Virtual Reality , so what next ?

Introduction:

Virtual reality (VR) is a brand-new user interface unlike the conventional one, immersing a person in a digital 3D environment, instead of watching on a display. Computer-generated imagery and content aim at simulating a real presence through senses (sight, hearing, touch).

Most current virtual reality environments are primarily visual experiences, displayed either on a computer screen or through special stereoscopic displays. This is achieved by stimulating the various senses with appropriate signals. Some simulations include additional sensory information, such as visual (via displays and optics), sound through speakers or headphones and signals, but also increasingly involves efforts around haptic (touch) sensations. The generation of realistic virtual environments requires the generation of appropriate stimuli and systems to direct how the stimuli should change, whether automatically or due to user interaction. As such, this relies on a variety of components and systems including displays, optics, sensors, communication and processing, delivered via both hardware and associated software to generate this environment.

Components of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality simulation requires two main components: a source of content and a user device. VR applications immerse the user in a computer-generated environment that simulates reality through the use of interactive devices, which send and receive information and are worn as goggles, headsets, gloves, or body suits. VR tools should be providing realistic, natural, high-quality images and interaction possibilities. In a typical VR format, a user wearing a helmet with a stereoscopic screen views animated images of a simulated environment. The illusion of “being there” (telepresence) is affected by motion sensors that pick up the user’s movements and adjust the view on the screen accordingly, usually in real time (the instant the user’s movement takes place).

Functions of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is using computer technology to create a simulated, three-dimensional world that a user can manipulate and explore while feeling as if individual is in that world. Scientists, theorists and engineers have designed dozens of devices and applications to achieve this goal.

The entertainment industry is still interested in virtual reality applications in games and theatre experiences, the really interesting uses for Virtual Reality systems are in other fields. Some architects create virtual models of their building plans so that people can walk through the structure before the foundation is even laid. Car companies have used Virtual Reality technology to build virtual prototypes of new vehicles, testing them thoroughly before producing a single physical part. Virtual environments are used in training programs for the military, the space program and even medical students. Some advanced, haptic systems now include tactile information, generally known as force feedback, in medical and gaming applications.

Types of virtual reality

“Virtual reality” has often been used as a marketing buzzword for compelling, interactive video games or even 3D movies and television programs, none of which really count as VR because they don’t immerse you either fully or partially in a virtual world. Search for “virtual reality” in your cell phone app store and you’ll find hundreds of hits, even though a tiny cell phone screen could never get anywhere near producing the convincing experience of VR. There are different types of virtual reality technology and they include:

Fully immersive

For the complete VR experience, we need three things. First, a plausible, and richly detailed virtual world to explore; a computer model or simulation, in other words. Second, a powerful computer that can detect what we’re going and adjust our experience accordingly, in real time. Third, hardware linked to the computer that fully immerses us in the virtual world as we roam around. The viewer would have a head-mounted display (HMD) and would also put on sensory gloves. To achieve the fully immersed virtual reality, the device will make use of two monitors and a sound system.

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Non-immersive

A highly realistic flight simulator on a home PC might qualify as no immersive virtual reality, especially if it uses a very wide screen, with headphones or surround sound, and a realistic joystick and other controls. Not everyone wants or needs to be fully immersed in an alternative reality. An architect might build a detailed 3D model of a new building to show to clients that can be explored on a desktop computer by moving a mouse. Most people would classify that as a kind of virtual reality, even if it doesn’t fully immerse you. This type can be seen in the virtual reality flight simulator. It has a widescreen PC with a surround system and comes with other accessories like headphones, joysticks etc. It is non–immersive reality because the viewer does not get fully immersed in the reality this device produces.

Collaborative

Collaborative reality is usually in the form of virtual reality games and they are not fully immersive. Although they meet the first four of our criteria (believable, interactive, computer-created and explorable), they don’t really meet the fifth: they don’t fully immerse you. This virtual reality gives the viewer an interactive experience and so one can even share their experience with other people in the virtual world. Collaboration and sharing are likely to become increasingly important features of VR in future.

Web-based

Virtual reality was one of the hottest, fastest-growing technologies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the rapid rise of the World Wide Web largely killed off interest after that. Some Scientists have discovered ways to use virtual reality over the internet using the Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML). This gives people an opportunity to discover new and interesting things the internet can offer and the way the Web gave them new ways to access real reality, new ways to find and publish information, shop, and share thoughts, ideas, and experiences with friends through social media. With Facebook’s growing interest in the technology, the future of VR seems likely to be both Web-based and collaborative.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality is all about connecting the real world we experience to the vast virtual world of information that we’ve collectively created on the Web. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have put what used to be supercomputer power in our hands and pockets. That’s spawned the idea of augmented reality (AR), where, for example, you point your smartphone at a landmark or a striking building and interesting information about it pops up automatically.

Pros and Cons of Virtual Reality

Like any technology, virtual reality has both good and bad points.

Pros:

The promise of VR has loomed large over the world of computing for at least the last quarter century but remains largely unfulfilled. While science, architecture, medicine, and the military all rely on VR technology in different ways, mainstream adoption remains virtually nonexistent; we’re not routinely using VR the way we use computers, smartphones, or the Internet.

The healthcare sector is a major user of virtual reality but there are other sectors who have equally adopted this technology for training purposes. VR is used in other fields as well i.e. education, armed forces, construction, telecoms and business.

Training is easier if the experience is pleasant or enjoyable which means higher level of engagement and understanding. Time and money are also important factors. Training is necessary to ensure that people are able to perform their jobs or learn a subject in order to be fully productive.

Organizing training sessions, conferences, and meetings are quite easier with VR technology. The technology is also helpful for the brands to showcase services and products and in making the presentations more attention-grabbing and appealing. A VR headset is also what you need for improved levels of experiences. It is easy to recall content that you have so vividly seen and that is one reason you should use a VR headset. As a solution to language barrier: with the use of a suitable software, you can comfortably blend in a foreign language domineered place or country and do just fine using a VR headset.

Cons:

VR can be addictive, critics always raise the risk that people may be seduced by alternative realities to the point of neglecting their real world lives but that criticism has been leveled at everything from radio and TV to computer games and the Internet. And, at some point, it becomes a philosophical and ethical question: What is real anyway? And who is to say which is the better way to pass your time? Like many technologies, VR takes little or nothing away from the real world: you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. Being used in both learning and playing games, VR has become addictive to some students and gamers who cannot just let go and that makes them slaves to the technology.

Using VR is expensive due to the advanced features it uses to perform. It can therefore be used by those who can afford it, and they are the minority compared to those who cannot afford them. This makes it unfair especially in learning since not all students can afford it.

But even with that sort of device, we’re at the beginning of a long, uncertain road not because of what the technology can do, but because of how people could misuse it. The internet is great; how people treat each other on the internet, not so much. Apply that logic to VR, where being embodied as an avatar means you have personal boundaries that can be violated, and where spatialized audio and haptic feedback lets you hear and feel what other people are saying and doing to you, and you’re looking at a potential for harassment and toxic behavior that’s exponentially more visceral and traumatizing than anything on conventional social media.

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How Is It Going to Change Our Future?

There is going to be a dynamic change in people’s lives in the future as virtual reality has a lot to offer. With advancement in VR app development, we should expect the world to be able to share knowledge and information that would affect our lives. Using virtual reality, people would be able to receive education in remote areas and also share updated information and knowledge across different parts of the world. Surgeons would also perfect their skills by being able to practice on things which are not real humans and discover ways to improve medical science and technology.

Virtual reality will give people the experience of travel without people having to leave their homes. The future promises people a chance to go shopping, travel and even socialize without even leaving their homes. Also, virtual reality will make people experience comfort while working from their homes. With the VR app development, people can work from anywhere while connected to digital printers and they would even experience uninterrupted tasks.

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