Virtual Reality: The Next Frontier

by Staff & Contributors

While virtual reality (VR) is considered by many to be a brand-new concept, it actually has a long and interesting history that began all the way back in the 1950s. Today’s virtual reality technology is highly advanced and has many applications, with that said there is still an exciting future for VR and potential for a number of exciting future developments.

In 1956, Cinematographer Morton Heilig created the very first virtual reality machine called the Sensorama. The Sensorama was a large booth that could fit up to four people, inside there was a combination of technologies used to create different senses.

For example, 3D full colour video, certain aromas, vibrations and even atmospheric effects used to create wind. Heilig described the machine as ‘the cinema of the future’ and continued to develop it over a number of years to improve the technology and create a bigger variety of effects.

In the mid-1960s, the concept of VR was explored further by computer scientist Ivan Sutherland with his design for the ‘Ultimate Display’. Over the next couple of decades different uses for the technology were investigating, including VR for flight simulation.

Different software and accessories were created and Mattel released something known as the Power Glove, a controller accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). However, this failed to gain any real traction in the market as it was difficult to use.

 

Betting on Virtual Reality

Fast forward to modern day virtual reality technology and there have been a number of huge advances that have enabled new applications for VR. The online betting and online casino industries are one example, VR headsets can now be used to access virtual spaces that have the look and atmosphere of real-life gambling venues. As VR becomes more realistic, players are certainly becoming more enticed by the realistic visuals and experience.

There are many other innovative uses for this modern technology. In the hospitality sector, you can now travel to different virtual locations to dine while tasting the menu from these places.

In medicine, trials for alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease using VR technology are underway, while in education students are using VR headsets to help them to better retain information.

Some of the most popular uses of this technology exist within the entertainment and real estate industries. VR modelling of architectural designs can be used to show potential home buyers what their living space will look like.

In entertainment, virtual reality helmets and eyewear is being used to create new immersive video gaming experiences. A number of big name brands in the gaming and tech world are investing in developing games to be used on VR platforms due to growing consumer interest and demand.

 

Options

One virtual reality headset that is popular amongst gamers in the HTC Vive. This is currently one of the most expensive gaming systems on the market but has some really impressive features.

The Vive requires a PC to run its software and has a front-facing camera that can bring aspects of the real world into your virtual environment. There are gesture controllers that are controlled using your hands, also the base station helps to track movements.

HTC’s system is a direct rival of the Oculus Rift which was first launched in 2016. This headset also requires a high-spec powerful computer to run its software, however a piece of tech known as the asynchronous spacewarp is being released to enable compatibility with lower spec devices.

The Rift was developed thanks to a crowdfunding campaign and is popular amongst early adopters, it is lower priced in comparison to the HTC Vive too.

Another VR headset popular with gamers is the Sony PlayStation VR headset which is compatible with the PlayStation 4 and new PlayStation 4 Pro. One interesting feature with this tech is the VR Social Screen, which shows anyone else what you are seeing through the television screen so friends and family can be a part of the experience.

This system supports the PlayStation Move motion controllers and you will also need the PlayStation camera to run it. With over 100 games confirmed for this VR headset already, it is the perfect option for serious gamers who like a lot of variety in what they play.

 

So, what does the future hold for virtual reality technology?

There is sure to be a lot of developments with this technology over the next couple of years due to the amount of money that big name brands are investing in it, with around 15 billion euro already expected to be invested by 2022.

The 5G network roll out is also expected to have some influence on VR’s development. 5G will benefit the industry in a huge way by allowing more devices and even bigger user communities to be connected, images will also be much closer to real time with enhanced connection speeds and capabilities.

Also as the technology improves it is likely that even more industries will choose to embrace it.

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