Virtual and Augmented Reality and You
Virtual and augmented reality have arrived. The next challenge is discovering their applications in everyday life. While commonly associated with entertainment, particularly video games, they have the potential to unlock new levels of immersion.
However, their possible uses extend to include marketing, conferences, in-store customer interactions, vacationing, test-driving, education, and more.
Creativity is the only limit.
A definition is appropriate. Virtual and augmented reality, VR and AR respectively, are altered versions of the known world. Both accessed through a headset, the former is an entirely computer-generated, artificial world, while the latter is the combination of the physical world with virtual data.
Huge leaps in the last couple of years have rendered the headsets more efficient and popular, and, because of this, the costs associated with investing in and using them have dropped significantly. This opens up vast prospects for the integration of such devices into commercial and even domestic uses.
In Your Own Hands
Imagine this: You walk into a kitchen or furniture store. In such stores, they have example displays showcasing their products and how they can be put together. Instead of putting up a kitchen or bedroom display of their choice, however, they give you a headset pre-loaded with an AR app that allows you to pick and mix from their range of products and arrange them in the display unit as you please.
This could also be applied in your own home: you want to refurbish, but you don’t yet know what you want it to look like, so you download product catalogues from your favourite furniture or kitchenware stores and an app to your headset, and you can now rearrange your own kitchen in augmented reality.
Such features may sound futuristic, but it’s only a matter of time before manufacturers start implementing these things.
A Fusion of Technology and Ease
The technology has progressed sufficiently far to allow for such uses, and indeed, businesses and individuals alike have already started to realise this. I went to the Ideal Home Show in London in December. Clusters of stalls, products, shows, people handing out pamphlets, and free tasters of food cooked on new inventions monopolised the floor space, sans paths too narrow for the throng of people.
One stall, however, caught my attention — the one that boasted three virtual reality setups. My interest piqued, I braved through the crowd and went to try it. I had no idea what was actually being promoted until I donned the headset, and the virtual world filled my vision. Via an app on your phone, you can use this product, called Hive, to control the lights, water, temperature, and electrical appliances in your home.
Virtual product demonstrations are just the beginning — as the implementation of virtual and augmented reality becomes more accessible and recognised, it will reach a state of normalisation.
Soon enough, you’ll be remodelling you kitchen and test-driving your new car in virtual and augmented reality — an exciting step for consumers and manufacturers alike.