Virtual Reality: History, Projections and Developments
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality is the term that has been coined to describe the three dimensional world that one can immerse themselves into, to experience new and different things. Virtual reality worlds can be entered and controlled using game controllers, helmets, screens, goggles, suits, gloves and even your own hands. The possibilities for fun with all ages, virtual technology and the adventures that one can have in the virtual worlds, are endless.
The History Of Virtual Reality
Starting in the early 1800’s with stereoscopic images, people have been fascinated with making images more two and three dimensional to enrich the experience of the image. In stereoscopic images, the viewer was viewing two side by side images through a stereoscope. This experience gave the user a sense of depth and immersion into the image. After the stereoscope invention, immersion into images and experiences expanded into the ViewMaster which was patented in 1939 for the use of “virtual tourism”.
Virtual technology has continued to develop through the ages. In 1929, Edward Link invented the first flight simulator. This was the first flight training simulator to be controlled completely through mechanical parts and electricity. In the 1930’s Stanley Weinbaum wrote a science fiction story that talked about a different world behind a pair of glasses. How little did science fiction aficionados realize that this was a precursor of the reality of our world today. In 1960 the first virtual reality headset was developed. Between 1991 and 1999 movies and popular culture started coining the terms and concepts of virtual reality regularly. During this same period of time, companies such as Sega and Nintendo started developing their virtual video games and headsets. Sega’s was never released and Nintendo’s release was a virtual flop. Since then, technology has grown with leaps and bounds. With the Facebook/ Oculus acquisition recently, the virtual world has been opened wide for development and consumer access like never before. The technical generation that we live in seems ready to step into their virtual world and video games full force.
The history of virtual reality goes back many years. Despite the advances in the technology, the use of a computer or headset to stimulate one’s mind and simulate the experience of being inside of another world is still a new concept to many consumers. Because of this fact, the development possibilities are as endless using this technology. Virtual technology has been used in medical treatments and athletic training for several years now, however virtual reality has not been widely available to most consumers for entertainment purposes. Virtual Reality and the technology that goes along with it, made appearance in many news headlines and movie story lines in the 1990’s and early 2000’s; but the ability to interact with the virtual worlds has been largely unreachable by the average consumer. This will change later in 2016 thanks to Oculus, Playstation and Google cardboard, just to name a few.
In the video below, you can see Qantas and Samsung Gear VR’s virtual reality presentation which can take you on a virtual tour of the Sydney Harbor using 360 photography and virtual reality.
Projections for Virtual and Augmented Reality
The digi-capital blog forecasts that augmented and virtual reality revenue may hit 120 billion by 2020. Of that 120 billion projected, AR consumer generated revenue could be 90 billion of the figure. VR revenue is said to be projected to reach 30 billion by 2020. AR is projected to surpass VR in sales between 2018 and 2019, the reason for this is that most AR technology that is presently in development will not launch for consumer use until late 2017. Most virtual reality that is presently being developed, will start launching at the end of 2016 for the general consumer and continue into 2017. This will give virtual reality the jump on augmented reality by a year or so.
Gamers everywhere are getting excited already about the possible worlds they can virtually join into and play in with the upcoming Playstation release that is slated for late in 2016. Playstation’s VR Worlds bundle is already available for pre order by the general consumer, it is set to be released in October of 2016. Despite VR, its long history, being written and talked about for many years and the hand full of adopters in the 1990’s, virtual reality is still in its infancy, in that it hasn’t come to consumers in the past; due to the technology to deliver it being so cumbersome, The processing power needed and other factors also play a part in its delay, but this all will soon be changing thanks to technological developments in recent years such as Oculus and Samsung Gear VR. .
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