One of these certainly is Virtual Reality - technology to create simulated, three-dimensional environments. Sometimes it may be confused with Simulated Reality - a term describing the hypothesis that the world can actually be simulated. Considering the pace of technology development we are currently witnessing, it may happen sooner than we think. In this post, however, I want to focus on the state of VR/AR in the ongoing 2020.
It may seem that VR is the invention of 21 century, but actually, the first goggles were developed 40 years ago - in the mid-1980s by Jaron Lanier, founder of VPL Research. When in 2010 Oculus and Sony released the next generation - commercially oriented headsets, VR experience began to be accessible for a wider audience. This was just the beginning of the journey, but it’s safe to say that this is one of the major directions we are heading in the future.
Which industries already use VR and AR
Virtual reality creates an environment to replace the real world. Unlike Augmented Reality which does not replace reality - data is captured from the environment by, for example, motion sensors and added to the experience. When interactions happen on both levels, it's called mixed reality.
Ultraleap Interaction Engine demo made my LeapMotion company
Motion-tracking controllers are getting more and more accurate. One of the leading companies in the field - Leap Motion is providing devices to capture hands motion which are simple yet powerful. Infrared LEDs and two image sensors are sending data back to the computer 100 times per second.
Besides the entertainment sector, gesture control systems can be used in many ways - for example by enhancing the safety and comfort of driving inside of premium cars.
On the other hand, mixed reality is making a big impact on construction industries. Employees training, various simulations at the early stages of the projects, or even excavators controlled miles away from the workside. It all contributes to lowering the total costs and increasing the safety of the workers.
Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times
VR and mixed reality technology have also found its way to retail business, giving companies the possibility to stand out from competitors. IKEA Place allows you to check out how your comfy new sofa will fit into your apartment before you make your decision.
One of the main beneficiaries of the VR/AR technology is the medical & pharmaceutical industry. Simulations of the inside of the human body or even visualizing the brain - it is all currently helping to train future doctors and their patients. The most exciting by far is the creation of a human-controlled robotic arm, which has the potential to perform surgeries more precisely. Moreover, with the ability to simulate any environment, VR can also be extremely helpful in mental and psychological therapy. For example - it allows to cure fear disorders connected with particular situations and places, without leaving the doctor’s office. On top of that, it can be useful in physical treatments, from reducing pain level by distracting patients, to helping them recover faster from injuries, by making exercise more fun and interesting.
Let VR entertain you
It's no surprise that VR technology shines in the gaming industry. It brings revolution there with its entirely new level of user experience. It’s all about the feeling - being a part of a new, virtual dimension. You are not just sitting in front of the screen. The game is all around you.
By creating a deeper and more personal connection with the player, it has great potential to keep him busy for long hours. From short arcades to fully-fledged, story-driven games, the market is growing and it’s not going to stop any time soon.
Asgard’s Wrath - one of the best games for Oculus
Even though possibilities are endless, VR is still relatively new, so are the products. They are not perfect yet, but all companies involved in the industry are doing their best to take full advantage of VR’s huge potential. If we examine the market share the biggest fish in the sea is Google Cardboard due to competitive price and early release. Although, the most talked about is Oculus - a company launched in 2012 as a Kickstarter project and acquired by Facebook in 2014. In 2019 the company released its first, not only standalone but also strictly gaming headsets - Oculus Quest and it gathered a lot of interest among the players. Fully mobile and all in solutions are the next step for the whole ecosystem.
Stable, low latency and extremely fast connections which 5g is bringing to the table are the door opener for even more accessible and immersive experiences. The value of the global Virtual Reality market in 2018 was 7.3 billion dollars. In 2026 it is projected to reach 120.5 billion dollars - presumably, the best is yet to come.
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