Virtual reality – These are two words that are on everyone’s lips for months. But, do you know what it is? In this article we explain what the VR is and why it will change the entertainment industry and mostly many others.
The future entertainment will pass through this technology, and the biggest releases of the year will take those words (or simply VR) very seriously.
Although virtual reality has been talking about since the late 80s, the fact is that the final push came in 2010 with the first version of the Oculus Rift. From there, all have been proposed and improvements to revolutionize the world of VR.
A little history
Image Credits : DigitalEdge
Virtual reality is by no means a new concept. The combination of these two words, in fact, traces its history to before the 50s of last century, first with illustrations and texts constituting an alternative reality and then with machines that mimicked the consumer journey into unknown worlds.
In any case, from the beginning, the VR was presented as something that immerses you in an alternate world, wrapping you up, and allowing you to interact with the environment. In short, make the user feel being elsewhere, making moves or decisions in real time. In the 70s there were attempts to build the ‘magic theatre’, with rather little success.
It was the world of video games in the late 80s and early 90s which gave a new boost to this technology. Releases like Sega VR or Virtual Boy Nintendo tried to transport the user into the game with some rudimentary helmets (seen from today, of course) and enjoyed rather limited success.
But were the seeds of what will come soon: the entertainment world pushes to create a new technology that changes the way we enjoy content.
Pioneered By Google
In the 2000s Google laid the foundation stone for the contents of virtual reality, almost unwillingly, with its Street View. It was intended to be the most comprehensive picture of roads of the world, allowing users to move up and down, left and right with your mouse on the images.
At the same time, mobile began to hit hard, lowering the costs of sensors, and incorporating first gyroscopes and accelerometers, i.e., sensors that allow an object to know whether it is facing north, south, east or west, and up, down
Google has recently taken a step further in the virtual reality segment. It is with the announcement of stylish and comfortable, Daydream View.
The project that changed everything: The Oculus
Virtual reality was a concept that was still in the air, but not suitable for industry projects. But in 2010, a young man named Palmer Luckey, began work on a virtual reality helmet and convinced that technology was ideal.
He designed the first version of Oculus Rift, which achieved a viewing angle of 90 degrees, something never seen before.
The project looked good. It aroused the interest of several engineers, and Luckey launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $ 250,000 to fund the first devices in 2012.
The success was overwhelming: it raised nearly $ 2.5 million and lead industry into this technology. Looking into the possibilities it had … Facebook ended up buying Oculus for 2,000 million dollars..
Soon large companies began to design their virtual reality devices, and 2016 has been an year with great gadgets built around this technology.
Types of VR goggles
The main element of the VR is virtual reality glasses. This helmet mode, when the user puts on, happens to see only the contents of a screen (display).
The helmet has sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer), so that when the user moves his head, the display shows the image that would be in the direction the user looks at, so that creates a sense of virtual reality as if the user were inside the scene.
Now that 360 degrees photos and videos content is available. This is possible, thanks to the best displays, sensors, built to create specific content. You can also use tools like the Unreal Engine to start building Virtual Reality games and editing 360 degrees content.
In the market there are currently two types of virtual reality glasses. On one hand, they do not have a built -in viewfinder and therefore require a phone that is what functions as a display, and the others have a screen incorporate into them.
Image Credits: Freevrgoggles
In the first group, there are devices in all price ranges and capabilities. In fact, any citizen can today from home mount virtual reality glasses using the Google Cardboard, a printable template to manufacture this device.
Naturally, the experience is not the same as more sophisticated glasses, but to help get an idea of the feeling you can have you can go with Google Cardboard.
On the other hand, there are devices that are mobile ready. They are usually similar to plastic goggles and incorporate adjustable lenses and ergonomic accessories.
With a decent screen, the feeling is more than good. To enjoy content, you just have to search the app store (App Store or Google Play) using “VR”, where there are many applications suitable for these devices.
In the middle, there are also few devices like the Samsung Gear VR , which includes some additional sensors to improve the experience but continues to require a mobile phone (in this case, Galaxy) to get more out.
Samsung has an agreement with Oculus , so the experience is enhanced by the quality seal Oculus applications
Finally, we find the VR helmets with screens included at affordable prices. The last to appear was the Playstation VR , released in October. This will be connected to the PS4 to offer video games and unique experiences thanks to its OLED screen, field of view of 100 degrees and low latency.
Another device that promises thrills is the HTC Vive .The Taiwanese company is the one that has bet highly on virtual reality, in every way.
And it is that the HTC Vive is not just a case but also controls with the sensors placed in the room and allow the user to move through the stages (quiet, when there is a wall in front, the game or content displays a virtual wall). Three of the above mentioned devices were available in the market since 2015 and here is a review we composed of best virtual reality headsets for gaming. This has updated from then with more manufacturers flooding into the market and here is our recent virtual reality devices comparison post.
As we have seen, technological advances have allowed an old dream come true, This technology is ready to immerse you in an alternate reality and interact with it through VR devices. Fortunately for users, the options are numerous: from low cost to sophisticated devices that, of course, vary in the experience they provide.
Best of all is that even the limits of this new technology are unknown. So far it seems that the entertainment (especially video games, and also audiovisual content) will be the basis on which most applications are supported.
But do not forget sectors such as tourism ( virtual visit to anywhere in the world with vTime), trade (proof clothing, furniture …), education (immersion teaching) or industry all have much to say about this technology and its applications in relevant fields.