Virtual Reality: History, Projections and Developments (Part 2)
Leaders in the Virtual Reality Industry in 2016
Oculus / Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg has called virtual reality and the 360 video experiences, “The best experience he has ever seen”. The virtual experience is teleporting one to another place just by putting on a headset. He called it the next great technology platform that we will all use to connect in the future. Mark states that VR is a richer and more immersive medium to experience the world through.
As Mark pointed out during the 2015 Developer Conference, at first when the majority of average people went online, all we really experienced was text communications. Today, this has changed and we are able to consume video and other media in addition to the text. Mark calls Oculus and Virtual Reality the next platform where anyone can create and experience just about ANYTHING. See what else Mark has to say about virtual reality in the video below.
Recently Mark joined Samsung’s DJ Koh on stage at Samsung’s Unpacked event, which took place at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) tech show in Barcelona, Spain. During this event he elaborated on the fact that Facebook, Oculus and Samsung Mobile VR Headsets will work together in the future to bring a whole new world to people through Facebook and virtual reality.
Magic Leap / Google
What would you call synthetic digital images that merge with real images? It is being called MR by the creator of Magic Leap. MR stands for mixed reality. This is a mixture of virtual reality and our real world, merged into one. Mixed reality, is a way of tricking the brain to believe the images in goggles are as real as the images around it. Mixed reality has the opportunity to change the way we see our world when it mixed between real and virtual. Mixed reality also lacks the total immersive experience that virtual reality has, but due to the ability to see the real world around you, can allow you to experience a virtual world without doing something like; tripping over the table in the middle of the room. The company, Magic Leap has kept many details of their technology under wraps but the video below will give you a sneak peek into this company and the technology that is emerging from their headquarters in Florida.
Fortune Magazine reported in December of 2015 that Google was backing Magic Leap.Not to be outdone or take a chance on a small start up getting in their way, Google found one to partner with. After Facebook picked up Oculus, Google had to join in on the next revolution of virtual reality and invested in Magic Leap. They led the first round of investments with $500 million dollars. Virtual reality and the fun that can be had, hasn’t been without its complaints. Mixed reality may be the solution for some who struggle with the side effects of virtual reality. The complaint from some people about their virtual reality experience is the side effects they experience. Some develop issues such as nausea and simulator sickness.It is said that mixed reality will alleviate some of these issues. The technology for Magic Leap is different and it uses the digital light field, rather than stereoscopic 3D to create the mixed reality world.
Hololens / Microsoft
Not to be left out in the virtual scramble, Microsoft has developed the Hololens. The Hololens is a mixed reality experience delivered through goggles that use a band to keep them secure around the head. Users are able to use air tapping and hand gestures to control and work the device. The Hololens runs on Windows 10 and is a complete computer that you can wear and interact with, without using any additional tools to control things. It is a mixture of real and virtual reality. Check out this video about Microsoft and their Hololens. It is unclear to many, the reasoning for the development of VR equipment by Microsoft; as Microsoft is not seen as a hardware company by most but a software company. One can only imagine, this is their next big venture. But it seems to not be without serious issues. In February of 2016, Microsoft announced that the Hololens project is delayed indefinitely. The official reasoning for this goes back to the Kinect disaster of 2010. Kinect was supposed to change video gaming by eliminating a need for controllers. Unfortunately, this is not what happened. The Kinect was launched with many issues and problems which affected game play and upset gamers everywhere.
Reasons given by Microsoft for why the Hololens will be delayed include, lack of software support and glitches in the system. Ultimately, it is not ready for consumers and they don’t want another Kinect disaster like they had in 2010. Microsoft will be releasing their Hololens to app developers in the coming months, but will not be releasing the product to the general public for consumers until a much later time. In fact, most recently it was stated by Alex Kipman of Microsoft, that Microsoft releasing this to general consumers is not even on the horizon.
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung GearVR is being called the best mobile virtual reality experience available to consumers. The only downside to this heralded product is that it is only available for Samsung phones. Unlike other VR options available right now, the Samsung Gear is mobile. It doesn’t have to be attached to a PC and there are no cords to get in the way. It works with Samsung phones. Samsung is actually giving away the Samsung Gear to pre orderers of their latests edition of phones on their website to encourage more consumers to be able to have the VR experience in their life.
Sony PlayStation VR
Sony PlayStation VR and its mobile VR are expected to be some of the industry leaders and market drivers for bringing virtual reality to consumers. Presently, virtual reality is an entertainment market that is driven by games, videos, immersive movies and theme park simulations.
Elbit Systems and other Israel based Companies
A little known force in the virtual reality field known as Elbit Systems has actually been developing defense training and military training simulators for years. Elbit systems develops many different types of technology such as helmet technology, simulators for military training, intelligence and cyber security and much more. Many would venture to say that Israel is quickly becoming the virtual reality capital due to companies such as Elbit Systems and their advances in technology.
Israel is quickly becoming the center of virtual reality and its future in medicine and technology. The medical technology research such as is performed at the The Rehabilitation Hospital at the Sheba Medical Center is furthering medicine and science around the world.
Immersive Science, Education and the Environment
Stanford University has started making virtual reality research and development something that can expound upon educational experiences and help students to learn in a more immersive manner. At the Virtual Human Interaction Lab, students and professors are also studying how the brain responds to virtual reality in different people. In the video linked below, you can learn more about how Stanford is using a virtual reality field trip to teach students about marine life and how the earth and coral reef are affected by carbon emissions and other environmental changes.
The age for virtual reality and even mixed reality to change the world we live in, is upon us. We are embarking upon an amazing journey that will change the world we live in. Virtual reality and mixed reality will change the world for our children and grandchildren as well. In a world filled with technology one can only embrace it and grow with it, as it is not going away anytime soon.