Is Virtual Reality the future of everything?
Virtual Reality (VR), the very words can sometimes bring images of people experiencing a world that was made exclusively for them. The way VR works is that it uses our five basic senses to make us feel immersed in the game play. Our entire experience comes by way of a combination of our senses. This sounds amazing in writing, but why would we need VR in the first place? What purpose does VR serve in our lives? VR has the capabilities of making new and exciting discoveries in fields that can impact our lives: architecture, sports, medicine , the sciences, and even in entertainment. From virtual submarines to virtual spaceships, VR will not fail us. In order to prove that VR has potential, I will describe 3 experiments that were done with VR that took experimentation to a whole different level.
The Moveo Foundation (Ian Paul, 2014), which is an organization whose purpose is to dedicate themselves in creating more advanced technology, conducted a training project for medical students. The organization used a device known as the Rift, which gave the medical students a first person view on real life surgeries done by medical professionals. This reveals VR’s true potential because we have other ways of teaching students. What is a better way of learning than to actually experience real life surgeries in the comfort of a class? The students were allowed to use the rift and move their heads to view the equipment used by the surgeons and the body under surgery.
The NextVR company (Evangelista Benny, 2017) has proved that VR can be the future of sports broadcasting. In their experiment, they placed seven cameras, 30 crew members, a full scale TV production truck and three announcers inside the Oracle Arena while the Warriors played against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The audience was a relatively small, but paying, group of international basketball fans who used a headset to experience the game in VR. They used the headsets to move around 360 degrees in the arena, making it seem as if they were actually sitting in a chair with the people that were there in the arena. The vast majority of the people that watched this game still watched it through a regular TV broadcast, and did not know about the availability of the game in VR. This experiment is by far the most entertaining that was done in VR, especially if you are a sports fan. Just image the opportunity of watching the game as if you were actually there, but in reality you are watching the game in the comfort of your home.
In this final experiment (Ian Paul, 2014), NASA used the Rift, connected to a Kinect 2, to create a system for maneuvering robots in space. The Rift was used to give astronauts a first person view of the moon while using the kinect to maneuver the robot. The Rift was also used as a therapeutic tool for astronauts on long flights to certain destination such as the moon or Mars. This prepared the astronauts for the virtual experiences that they would normally experience in outer space. This is definitely the most interesting experiment that was conducted with VR. This experiment shows the true potential that VR can offer us. Without experiencing the dangers of space, we can actually explore space and discover new information about the universe.
Some people argue that VR is quite expensive to implement, and others argue that very advanced hardware is required for VR to be successful. This isn’t always the case because it depends on what your goal is. If the person just wants a virtual world that will help them understand the world by conducting experiments, then VR doesn’t need high end technology to do just that. Therefore, in this case, it would not be expensive to implement VR. However, if the person wants to use VR on a game with graphics that are similar to what a person sees on a Play Station 4(ps4) game, Advanced technology will be required to implement that specific game. Then, in this specific case, it would be expensive to create a VR game like a PS4 game. Other people can argue that VR is just not catching on. In other words, the VR industry is not getting a lot of support from the masses. This is quite true, VR has always had the problem of actually getting noticed by the public. Ever since the 19th century (Virtual Reality Society ,2016), people have tried to implement VR with something as primitive as a 360 degree mural (painting). At the time, the paintings were intended to make the viewer feel as if they were present that the historical event or scene in the painting. But this did not catch on with the people, the murals were easily forgotten by nearly everyone because it just did not have the interesting quality that people are looking for. Now jumping to the 20th century , when we obtained slightly more advanced technology, a man by the name Edward Link created a project known as the “Link Trainer(LT)”. The LT was a flight simulator designed for pilots wanting to get some hands on experience on learning how to fly an airplane. This was a huge step towards making VR more noticeable to the average person, the project definitely gave engineers and scientist an idea on the potential of VR and its applications. If we jump all the way to the 21st century, VR has become so modernized that it is advanced enough to be used to conduct the three experiments that were talked about in the beginning of this essay. The bottom line is, VR needs time to become more noticeable by the public. But with our current technology, we can implement VR applications that will surely get peoples’ attention in no time. (1,029)
Ian Paul (2014, Nov 25) 10 mind-blowing oculus rift experiments.
Evangelista Benny (2017, April 5) VR basketball could be the future of sports broadcasting
Virtual Reality Society (2016, June 29) History of VR