Virtual reality turning reality

Virtual reality turning reality

Sebin Roy

Technical Specialist, Harvey Norman Technology for Business

While scrolling through my news feed last day, I came across an interesting article by The Independent about how Virtual Reality(VR) has been influencing the world today even in recreating history. VR is now emerging as a powerful technology that is becoming ubiquitous, and it might have a great impact in the current market and beyond.

According to the technology trends unveiled by the 2017 Gartner’s Hype cycle for emerging technologies, there are three distinct ones that will empower businesses to survive and flourish in the digital world for almost the next decade. They are Artificial Intelligence(AI), Immersive Experiences, and Digital Platforms. Virtual Reality falls into the category of Immersive Experiences and has the potential to be a disruptive technology. VR is currently placed in the slope of enlightenment phase in the Gartner Hype Cycle which indicates that it would not take long to become pervasive and mainstream.

Now the question arises: What exactly is Virtual Reality?

Marxentlabs defines VR as the use of computer technology to create a simulated or virtual environment. It is presented to our senses in such a way that we feel it as we were really there. VR is designed to place the user inside a near-reality experience in which they are immersed and can also interact with 3D worlds. In simple terms, it is to create an illusion of being somewhere where we physically aren’t. And how this is achieved is through using big screens or head-mounted display, sound, specially designed environment, motion sensors and other gadgets.

The history of VR attempts dates to the 19th century from Panoramic paintings, stereoscopic photos to even flight simulators as mentioned by the Virtual reality society(VRS). It is basically in the first fifteen years of the 21st century that VR has undergone a major and swift advancement. And this is because of computer technology, especially mobile technologies such as the rise of smartphones and other devices. 2016 was the year when the VR industry came into the limelight.

There are a lot of VR devices like the VR headsets which are available in the market of which some are the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Go, Sony PlayStation VR, and the Samsung Gear VR. These are mainstream in the Entertainment division according to The Telegraph. Yet there are many other applications of VR which are really useful in the near time. According to VRS virtual reality is now being deployed in

  • Scientific Visualization – It could be viewing a molecular structure from many angles or weather models
  • Fashion – Creation of 3D avatars and design of clothing
  • Entertainment – This is a widespread category in VR, especially when it comes to creating the in-game experiences, movies
  • Aviation – Creation of realistic cockpits to train commercial and military pilots and minimize risk and cost
  • Education – Help students to learn and understand complex concepts and interact with 3D environments
  • Healthcare – Training of surgeons, robotic surgery

Apart from these the uses of VR ranges from research to engineering and its possibilities are endless if explored. The potential value of VR is becoming clear in the current scenario even though there are limitations. For example, in the case of training pilots for commercial or military purposes, there are many factors taken into consideration such as risks, dangers, and cost.

These factors can be minimized with help of VR which provides the real-world experience, and this is a commendable aspect. According to an article in Forbes by R.L.Adams, it is briefed on how VR would increase the ease of conceptualization by allowing people to visualize and add potential improvements to a product or thing before buying it. This indeed would be a great feature when introduced on a widespread basis.

On a personal note, Virtual Reality, which was once fiction, is now becoming reality. With industries and people working on this technology tirelessly, it would surely impact the lives of people in the near future but yet there are limitations that are to be overcome. Hopefully, VR would be affordable and relevant with time, and it could improve our lifestyle and provide opportunities.

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