How Virtual Reality is changing the way we experience technology

Virtual Reality, the next level technology that allows you to fully immerse yourself in the digital world is on the rise, with strong competition and huge advancements happening every week. But how will Virtual Reality change the way you experience technology from what you’re used to now?

We are at an interesting crossroads when it comes to interaction with technology. Until now, we have been limited to interacting with technology through flat, two-dimensional displays that occasionally had some form of 3D simulation when it came to games and the odd movie. While amazing for what they are (and what they have helped us achieve), a limitation of modern displays is their surrounding environment and the fact the image is unable to extend beyond the frame of the display itself. They do not allow one to be truly immersed in the experience.

Introduce Virtual Reality (VR). A new method of interacting with technology in a way that does not allow the surrounding environment to interfere with the experience. Virtual Reality technology is paving the way for new experiences and trickery of the mind, comparable to the way that placebo drugs can trick the body. Take ‘Kitchen’ for example, a 5 minute VR horror experience capable of invoking phantom pain (http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-coming-horror-of-virtual-reality) in your leg during one scene of the experience.

Another great example of the capabilities of tricking the mind is the very system I work on at Zero Latency. Where the combination of physically walking freely and being engulfed in a virtual world leads to real sensations. Such as the vertigo you will experience when being forced to move from one roof to another.

With such advancements in the way we perceive technology through VR devices, it’s no wonder that there is an all out war between the best Tech companies in the world, with HTC & Valve paring to build the HTC Vive, Facebook the Oculus Rift and Samsung the Gear VR. The technology is powerful, the data invaluable and most importantly the Revenue generation potential is just mind-blowing!

Picture a day when you will no longer simply “watch” a movie, instead you will interact with the characters and experience the full fear, joy, sadness and happiness they feel. You will want to chat to them, to make them laugh, to console them, to save them! All the while you will be feeling real sensations you never thought possible through simply “watching” a movie or playing a game.

But VR will allow you to do something more than just experience a movie or game differently. It will allow us to truly teleport into worlds that never could have existed otherwise, and visit places we never dreamed of visiting. You could have breakfast with your best friend in the morning and go take a walk together through Mars that afternoon.

And this ability to transport ones mind will have positive benefits too. Imagine a paraplegic person who wanted to experience scuba diving for the first time. Well soon they will be able to simply by putting on a VR headset and navigating this new world from the comfort of their home.

Make no mistake, VR is not going to replace your mobile phone though, at least not while the rest of your senses are blocked out as a result. And for the most part, it won’t replace your computer monitor either for day to day tasks. Not unless you truly need to be absorbed into the world, but then again, perhaps some people need to be, such as currency traders. That said, I do believe Mobile Phones will eventually cross over with the realm of MR or Mixed Reality. Where one takes VR, but rather than transporting to another world, allows it to interact with the world around them. But that’s a topic for another post.

Are you already experiencing this paradigm shift, or do you have ideas of how this may happen. Feel free to drop me a line as I always love to hear your views.

Also, as my first blog post on Medium, please share what you loved and what you hated so that I may write better posts for the future.

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