2018: VR projects/devices/issues

Virtual reality (VR) is an interactive computer-generated experience taking place within a simulated environment, that incorporates mainly auditory and visual, but also other types of sensory feedback like haptic.

VR should not be confused with Simulated reality which is the hypothesis that reality could be simulated — for example by quantum computer simulation — to a degree indistinguishable from “true” reality.

In 1962 Morton Heilig built a Sensorama — a mechanical device, which includes a stereoscopic color display, fans, odor emitters, stereo‐sound system, and a motional chair — to change audience experience in theatre.

Today, virtual reality is extremely popular not only in entertainments, but it gains more and more space in different industries:

Stéphane Surowka has defined 5 fields as Education, Communication, Analysis, Commerce and Leisure and was absolutely right. He presented a great article about it in 2017.

What’s new in 2018?

Today VR is used in:

1)Automotive industry — VR allows designers and engineers to examine the look and functionality of model. Replicating the outside environment virtually also allows for safety trials.

Major brands such as Ford, Volvo and Hyundai are using VR not only for the building process but also in sales. Entire vehicle lines are available to customers who can do everything from trying out different features to test driving. The need for dealership showrooms could be obsolete with the use of virtual reality technology.

2) Healthcare — VR helps students and doctors to learn more about our body and to simulate high-risk procedures. It also means that now robotic surgery can be performed with VR. There are many VR based therapies nowadays: rehabilitation, anxiety disorders treating, pain management.

3) Social science and psychology — Researchers have used the immersion of virtual reality to investigate how digital stimuli can alter human perception, emotion, and physiological state, and how it has transformed social interaction, in addition to studying how digital interaction can enact social change in the physical world.

There are some social networks as:

  • Facebook Spaces — app for Oculus Rift — it allows you to watch videos, examine 360-degree photos, draw in 3D and take selfies with up to 3 of your Facebook friends sharing your space.
  • vTime — you can invite friends to drink coffee on the Moon :)
  • SlotsMillion VR — the world’s first real-money virtual reality casino.
  • Rec Room — a free Steam app for the HTC Vive, is a “VR social club” that’s all about multi-player gaming. Here, you can partake in a multitude of sports-style games, from ping-pong to basketball to disc golf, but the game that has everyone so excited is VR paintball.
  • Sansar — a “platform” that allows the user to create their own unique virtual spaces, which can be explored by other users.
  • HighFidelity — Users can go virtual space hopping, attend events, shop the Marketplace, and check what others are up to in the Metaverse. The platform pretends to be used in brand promotion, education and community management.
  • AltSpaceVR — one of the first and biggest social VR networks, supported by NBC and acquired by Microsoft. It represents many virtual reality spaces, you can always choose one for you.

4) Architecture — Architects can experiment with all aspects of a building such as lighting, material, and layout, while their customers can take virtual tours of their new home or building and understand every detail of how it will look and feel.

5) Aerospace — First flight and military simulators appeared in 70s. But VR also helps to build and maintain technics.

Thomas A. Furness III was one of the first to develop the use of VR for military training when, in 1982, he presented the United States Air Force with a working model of his virtual flight simulator the Visually Coupled Airborne Systems Simulator (VCASS)

6) Finance — US bank Wells Fargo became one of the first banks to begin testing VR when it opened a digital lab to test Facebook’s Oculus Rift headset in 2014. Its aim was to allow customers to ‘virtually’ enter branches.

Various VR banking apps have also been launched to offer new digital banking experiences over the years. In June 2017, BNP Paribas launched its VR app, which was deployed to enable retail banking users to gain access to their account activity and transactions in a VR environment.

VR is also used in funding and investment.

7) E-commerce And Retail

Visit the virtual shop and try something you like! You might heard about and even tested IKEA apps for interior design: using AR you can place furniture in a home and see what it would look like before a purchase.

8) Marketing — one of the first industries to explore VR through campaigns and advertising.

  • In 2014 Volvo revealed a ‘VolvoReality’ test drive of its XC90 SUV, which the company delivered in the form of an app using Google’s Cardboard VR headset. Recent projects include Samsung with the release of its VR headsets at certain stores to market its products.
  • Chinese eCommerce powerhouse Alibaba committed to incorporating VR technology into its customers’ shopping experience. This year, the eCommerce company added a new shopping option for its customers — a virtual store.

HubSpot published 9 VR marketing examples — they are worth seeing.

9) Cinema and Entertainment

Waterslides — In March 2018, VRSlide system was launched at the Galaxy Erding in Germany. The headset for this VR system is waterproof with the capacity of submerging into the water for about a few meters. They are powered by Samsung Galaxy S8 and uses custom-built software system

Sundance 2018 opened to the world many interesting films based on VR, among them:

  • multi-chapter thriller about a disillusioned police dispatcher named Ted who receives a series of calls from people threatened by the same killer — Dispatch
  • Wes Anderson’s stop-motion film Isle of Dogs has its own VR version.
  • Wolves in the Walls (based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book of the same name) is about a girl named Lucy who’s convinced there are wolves living in the walls of her house. Hoping to stop them, she teams up with the player, who appears as an imaginary friend.

According to XRDC’s 2018 AR/VR Innovation Report, video games and entertainment still came out on top of projects developers are focused on with 70% while training and education achieved a healthy 36% of the vote.


Need to say, that VR opened to the society not only one more possibility to escape this reality but also an opportunity to expanse business: tech giants released VR devices, services, advertising agencies have more options to promote clients, and, consequently, to earn money.

VR devices are usually connected to your phone or PC and can be used in games, films, documentary, educational programs, music concerts.

Which VR devices are worth buying:

  1. Samsung Gear VR — works only with Samsung phones.

Gear VR has a controller and gains many positive reviews from users.

They strongly appreciate well-made controller, highly detailed & crisp visuals, innovative voice command, easy-to-use interface, great head tracking and, finally, the price ($119.90 on Amazon).

App catalog is here. We need to mention that Gear VR works ONLY with Oculus’ mobile Gear VR software library.

2. Oculus Rift — more expensive competitor (399$ on Amazon).

TechSpot and Amazon reviews state many pros:

  • Strong support for both sitting and standing experiences
  • Better (sturdier) design than predecessors
  • Built-in 3-D audio makes the VR experiences that much more riveting
  • Great immersive senses
  • Functional platform with a wide selection of available games
  • Excellent quality of the headset
  • Intuitive interface
  • Lightweight headset
  • Large tracking volume

But, users also mention that Oculus requires a powerful gaming PC, you can’t install games from the headset, there is slight sound leakage from headphones, Xbox controller is a stopgap solution at best and there is no pass-through camera, and, as we said in the beginning — it’s very expensive.

Best Bang for the Buck — Delivering a superb performance at a more affordable price, the Oculus Rift easily won our Best Buy award (Amazon).

Interesting fact: Facebook bought Oculus Rift in the summer of 2014.

3. HTC VIVE — an exceptionally immersive and interactive VR headset, earning the top score on Amazon.

Price: $499 — $1,702.27$

  • high-quality, visually immersive and interactive VR experience and graphics
  • accurate movement tracking. Head tracking is superior to Oculus Rift
  • large library of VR content
  • touch controllers are easy to use and highly adaptable

Users still don’t like that many games still feel unfinished, there is no built-in audio, its weight, a large amount of floor space needed and Vive’s price.

According to XRDC’s 2018 AR/VR Innovation Report 45% of developers selected HTC Vive as their platform of choice.

4. Official Google Cardboard — only 15$ and 4,5 rate on Amazon!

  • Cardboard supports most Android or iOS phones with screen sizes from 4 to 6 inches.
  • Cardboard assembles in three simple steps.

One of the reviews says:

This is a good headset for anyone who wants to check out VR without paying close to $1000 for the whole headset system. It’s not anything close to the Oculas or the HTC Vive platforms but there is quite a selection of apps you can get.
Pros:
- inexpensive
- easy to set up
- easy way to test out VR
- “switch” for controlling some apps compatible with iPhone
-fits over glasses
- light
Cons:
- obviously not perfectly immersive
- nose piece can be a bit uncomfortable
- have to hold it up to your face
All in all, a good purchase for what it is.

5. Sony PlayStation VR (PS4)

Price: 512$

Pros:

  • The HDMI port can connect the VR with PS4, Xbox1 and PC.
  • WiFi and Bluetooth allow you to download many apps such as NIBIRU system, 2D/3D Apps, Google play, Youtube, Third party Apps and so on,
  • T-shaped Headstrap
  • 2D/3D/ Panorama models
  • Resolution is 2560x1440P
  • Gyroscope, high sensitivity
  • Energy saving mode
  • TF Card
  • Light weight

Cons:

  • Some users faced to problems and lags while connecting HDMI
  • not compatible with PC
  • PS4 console desperately needs another USB port to charge all the controllers

2018 issues:

However, VR still need to solve some problems. 2016 was the year the hype about virtual reality exploded onto the consumer market but is it the same in 2018?

“Everyone is still waiting to see what it is we were supposed to do with [the headsets],” said Edward Castronova
  1. In 2018 VR is less for fun but more for business and industries. One of the top firm, VisionThree, is developing training programs for Rolls-Royce, Dow AgroSciences and other big firms.

Such technology is especially important as millennials move into the workforce.

Young employees don’t want to be handed thick manuals they need to read to understand their job; they don’t want to sit in classrooms. And — in the long run — VR training is cheaper.

2. VR headset should be more comfortable.

Some users feel dizzy and still struggle if they are moving in a virtual world but standing still in real life.

Specialists are trying to solve this problem using digital nose. Research has shown the digital nose reduces VR motion sickness about 13%.

3. The headsets remain bulky, many are tethered, the good ones are expensive, and most people don’t see a practical need for the technology.

4. Need more experiments and tests.

5. Ethical problems:

  • user protection and privacy
In late December of 2017, a Moscow resident suffered fatal wounds after playing in virtual reality (VR). According to reports, the man tripped and crashed into a glass table, suffering fatal wounds and dying there due to loss of blood. As far as we are aware of, this is the first ever VR-related death recorded.
  • users’ isolation and social effects,
  • violent content, there is absolutely no doubt that IR pornography has a significance level of investment and activity.
  • too realistic virtual world could alter psychic state the way people won’t see the difference between.

6. Tech issues such as latency, sound, compatibility

7. Cost

We need to understand that VR for now is young and developing and we don’t exactly know how it could work as our conscience is still addicted to one reality.


If you need to promote your product or gain more awareness, or you want to create something special, you can contact one of the companies specialised in VR, working with Mercedez, creating apps for IPhone, stores, online platforms and so on. They are available all over the world! Here is TOP-25 by ThinkMobiles.