Virtual reality: Modern technologies

 

Only a few think that virtual reality technologies will not change our everyday life. On the contrary, most believe digital world will eventually entwine into the real world and change it altogether. However, it is still uncertain, whether there would be place for e-sports in this new world. Let’s try to sort it out and continue looking into this matter, as we have already started with the previous articles. In this one we will discuss modern developments in the area of virtual reality.

 
 
Undoubtedly, soon the entire world will become one giant computer and people woul be paying huge money to get into “another world”. The world of dreams, shown to us in the Matrix trilogy will unavoidably come true. It is only a matter of time and technological development.
Ukraine Arseniy "ceh9" Trynozhenko
 

Oculus rift

 

It has been all over the Internet that Facebook acquired Oculus VR, a company, developing a VR helmet. Thus, people might have realized that integration of virtual reality into our everyday life would happen much sooner than expected. It has become clear, that Facebook would help make such technologies affordable, especially considering decreasing component costs.

 

A young firm Oculus VR did not possess sufficient financial resources, therefore they organized a Kickstarter project in 2012 in order to raise fund for a prototype development. The result went beyond any expectations, since needed sum was gathered in just a few days. In a month the researchers had about $2,5  million at their disposal, which has shown that people are extremely interested in the project. Interestingly enough, the Oculus’ VR helmet was first intended to be used solely for gaming purposes.
 
Oculus rift demonstration
 

In March 2014 Facebook announced their intention to acquire Oculus VR. Mark Zuckerberg stated, “After games, we're going to make Oculus a platform for many other experiences”. Thus, he didn’t want to limit the technology to games only. Mark’s plan goes far beyond as he intends to change the way people communicate with each other. Which he has already done one, by the way with his Facebook. However, the community met Mark’s words with skepticism, as people can’t think of any way to significantly change the way humans interact. 

 
Someone's creative suggestion
 

Although Oculus rift is available for anyone to buy, a final version is set to be released by the end of 2016. At the moment  Oculus rift costs about  $350, though the price might vary depending on the region.

 

Google Glass

 

Another project to cause a stir is a concept of non-immersive augmented reality in the form of glasses by Google. Augmented here means that the glasses add a digital layer on top of real things. Simply put, these are headphones for eyes. This technology is being used in aviation, when pilots receive all the necessary information on the glass in their helmet, without having to distract themselves from maneuvers to look at the control panel. Google Glass employs the same mechanism.

 

Google Glass review
 

Glasses have a voice control. For instance, saying, “Оk, glass, record a video” will start a recording. Apart from that, glasses can search Google for the information, send pictures, navigate and trace location. All this is only available with Wi-Fi, of course. All the information simply appears in front of a user on his or her glasses’ screen.

 

Google Glass can be helpful on a date
 

The Glass entered the market in 2014, but it soon became clear that they need to be developed further. In 2015 Google announced about stopping mass production, which allowed mass media to call this project a failure. Considering some flaws like little battery charge and heavy weight of the device, mass media had a point. Anyway, Google have promised to develop a new model of the glasses.   

 

Vive

 

There is no doubt that gaming industry will soon become a synonym of virtual reality. Thus, Valve in cooperation with HTC began to work on their own VR helmet. The project went under the name of Vive and was first introduced in March 2015. Sales are predicted to start by the end of this year, though the price of this new device is yet to be disclosed. 

Vive ad
 

While Oculus rift is no longer considered to be a gaming device, Vive is designed purely for gamers. The helmet comes together with 2 controllers to trace hand movement and two small boxes, which you should hang up on the walls so that they could track your location. So, users are supposed to move around the room, while sensors will track any movement. Obviously, the system will warn the user when he is just about to hit a wall in his real room.

 

Fields of application

 

Big companies are certainly betting on games to become the driving power of virtual reality technologies. However, nothing limits these technologies to the gaming industry. For example, some enthusiasts are planning to create a movie for Oculus rift, which will allow viewers to feel like they take part in it. One shouldn’t also forget about military labs, where such technologies are being extensively used. Devices like VR helmet can be very helpful when training future pilots and astronauts.

 

Tourism can also change beyond recognition. Visitors of a museum will be able to get any information about a showpiece right in front of their eyes. Google Glass seems to suit this purpose the most. Moreover, the glasses can get all the signs translated, should the user travel to another country. A final point of tourism development may be a virtual reality, allowing to experience a trip to any place on earth, all without even leaving home.

 

Medicine is one of the biggest spheres of potential implementation of these technologies. At this very moment apprentice dentists are performing their first surgeries on virtual people instead of live ones. Same is true for surgeons. Furthermore, advanced clinics create a 3D model of an organ to be cut, which allows to plan the surgery carefully and minimize any potential risks. Even psychotherapists use virtual reality to cure their patients from fears or stress. Disabled people can immerse into the virtual world to forget about their real life limitations and feel healthy and complete. All of the above is happening today. In the nearest future virtual reality technologies will be incorporated in every area of our life, which will most likely blur the boundaries between real and digital.

 

Conclusion

Modern day VR helmets are a mere parody for virtual reality. However good Oculus rift is, it can never imitate touch, smell or interact with any other human senses. One must admit that audiovisual system is not enough to perceive digital world just like the real one. Thus, VR helmets are just a first step in developing a full system of mechanism, capable of affecting not only vision and hearing, but also touch, smell and taste. On the other hand, virtual reality doesn’t have to be a complete replica of our world. It may be even better for a user to be certain that surrounding is not real. Otherwise falling from a building in a virtual world can cause a real cardiac arrest and there could be many more of such examples.

 

In the next article we will fantasize about the future technologies and finally make suggestions about the future of e-sports.

 
Previous articles of the series: 
 
  • The history of virtual reality is an article about the development of virtual reality from its very beginning. It mostly discusses input devices like gloves and mechanisms, capable of tracing movement.
  • Virtual reality: Immersion deals with an idea of a complere immersion ito a digital world and first attemts to impelemt is. Here, we mostly discuss output devices, able to affect hearing, vision, smell, taste and touch.
 
AuthorP0s1t1v3 Date 1 July 2015, 14:20 Views2101 Comments0
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