The World of
Virtual Reality

Unraveling a new digital world

Image: The Void

There have been some exciting things going on for a while in the field of innovation and technology. From 3D-printing to Robots and discoveries in Space.

But the one innovation that is about to change all of our lives, is that thing that you tried out at an event and probably went on a rollercoaster ride with.

Virtual Reality.

You now probably have an image in your head of a future where everybody is wearing those humungous and clumsy looking masks while thinking; “It’s just this new gadget thing for gamers right?”

Nope. Virtual Reality has been developing as a medium slowly but surely since the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Not many people believed the development of Virtual Reality though, the harsh and flat digital experience compared to the power of real life just didn’t seem appealing. In the mid-’90's the industry almost faded away.

But, since a few years ago, Oculus Rift saw the light of day. A still pretty clumsy looking mask with basic graphics, but with an actual lifelike experience. Facebook noticed this as well and (to the rage of many early Oculus supporters) bought the company for $2 billion dollars.

“What VR opens up is an entirely new way to share those experiences by letting you share a sense of place and presence, and really move beyond what we’re used to with what we can share from a cellphone or photo.”
Cory Ondrejka (Co-Creator Second Life)

What happened since then?

Many other companies have followed with product launches after. Companies such Sony, Samsung and HTC made competition fierce.

How does it work?

Gaming

This may seem the most obvious category to fit with Virtual Reality, but the fact that our current, mainstream systems are not ready for the heavyweight that VR puts on computers, must not be overlooked. So, not only will you have to buy the headset, but a high-end PC powerful enough to handle the visuals as well.

When you finally took the decision to go all the way, these are the games that have been developed so far:

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
One player wears a headset and can manipulate a Hollywood-style bomb — the kind with a timer and a bunch of wires. Another has no headset and can’t see the bomb, but can read a complicated instruction manual printed from the game’s website. To forestall certain death, the two will have to talk their way through each procedurally generated explosive device.

Image: The Verge

Music in the Air
Music in the air is a unique experience for Oculus Rift where you can fly like a bird and explore fantastic environments, while enjoying great works of classical music. You will find two instruments in each of the five levels and when you activate the instrument, a song that will change the environment according to the music. High mountains, volcanoes, islands, caves, villages, incredible scenery awaits you. Music in the air has a very intuitive control, which controls the direction of flight with slight nods and speed using the keyboard.

Birdy King Land
Backlight Studio, a Paris creative agency, releases its first creation in Oculus Rift. Specialized in digital and interactive imaging, the studio team wanted to develop the underestimated narrative dimension of the Oculus Rift, and push the boundaries of this new playful support. If you have a mask Oculus, the “Birdy King Land” experience will take you on a wild and colorful trip in search of a mysterious bird!

Adult Content

An industry you might have a little laugh about when thinking of Virtual Reality, is the Porn Industry. Looking at statistics of branches that see growth in the commercial use of VR, this will be one of the fastest growing sections of all. I will not provide any examples, sorry to disappoint. Movies are scheduled to marketed by 2025.

Travel

The Guardian tells us this:

“If your idea of a holiday is spending 10 minutes in an octagonal box with a pair of blacked-out glasses on, a Marriott hotel could be your ideal destination.

Last month the global chain launched a new toy to tempt guests: an immersive 4-D virtual reality travel experience in which participants don a pair of Oculus Rift spectacles before being transported to other destinations (and other Marriott hotels, naturally) such as Hawaii, London and San Francisco.

Of course, Virtual Reality will never replace actual travel, but it does show a lot of benefits to the travel industry, showing customers how their hotel options look from the inside, or to discover how absolutely breath-taking Venice really is.

Other

Sports
Did you ever make the connection between real sports and Virtual Reality overlays? By using VR during training, the 49ers can act faster on game tactics that otherwise would take weeks to learn.

Automotive
When it came to designing the all-new 2014 Impala, Chevrolet engineers used a new high-tech calculator to create more leg and head room as well as larger storage areas. The GM-exclusive tool kit included advanced computer modeling tools, digital human ergonomics models and a 3D Cave Automated Virtual Environment.

Did you get curious and want to try out VR for yourself?
Here’s how to
build one.


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Annet is a Hyper Island alumni, currently living in Amsterdam and working as a Brand Strategist.
Also gives workshops in various creative methods, productivity & team development.