HTC VIVE (We confirm that this is our own work.)Virtual realityVirtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments, sometimes in combination with physical environments or props, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment.The technological foundations began in the 1960s with Morton Heilig’s “Sensorama” machine and later Ivan Sutherland inventing the first effort at a head-mounted display. It was the 1980s and 1990s where VR became popularized and ultimately catastrophically over-hyped.”Tron”, “Star Trek” and “The Lawnmower Man” captured the public imagination around what might be possible and the first consumer headsets targeting gamers soon followed with the SegaVR and Nintendo’s “Virtual Boy” in the mid-90s.Amidst enormous expectations, these products unanimously failed as they were unable to deliver a truly immersive experience and in many cases left people simply feeling nauseous.
Where is the value for the society in all this?Imagine taking scans of a tiny baby’s ill heart, upload them to the computer and take a stroll inside of it, in order to save the baby’s life by knowing beforehand exactly how you want to plan the critically important lifesaving operation and be successful at it. Surgeons all around the world can experience and learn about the environment or organ they are about to perform operations on which tremendously increases their chance of being successful at it.There are opportunities and chances, like the previous example, in a vast amount of different application areas that can be highly valuable for society because it has the potential of rising the life expectancy and making life easier and saver. Of course, the limitation in different applications is yet to be found because it can entail many new and unknown prospects we currently have no clue about.
How about the economy then? What will it be good for?”Fascinating, but what’s the use of all this?” – was the reaction of the audience that was shown how induction worked, back when it was invented by Faraday. They had not known what this technology would grow into. Nowadays you can barely think of a day in which you don’t get to use inventions that were told to be useless at the time they were invented and no one could think of a proper use-case for, but did grow into the quite opposite. Virtual Reality has the possibility to become just like that. The only difference is, it’s already here. Not yet perfectly developed to being able to conquer the economic world, but it’s getting there with huge steps. VR Is heavily pushed by many communities, for example gamers who want more realistic and better games, surgeons, architects who can’t wait to take the first virtual step into a building which has yet to be built, as well as, of course, the military that can simulate operations or invasions in foreign surroundings and buildings or train their pilots.
Although the technology is still quite expensive, there will always be clients with enough disposable income who don’t have to worry about money and just want their project to succeed or improve that will buy and push the VR market.But does it have a future?No one knows for sure what the future holds for VR. Some realistic thoughts are, that the major players like Samsung, HTC, Facebook, PlayStation will develop even more capable VR systems that can do better and stronger than the current ones, are also less expensive and more affordable than the current generation. As the technology reaches mainstream, it is going to be pushed to the limit like current PCs to get the most out of them and their capabilities and shape our future economy in good and also bad ways as everyone will have the possibility to possess their own little virtual world.