Maybe you’ve heard about virtual reality lately and you’re wondering what the big deal is. Didn’t they have that back in the 90s? Actually, virtual reality (aka VR) dates back to 1968 with the Sword of Damocles developed by Ivan Sutherland.
This machine took up a majority of a room and all its power went into projecting a cube wireframe in the viewer’s vision. VR has come a long way since its infancy—the latest hardware and computing power make it an awesome experience that fits neatly on your head, requiring no more space than your average desktop (or even laptop) computer does.
For anyone that hasn’t had a chance to try VR yet, it’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before entertainment-wise, making you feel as if you’ve been transported to other worlds.
The new hardware in the flagship models of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive offer high-quality displays and precise tracking, which places the viewer in fantastic vistas that are fully immersive and nothing short of jaw-dropping.
Although the VR platform is still an unexplored territory in many respects and its core technology is being improved at a fast pace, it has already found a niche in a number of different industries. Not the least of which is here, where our talent is always on the lookout for ways to deliver creative in more engaging environments.
Its role in the entertainment industry is pretty spectacular, with its implementation in games, movies, and simulation reaching a whole new level and an impressive amount of immersion already out there.
Playing games in VR is like something I could have barely imagined only a few years ago. For me, I think of it as gaming 2.0.
Where things get fascinating is in the medical and industrial sectors. VR is allowing new medical procedures such as remote surgical procedures—where a specialist in a completely different location uses VR to control a robotic surgeon in an operating room on the other side of the world. Not to mention its potential as a realistic experience in training doctors, surgeons, and those in other highly skilled professions.
In the industrial sector for example, it’s allowing technicians to diagnose problems from the inside such as leaks or inefficiencies, and to develop building plans that allow hyper-realistic virtual walkthroughs and experiences before the project even breaks ground.
VR is going to be a major player in all of our futures, whether we are participants or bystanders. In the hands of talented creatives, its potential is nothing short of remarkable.
With the progression of cutting-edge tech in our smartphones—now powerful enough to allow VR experiences on-the-go—it seems as though the only obstacle at the moment that’s holding back the dam is cost of entry. Once that begins to level the playing field—in combination with the wireless internet super highway of tomorrow (5G or whatever)—VR, and its sister, augmented reality, will be as much a part of our lives as social media is today. In fact, your social media experience will also exist in the new paradigm VR/AR world. We can’t wait.