What is Virtual Reality? Where is it Going in 2019 and Beyond?

08/09/2019     Author: Billy Gray

Virtual reality (VR) is taking the world by storm and the potential changes that this will bring to society are huge. Here’s where VR is going in 2019 and beyond.

 

Virtual reality (VR) is coming. The tech is quickly developing into something that we’ve only previously seen in sci-fi movies. Every gamer and escapist has fantasized about the day that you can put on headset to step inside the game, or put on a suit that mimics sensory stimuli to make you feel what your character feels.

That Ready Player One style gaming system isn’t actually far off. See, advances in VR tech are being made rapidly and consumers can already buy advanced headsets that allow you to play games, tinker with apps, and be totally immersed in videos.

While VR is still essentially lying in an incubator, 2019 looks to be the year that it takes its first steps and the rapid development of the technology into a full-blown entertainment revolution seems to be right around the corner.

But what exactly is VR and where is it going in 2019 and beyond? Let’s have a look.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality – abbreviated as VR – is a 3D visual experience that takes place in a simulation. You can access the simulated environment by wearing a VR headset of VR glasses. For the most part, VR is a visual and auditory experience, although there is work being done on developing suits that compress in order to allow users to feel something similar to what their character in the simulation feels. An example of this is the suit constricting in a small area to simulate a gunshot wound (obviously with far less pain).

VR is currently being used for some gaming systems, as well as apps, although it’s still in its infancy. Currently, most games allow you to solve puzzles by looking at certain objects and some games allow you to make use of guns to get a more hands on experience. There are also racing games and a host of other fun concepts including Monument Valley: Land’s End, which puts you in a maze of optical illusions and might just be the most relaxing game to play ever made!

As VR develops, we’ll start seeing extremely realistic games, where players can literally be in the center of the action. Imagine a massive battle with thousands of people going on all around you while you swing a plastic sword around in your living room and hopefully don’t knock over the TV… who needs a TV when you have VR, anyway?

VR isn’t to be confused with AR (augmented reality). AR is when you see digital projections on top of reality – an example being how you see arrows and rings around football players on TV. This technology is also being developed with releases like Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens 2, and North Focals leading the charge.

Virtual Reality in 2019 and Beyond

The future of entertainment will be in digitally simulated worlds. Imagine running around your office with a baseball bat while your undead zombie colleagues run at you with blood running down their shirts, ready to rip you pieces. You could be sat on your lunch break at school or work, put on a VR headset and boom, you’re skydiving. Or maybe you’re watching a movie play out while you’re in the middle of it. Maybe you’re sat at home on your bed enjoying some immersive adult entertainment…

Yes, it’s all going to become a reality, and very soon. This year has already got off to a good start. Facebook recently announced the release of the Oculus Rift S, a PC connected VR headset that can be used for gaming and other purposes.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently stated his belief that VR will be “the next major computing platform after mobile in about 10 years.”

This is big news. Facebook intends to move into the industry and become a dominant player in what they see as the next major technological leap that will fundamentally change the way that we relate to computing devices, and one another…

MOVING AWAY FROM PC POWER

Many VR headsets currently on the market are powered by your PC. This is ideal for gamers, although it isn’t practical for wide-scale commercial use. Companies are now trying to move away from PC powered headsets and into the market of stand-alone glasses and headsets that can be used anywhere.

This has already been achieved in the form of headsets where you insert your phone and used lenses to turn its screen into an immersive – and very convincing – VR environment. Of course, the tech is going to be developed to be much more efficient than this.

INCROPORTATION OF AI

AI is everything when it comes to VR. Think how social media apps put bunny ears over people’s heads when they’re taking a selfie… now imagine that you could put elf skins over everyone around you, put different architecture skins over buildings, and turn your surroundings into a completely different environment.

VR and AR tech is going to have to rely heavily on the computer being able to figure out what it is you’re looking at and respond to it accordingly. This is something that developers are putting a lot of work into in 2019 and beyond.

SOCIAL VR

Imagine taking a conference call in a room with all your colleagues… while you’re actually at home taking a poo. VR will allow you to be in social situations with your friends and work pals anywhere in the world, instantly.

Tech firms are already realizing the potential of VR in the social media landscape and this is a trend that we’ll see increasingly experimented with in 2019 and beyond.

TRAINING

VR training simulations are also going to become increasingly common. This is an amazing feature that will allow search and rescue teams to simulate disaster environments, doctors to simulate delicate surgeries, soldiers to simulate combat scenarios, and engineers to build rocket engines in cafes.

VR will also find its way into the everyday classroom and has the potential to make learning a much more interactive and stimulating experience, thus increasing student’s attention and opening them up to a world of possibilities.

The show goes on

We really can’t mention every application of VR and AR technology currently being worked on. Make no mistake, this is going to be incorporated into many areas of our everyday lives. 2019 is a very exciting year for VR, so it’s worth following the latest tech news to keep ahead of the rest. Enjoy!

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