So what is virtual reality to be exact? Virtual reality (or more commonly referred to as VR) is a computer system which recreates ‘reality’, By using input information, the computer generates an output that closely mimics reality. In other words, tilting our head to the right means that the whole world from our eyes will also seem to tilt.
Sorry to be rude, but most of the VR headsets most people have seen and experienced are utter cr*p, Samsung’s Gear VR, Google Cardboard, etc. do not enable the consumers to experience the true power of VR. The field of view and perspective that these VR headsets do not reflect how we humans perceive our surroundings. Furthermore, they do not allow you to interact with your surroundings with your hands and some even lack the ability for you to move around your virtual world by walking; they are simply putting you in a ‘sphere’ and only allowing you to look around.
What I personally call the ‘real’ VR are the HTC Vive, Sony Playstation VR, and the Oculus Rift (to name a few that can be purchased by you and me at the time of writing this article). These systems include controllers that function like hands and enable greater interaction with the virtual environment It also has position tracking so if you move to the left two steps, the your virtual world will also shift two steps left – just like in real life. Personally, I have briefly used the Oculus Rift and have more experience with the HTC Vive; both are great headsets that can be purchased right now.
I believe that VR will revolutionize education, and entertainment. Imagine the look on kids’ faces when they realize they can travel to Mars – and be back in time for recess! For entertainment, just think about the possibilities in video games, and movies. Being able to interact to certain parts of the movie and following the characters throughout the plot by being right next to them?
On the other hand, I have heard the argument from many people that VR prevents people from interacting with each other. Indeed, if VR was thought to be only a ‘one world’ ‘one person’ ‘simulation’, yes, it does prevent people from interacting with each other. However VR is more than that – by putting on a headset and being connected to the internet, people from one side of the world can literally be in the same room as someone else 5000 miles away! These people can work, communicate, and interact with each other similar to how they would in real life.
Within the near future, VR will be utilized by major institutions for education and communication while the entertainment industry will use VR for content consumption (movies and games). I am sure that there are plenty more uses for virtual reality but the aforementioned aspects, I think, will be dominant within the next decade or so.