We have said it before, and we are saying it again: 2016 is the year Virtual Reality will step out of the garages of entrepreneurs and the desks of developers, because it is finally hitting the mass-market, and this time, we are confident that it will succeed.
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In the last few years, we have seen an upsurge in the field of Virtual Reality, similar to the peaking of interest that happened at the end of the 20th century and carried on a bit into the 21st century. But then, it was soon realized that while VR was an interesting concept, it just wan’t possible nor financially viable with the then-current technology.
The failure of Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, which looked to be promising on paper but was an utter failure for Nintendo due to it’s absolutely nauseating, headache inducing graphics that also looked terrible with their overpowering reddishness.
And what did you get for all that? A poor, sparse library of games that in no way justified for its high price and also the headaches that came with it.
But soon technology caught up with the interesting premise for Virtual Reality, with tech such as motion and head tracking, better graphical prowess and more.
Virtual Reality is going to go mainstream, with pioneers such as the Oculus Rift leading the charge. Players such as Sony have already realized this and have already released their VR HMDs (The Project Morpheus, along with the TMZ HMDs that came before them).
With major industry shapers such as Microsoft and Apple (Along with Samsung) rumored to be developing VR HMDs, the future looks a bright as it could for Virtual Reality.
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But then, as we think about VR going mainstream, the questions pop in, asking what exactly will VR be suitable for. There are some obvious uses, but also some not-so-obvious ones.
Let us get the obvious ones out-of-the-way first, Gaming is a field that could very much benefit from Virtual Reality. While some just don’t see it, most will agree that being transported into another world, where you can do whatever you want (Sticking to the Game Rules, of course) and having abilities that are not possible here in the real world, is a magical experience.
Also, it provides a kind of an advantage. Instead of mashing buttons to look behind, you can just glance behind physically, quicker than you can with the controller, giving you that edge that might just help you win the game.
You may fly, run, ravage, plunder, shoot, explore, whatever you want because you are not in the real world. Yes, you can do these things in games already, but imagine being able to do these things in an environment that is as close to the real world as it can be.
Instead of hunching over a computer screen or staring at that television, you can actually look around in the game world, do things as you do in reality, making the boundaries between a game and the real world even more blurred. You feel like being a part of the game, not an outsider controlling it. You are transported to a different world, with different abilities, different objectives, different problems: A Break from the Real World.
2.) Movies, TV, the whole Shebang
Movies are much like Games, only don’t control them. The argument for Movies goes much like it goes for Gaming: Instead of watching movies on your TV/Tablet/Theater, you can watch it on a VR Device and be more immersed into the experience.
Whatever size your Television or Tablet is, you cannot beat the experience of watching on VR, where it is bigger and so better.
Theaters? Yeah, they are big, but they are at a fixed place. They are not portable. With VR, you can have a theater experience anywhere you want.
You are put in the center of all the action, you can view it much closer than you can in other forms of media consumption devices. It is a more immersive experience and here only does 3D make actual sense. Think the IMAX experience, only portable.
Those fighting scenes. Those panoramic scenes. Those closeups. Just made that much more bigger and better. More Immersive.
Training and Testing
Want to train a pilot without taking the risk of putting them in a plane? The answer is VR. And Virtual Reality is already being used by pilots, the military, etc for training and also for testing new manoeuvres, weapons, etc in a specially designed simulation that has the same properties as that of the real world.
These simulations can be used to test stuff without actually using them, making them extremely useful. And safe. Unlike the real world, whatever happens in the Virtual World, stays in the Virtual World.
Video Calling, Video-Conferencing, et al.
Technology has enabled one to talk and view others despite being miles away, or even despite being on opposite locations on the globe.
One can see others by Video calling. But one can’t be closer. By Virtual Reality, one can be even more closer to the person they are calling. One can almost reach out and touch them. You can’t feel them yet, but the tech for that is being developed.
Video Conferencing too can be improved. On one hand, one can see others through VR. One can feel closer. But we can go one step further. If every one has a VR HMD, then they can virtually assemble at a virtual table, making it much like a real assembling, no matter how much physical distance is between the participating members.
Helping the Disabled to Explore
One out of every five people in the US are disabled. That is a big number. Many are unable to move or explore, stuck within the confines of the room they are in .
They have been stuck for years. They don’t know what is going on in the outside world. They want to but they can’t. Because of their conditions. They have just accepted it. But Virtual Reality shows a new hope.
With advancements in VR Tech, the disabled could explore the places they wanted to without every leaving the bed they are on.
And about extensive work for 3D-Mapping these places? Google has already taken care of that with Street View, which allows one to move around a place as if they were physically present there. It has already mapped major areas and is continuing to Map every single day.
A few tweaks to Street View will enable the use of Virtual Reality to explore around the place, making it much, much more immersive.
Instead of staring at the place on-screen, why not be (almost) present at the place itself. With eye tracking and head tracking, the disabled could move around the place despite their limited movement.
And some of this has already been done, with the Oculus Rift enabling a dying woman to venture out into the world one last time, without ever leaving her bed.
Virtual Reality can be an enabler for them, by which they can overcome the limits posed on them by their disability. They can be free.
As you read that, you may have questions popping in your head about how VR can possibly help in Hacking. Read on for the answer.
DARPA has developed advanced software using Oculus Rift prototypes, to change Hacking from viewing lines and lines of code to an actual 3D World, where you can spot vulnerabilities graphically, without having much coding knowledge.
This makes hacking much more easier and while it raises questions about the rise in hacking cases, one cannot deny that it is one of the more intuitive uses of Virtual Reality.
Virtual Reality can be used to explore places that are far away, or not accessible or those that do not exist at all.
You can look around and explore the nooks and crannies of the places you wish to see, despite not having access to them in the real world. You may explore places where mankind hasn’t stepped on, or places where you want to go..
The Eiffel Tower or Neptune, everything is possible with Virtual Reality. And it can be as real you want, or as magical/unreal you want it to be, it is your world, it is VR, nothing is impossible.
There are a few uses we have left behind, such as therapeutic uses, but the major uses of Virtual Reality are covered here.
Virtual Reality is going to be big and we are going to find uses for it in places we didn’t even know we needed it. Virtual Reality solves many problems for use and it is going to be one of the most influential and life changing revolutions, joining the likes of the PC and The Internet, i.e revolutionizing inventions that changed the way we do things, for the better.
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