There has been much written and spoken about VR this year, many people predicting that this is the moment it will take off and become truly mainstream.
There’s no doubt that many of us are waiting in anticipation to see where this great new technology is going to take us. It’s not only set to revolutionise gaming but could have an impact in areas such as education, health care and even how films are made. Just imagine a Star Wars movie where you can immerse yourself in the action and feel a part of it. Or a class you can take without leaving your home.
Much of the problems in recent times have been about the hardware itself. Developing VR sets that are easy to use and cheap to buy has been a pretty long time coming but things are starting to progress. Companies like Google and Microsoft as well as Sony and Facebook owned Oculus VR are all bringing products onto the market. You can even buy cheap VR headsets which you can fit your mobile phone into.
There have been a few of issues to date with these headsets. The first is the weight and bulk of them and the second is the clarity of the images produced. Another has been the quality of the sound that the headsets deliver. It’s not just a case of producing an image close to the eyes, VR needs to create an immersive world that responds to head movements and that’s no easy process to get right even for the biggest tech companies.
Where are the Products?
There is a dearth of VR products on the market at the moment and some of them are pretty bad quality. That’s to be expected until the hardware is sorted out and people start buying sets in large enough numbers. As this improves over the next couple of years you can be sure that new programmes and apps will start to flood onto the market. Here are just some of the areas that VR might have an impact:
- Entertainment: VR could literally revolutionise our home entertainment experience. Not only can it be used for great new games but films and TV. You won’t have to visit a museum or art gallery in person but can take a walk around without leaving the comfort of your own home. Want to experience the high of a skydiving trip or a climb up Everest? In years to come VR will help you do just that.
- Shopping: Try before you buy is going to be the name of the game. Why take time out to view a house you’re interested in buying when you can view it on a VR headset? Want to book a holiday but not sure where to go, then how about paying a visit to different locations before you choose?
- Education: VR classrooms will certainly be the big educational change in the future. It can give us access to tutorials and seminars, practical sessions and demonstrations that add value to our learning experiences. Want to learn a language? VR can set you down right in the middle of Paris any time you want.
Of course, there’s a long way to go and much depends on how VR tech develops over the next 18 months or so. Once it gets going though, VR is going to change things quite dramatically and has the potential to transform many aspects of our daily lives.