The future of Virtual Reality

The future of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) has a lot of buzz around it lately. It is taking over in so many spheres that it's natural to claim VR as the next big thing in technology. Technically speaking, VR is an artificial environment that seeks to synthetically introduce stimuli to your senses. Meaning, one's sight, sound, touch, smell, and even taste can be artificially stimulated. When you put on the VR headset, it substitutes your worldview with a digital world that is designed to give you an immersive experience. For your brain, you are somewhere else, but in reality or physically you are in the same place.

VR uses mainly two types of tracking techniques. One of them is inside out tracking which is done with the help of infrared cameras. It uses AI and ML technologies to detect your position in the virtual environment. One of the drawbacks of inside-out tracking is that you need to be in a well-lit area to be detected. The second technique uses lasers that need to be placed in the corner of the rooms. It overcomes the drawback of inside out tracking and can detect even in low lighting.

VR history has more than 100 years if we take into account the first related researches in the area. But it was during the 1980s and 1990s, VR became a concept of the future. With evolving graphics in video games during that time, it catered to consoles like PlayStation. As of today, Sony PS4 and Microsoft Xbox make use of these cutting-edge graphics to simulate reality. In the current scenario, there are two types of VR technology: standalone and PC VR.

2017 can be pegged as a key year in the virtual reality industry. Multiple consumer devices that seem to finally answer the unfulfilled promises made by virtual reality in the 1990s made its way to market during 2017. This includes the revolutionary Oculus Rift, which was purchased by social media giant Facebook in 2014.

Oculus Rift offers a tethered VR experience. Although it has a stunning high definition of VR experience, being bound to your computer impedes your flexibility while using the headset or even transporting it. The Oculus Go, on the other hand, is their tetherless headset, making it the "grab and go" option. However, without the cameras and sensors that the Rift has, there is no actual way to walk through your VR experience. As a result, you won't be able to interact with your experience to the same degree as you would with the Rift.

The Oculus Quest which came out in 2019, seems to be a valuable addition to their collection, as it aims to be the bridge between the Rift and the Go. By combining the best features of the two, the Quest answers many of the limitations the Rift and the Go have on their own. The Quest has sensors on the headset, allowing you to move in a VR experience similar to the Rift. Plus it's a standalone VR headset (no PC required, no tether, etc) that allows full 6 degrees of freedom. The headset costs around $399, although it has been discontinued as of now.

Now the Oculus Quest 2, set to release on October 13, 2020, is on the higher end of VR with up to 90 fps. It has a much better processor than the original quest which is the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2. Quest 2 is upgraded in every way with even the weight reduced at a lower price. It costs around $299, which is less than all of the others by a huge margin. Also, with the help of the Oculus link, cable one can enjoy PC VR games such as distribution services like steam VR.

Today's technology is constantly pushing VR further on, and researchers continue to make environments more and more lifelike. One crucial component to making a VR experience more realistic is low persistence OLED, which has become the technology of choice for viewing devices that help users with maintaining their presence in VR. Other important factors associated with this viewing experience include tracking, low latency, high resolution, and high-quality optics.

All of this shows us that the future of virtual reality lies in Video Games, Film, Education, Simulation, Automation, Military, Space, and medical, etc industries. While the gaming and travel industries are the first VR headliners, soon virtual and augmented reality will become more impactful than playful. It is already being used in the military for training purposes. This is particularly useful for training soldiers in situation-specific combat scenarios. It enables them to get hands-on experience of dangerous situations without the risk of a serious injury or death. It is also used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder within soldiers. Soldiers suffering from psychological conditions post a war can learn how to deal with their symptoms in a safe environment.

VR can help with easier access to healthcare as well as a tool to relieve pain. The number of applications and cases is rapidly growing where VR is used to distract patients from their illness and help them better manage pain and distress. It's also proven effective as a treatment of phobia, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress.

Virtual and augmented reality even has the potential to make boarding meetings more engaging. Every area of business and pleasure will be changed in the next couple of years by accessing the core of our emotions and memories by altering what we look at every day. Various industries are starting to adopt the technology, reaping major benefits from lowering maintenance times to eliminating the need to send specialized personnel to actual sites for inspections. Shortly, it is possible for there to be a fully immersive virtual reality sphere for people to fully merge in, offering an alternative place and way of life.