of the fantasy world in the past.
Virtual reality is a concept that is fast becoming common and popular these days. It opens a whole new range of exciting opportunities with it as well, especially in the world of gaming. Leading techs are already in the game, with their much-anticipated products such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Microsoft’s HoloLens, Sony’s Project Morpheus and a comparatively low-cost entry into this field, the Google Cardboard.
A lot of these devices are already being used in a number of industries across the world, as virtual reality is one of the most versatile technologies ever to be innovated in the recent past. To know what the hype is all about, let’s take a detour to find out what virtual reality is.
What is virtual reality
Virtual Reality is basically a concept in which computer technology is used for creating a simulated three-dimensional world. One in which the user can manipulate, maneuver and explore stuff while experiencing a feeling of actually being in that world. Nowadays, it is also known as Virtual Environment. Though there are different theories and opinions on what exactly comprises a virtual reality experience, the basic constituents are:
- three-dimensional, life-size images from the user’s point of view
- the power to monitor the user’s movements and change the images and features in the virtual display to reflect the changes in perspective
There are several devices and applications these days that have been created solely to achieve these goals.
A peek into how it works
The user feels a sense of “immersion” on being in a virtual reality environment. Immersion refers to a feeling of being inside or part of a particular world. Once the user starts interacting with the environment, he gets into state of “Telepresence”. Telepresence is a combination of the sense of immersion and interaction with the environment.
A proper Virtual Reality environment will actually make one feel detached from the real world or real surroundings and get you to focus only on your existence in the virtual environment. Computer Scientist Jonathan Steuer says, “Telepresence is the extent to which one feels present in the mediated environment, rather than in the immediate physical environment.”
Devices are designed by the developers with the help of technology to create these feelings among the users and provide rich virtual reality experiences.
The two main custodians of larger-than-life experiences – the gaming industry and the film industry are the pioneers in using virtual reality for business. They are likely to take virtual reality to new heights and set the pace for other industries as well.
For example, the 700 billion dollars worth glamour industry in the United States, Hollywood uses virtual reality to make amazing movies. Nokia’s new Camera Ozo, is likely to become a huge hit in this regard. With the ability to capture audio and video in 360 degrees, Ozo has been reported to give the most amazing experience with surround sound and images. Users actually felt the voices in their surroundings and were able to turn around and see the characters talking.
There are a number of other companies also looking to invade the film industry like Samsung.
The gaming industry too has a fairly large amount of loyal followers who are highly enthusiastic and encouraging about new innovations. For example, Rebellion, the leading game makers are looking to launch a virtual reality integrated version of their old 1980s classic Battlezone. There are also other companies yet to set their feet into this huge wonder.
Tourism is also another industry which is starting to make use of virtual reality with the South-African tourism being the pioneers. Their shark diving experience is something that is likely to become the next big thing leveraging virtual reality.
From the looks of it, this is already starting to be a revolution which is not going to stop with the present day. Into the future, maybe we’ll have people watching pyramids being built in the early days of Egypt or maybe how the Empire State building was set up in America or watch a play in the original Globe theatre. Books could also be made into jaw-dropping movies or even games with virtual reality supported cameras. We have tons of talented developers waiting, with all the skills to ideate, conceptualize and produce amazing worlds for us to explore and experience. All we need to do is wait for it.