VR and AR reality have certainly had a rocky journey so far, one of the first big names you likely heard heavily associated with these technologies was most likely Google. The Google Glass was heavily rumoured for a long time and while it was announced in 2012 it didn’t ever see a worldwide release.
Google did release a model of Google Glass in America in 2013 but due to negative feedback the product was shelved and a second version known as the Enterprise Edition was only released in July of this year. So, the first big tech company to try its hand at virtual reality was a failure, right?
Well, maybe but Google Glass wasn’t strictly a virtual reality headset it did offer augmented reality though. This is similar but not exactly the same but the two are very closely intertwined. Google Glass also wasn’t actually the first real virtual reality headset on the market either.
The first so-called virtual reality headset was actually released in 1994 it was called the Forte VFX1 and while it might have been impressive at the time it never really caught on. The first virtual reality headset (as we know them today) was the Oculus Rift which was revealed for a crowdfunding campaign in 2012.
Oculus VR the company behind the Oculus Rift was later acquired by Facebook in 2014 for the huge sum of 2 billion dollars and the first version of the Oculus Rift was released for sale in 2016. 2016 also so the release of two other headsets the HTC Vive and Sony’s VR headset. But does virtual reality just mean headsets?
While the introduction of three virtual reality headsets was certainly a big boom to virtual reality development and we could now be seeing the first steps towards the famous VR science fiction technology of the movies it’s important that we look beyond headsets to gauge how virtual reality as has grown and changed the landscape of today.
One of the main benefits of virtual reality is that it can be utilised in many different industries, but if you’ve followed virtual reality even a little bit you probably won’t be surprised to know that gaming is where it’s made the biggest impact so far. But while Sony’s VR headset is certainly gaining a positive reception another popular game was the first to use virtual reality.
And to play this game you didn’t need a VR headset or even a console, Pokémon Go which is an AR game, was a huge success upon its release in 2016 and you could access it from a range of smartphones and tablets and has even led to many developers creating various hacks such as the Pokemon Go Android hack. Again, the game used augmented reality like Google Glass but that’s similar enough to virtual reality to count in my books.
Virtual reality games have been on the rise recently to help push the sales of headsets like Resident Evil 7, Star Trek Bridge Crew and if rumours are to be believed Microsoft is even launching a Halo VR game. But while games, whether they be for Smartphones or consoles, have certainly helped boost the popularity of virtual reality, it’s not just been used for gaming.
Virtual Reality Technology
Virtual realities amazing versatility is one of the main reasons it’s been adopted for many different purposes, games might be popular but virtual reality has also been used in the creation of movie trailers and Apple have used augmented reality in their newest iPhone models.
The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 plus and the iPhone X all have augmented reality features and Apple made sure to showcase them in detail at the new iPhone unveiling. With these new features, iPhone users can use their new camera to see digital images in the physical world.
Apple showcased an example of this by showcasing an app that allowed people to see a Baseball players stats simply by putting their iPhone’s camera over a player. The new iPhone’s screen was also reworked and redesigned to make its augmented reality more crisp and realistic.
The iPhone X also uses augmented reality for security showcasing a more innovative approach to the technology. The iPhone X allows you to save your face and use your iPhone’s camera as a sort of facial recognition technology, this way only you will be able to access your phone once it scans your face.
So, while gaming might indeed be the most popular way to use virtual and augmented reality right now, it’s far from the only way to use it. The strong focus Apple was sure to make highlighting its augmented reality features certainly shows that tech companies today are seeing a growing need for virtual reality and are confident that it will appeal to the public.
Virtual Reality In The Workplace
One place that virtual reality as made some of the most growth is in the workplace! This encompasses many different industries as well, medical training in hospitals, for example, has been able to use virtual reality to great effect. By using virtual reality practicing doctors and nurses can learn and practice their skills in a much more immersive environment.
Virtual reality also allows patients who are bedridden to visit virtual reality environments, augmented reality is also used to display museums exhibitions and create environments for people to see just by slipping on a headset. In the healthcare industry, both the people receiving and practicing care can benefit from the wonders of virtual reality.
Virtual reality also allows people from all around the world to converse and work with each other more easily, think Skype but even better. You can also use virtual reality to present data in new and exciting ways, some already do this using augmented reality but virtual reality could allow you to take it a step further.
Virtual reality is already used in schools to create a more immersive learning environment and as the technology grows and improves the way it can mould and benefit the workplace can only increase. There’s a lot of potential in virtual and augmented reality and it as already achieved some amazing things but I think it’s fair to say the best is yet come.