3-dimensional virtual reality once seemed like a far-fetched thing of the future, in the same category with hover cars and Jetpacks. But as technology continues to expand at a rapid, exponential rate, 3D virtual reality technology is now a thing of the present, soon to be made completely accessible to your average consumer. There are many different devices that will soon offer virtual reality technology, which stimulates several aspects of another environment to create a completely immersive experience. This technology will enable us to experience and learn more about the world around us, without even having to leave our bedrooms. Whether you want to travel the world or be a participant in your favourite movies or video games, you’ll be able to completely transport yourself with almost no effort. No matter who you are, virtual reality can help you live your dreams.
Where it began
The development of virtual reality technology began in the 1960’s, with the creation of the first basic virtual reality headset by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland. This inspired continued research by Atari, the prominent video game company, in the 1980’s. Other video game companies, such as Sega and Nintendo, later released individual video game devices and arcade games that incorporated characteristics of virtual reality. Over the past two decades, many well-known, successful technology companies have developed consumer products with virtual reality components, with a particular focus on detailed and 3-dimensional graphics that feel realistic to the user.
There are many amazing 3D virtual reality products that have been released recently. Samsung has released their Gear headsets, which work with their Galaxy smartphones to bring anything, from webpages to Google Maps to your favourite videos and games to life with highly detailed 3D graphics. The headsets are light and comfortable, and the software is powered by Oculus, a company that has been at the forefront of virtual reality development. The product is designed to be used anywhere, so your lunch break or a bus ride can be turned into a trip around the world. If you prefer a bigger, more intense virtual reality experience, Oculus is also releasing a headset called Rift, which has been created specifically to create the most realistic virtual reality experience ever, with graphics that work with the human eye. HTC, another successful tech brand, has also developed a headset called Vive that is the product of a partnership with the Valve Corporation. This product is set for release in mid-2016 and allows you to turn any space into your own virtual reality. The set comes with two wireless controllers and two base stations, which sense your movement and adjust the graphics of the headset accordingly, creating a startlingly realistic experience. Finally, Sony is releasing the Playstation VR, which is a virtual reality gaming platform that takes your favourite Playstation games to the next level, with a headset and wireless controllers that let your every move control the game.
With all this new technology brings games and video content that is being developed with virtual reality in mind. Creators are now considering how to make their products compatible with virtual reality to keep consumers on their toes. Although not many virtual reality games have been released yet, many major companies are already considering how they can update some of their most popular titles to accommodate virtual reality. One of the biggest examples is Minecraft, the building game that has taken the world by storm. The next version of the game will be available for Oculus platforms such as Rift and Gear, as well as on Windows 10 computers.
Film & TV
Another important component of virtual reality is making movies, TV shows, and even YouTube videos 3-dimensional. However, many filmmakers don’t currently have the technology available to create video content for virtual reality. To fill this void, there are several virtual reality cameras that are currently in production. Tech companies Nokia and Lytros are currently creating spherical cameras that will shoot content specifically for virtual reality. However, these cameras are not cheap – expect to pay as much as several hundred thousand pounds for one. While a 3D virtual reality camera is a huge investment, for high-profile video creators, it can enable huge creative growth and innovation.
VR & Websites
With the advent of virtual reality, we’ll even start to see shifts in the way websites are designed. More and more sites will start incorporating movement and video content for an immersive experience, and aesthetically pleasing web features will become even more crucial for success. This will be particularly important for entertainment, with many consumers turning to virtual reality to keep themselves occupied. Many virtual reality headsets will be sold for under £1000, and will be available for purchase both online and in stores, making them very accessible to the general public. Virtual reality headsets will soon become commonplace, especially for technology enthusiasts.
Virtual reality is not only being used for entertainment, but it is also helping companies in a wide variety of industries make important advances. Architects can use virtual reality to walk through their building plans in three dimensions, instead of just viewing them on paper. Inventors and product designers can use it to get a realistic idea of how their product will look, feel, and work, especially when it comes to vehicles like cars, trains, and planes. Doctors will be able to train and practice new surgical techniques in virtual reality, enabling them to learn new skills more safely. The education industry as a whole will be completely changed as well – even primary schools will be able to use virtual reality headsets to see and feel the concepts they are learning about, from history to literature to science. Students can even take virtual reality field trips, experiencing some of the World’s most important and interesting places without spending money or wasting time travelling.
There are no bounds to where virtual reality will go, and that’s what makes this new technology so exciting. It won’t be long before we’re all using virtual reality headsets in our daily lives.