Over the last few years there has been a large movement to produce virtual reality technology that allows users to experience video and images in an immersive atmosphere right from their home. Many different companies have entered the arena at a wide range of prices and it seems another technological war is on. Each one of the devices on the market, though, gives you an experience like nothing you have had at home before.
There are a few major brands when it comes to finding virtual reality equipment. Samsung, Google, and Oculus Rift are some of the major competitors. Here are brief descriptions of the products.
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung offers the Gear VR which is a good headset for being easy to use. It uses Oculus Rift as the backbone for it but connects to a Samsung Galaxy to run and display. There is a slot at the front of the device that allows you to just slide your Samsung Galaxy in. The one major issue with Samsung Gear VR is that it is restrictive, you can only use a Samsung Galaxy phone and apps that support it.
Google may just be one of the most interesting introductions into the VR world. Google found itself challenged by other tech innovators who were releasing expensive VR devices. Half-jokingly, Google decided that it could produce a superior product that cost less and was made out of cardboard. And Google Cardboard was born. Google Cardboard is easy to use and there are a wide variety of different manufacturers out there so you are almost guaranteed to be able to find one that works with your phone. Many of them are universal.
The amazing part of Google Cardboard is that it is literally made of a piece of cardboard and gives an incredible immersive 3d experience. Similar to the Samsung Gear, you slide your phone in the front of the device and your phone does all the work, splitting the screen in two so your eyes can see in 3d. An entire YouTube channel already exists with 360 degree videos that you can use your head movement to navigate through.
Unlike the Samsung Gear, Google Cardboard will allow you to use any device as long as you install the Cardboard app.
Oculus Rift is the company that Kickstarted their way into the virtual reality world. While other companies had been maintaining a low profile on their VR devices Oculus launched a Kickstarter campaign to create their devices. The campaign was successfully funded but the Rift has been in development and pre-order for years. The expected launch is Q1 of this year.
Some of the other competitors or upcoming competitors include:
- Sony PlayStation VR
- HTC Vive Pre
- Microsoft HoloLens
- Fove VR
- Zeiss VR One
How These Devices Will Change The World
All of these virtual reality devices will no doubt change the gaming and movie industries. Slowly over the next few years you will start to be immersed in entertainment in ways that you never thought were possible. It will take a little bit of time for development and filming to completely switch over VR compatible technology but when it does you will see games and movies as if you were actually there, without outside distractions.
It is going to do more than that though. Here are a few more ways it will change the world:
Real Estate, Design, and Development
Virtual reality equipment will allow you to see what you are looking at in immersive three definition. That means that you can share real life real estate with people across the world and they can feel like they are actually there, touring the location with you. You can also share your digitally created plans like they are real. Imagine being able to walk around that new floorplan for your home or office before you make any purchases.
Scientists at the Imperial College London have been working on a way that you can use VR equipment to feel like you are someone else. Using the goggles you are able to see what someone else sees. Electrical diodes deliver the electrical impulses across your body to allow you to even feel what the other person is feeling. While the system isn't perfect yet, it is amazing technology that could make us be able to literally "walk in someone else's shoes."
VR is already being used to treat people around the world for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental problems. Virtual reality equipment allows people to confront the issues that are holding them back or causing the stress. It even allows autistic people to learn about social cues and norms. There are also people who are developing ways to use VR technology to practice surgery and other medical procedures.
These purposes for virtual reality are just starting to scratch the surface in what is possible. As it continues to develop and bugs are worked out the whole world will start to notice the changes from VR technology. Taking us to new worlds, both imagination based and reality based.