The Future of VR Will it really hold up?

With a quarter of 2016 already passed away we have Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive available in the market with cheap VR headsets such Google cardboard already in the market. The main question is that will VR emerge as a breakthrough in technology or will it be another flop show?

Oculus Rift
HTC Vive

VR technology is still developing and its
present use is restricted mainly to gaming only with only 2 games namely
Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie. There is a promise of more than 100 games till
the end of the year. YouTube introduced 360 degree view last march and an all
new VR format the following November giving a sense of depth and not just the
ability to pan around. With Facebook also offering 360 degree videos in their
mobile app a $599 headset just to view them is not justified. In front of
advanced headsets such as HTC’s Vive and Oculus rift, Google cardboard is like
muddy water in front of a fancy bottle of wine but the price of Google
cardboard and ability to push any smartphone to use with it makes it suitable
for 360 degree videos and such kind of stuff but what about the advanced
Google Cardboard
In 2013 when Oculus started on Kick starter
they were all about gaming but as they have emerged they have started
experimenting with VR movies and simulation stuff. Google is already trying to
get schools use its virtual field trip simulation software with its cardboard
headsets. Some
of the educational projects like the British Museum’s use of VR to transport
visitors back to the bronze age, Irish startup VR Education’s VR app based
on the Apollo 11 moon landing, David Attenborough’s work with a special VR
exhibit at London’s Natural History Museum, and NASA’s VR demo of how VR
could help its operators practice using robotic arms on the International
Space Station are among the more convincing ways for modern VR being used for more
than just games.
VR films whether fiction or documentary is
another interesting area for experimentation already, particularly on the
journalism side. But the cost of a good VR headset is really a restriction
here. Either the product in the market like Google cardboard is not good enough
for commercial use or the cost is high enough to make its use viable with
general public.
High end VR headsets such as Oculus rift
require a high end pc to run on and with the cost of the headset ($599) and a
compatible pc and all its side effects is it worth it?
The main problem with these kind of stuff
is disorientation and motion sickness. While the companies are working on
solving the motion sickness problem avoiding motion sickness is a big problem.
The BBC reporter Zoe Kleinman’s experience at the C.E.S show couple of months ago
was devastating when she had to tear a headset off mid-demo for fear of
throwing up and this for a journalist who had been “quietly impressed” with VR,
having tried several headsets before. The Wall Street
Journal recently laid out some of the health warnings that come with
the current generation of VR technology:
“The experience can cause nausea,
eyestrain and headaches. Headset makers don’t recommend their devices for
children. Samsung and Oculus urge adults to take at least 10-minute breaks
every half-hour, and they warn against driving, riding a bike or operating
machinery if the user feels odd after a session.”

Mad Peoples!!!!

While such warnings create a barrier in
taking up of VR as a mainstream technologies the bigger question is what will
it do to our minds, rather than our bodies?
The CEO of Google-funded AR firm Magic
Leap says that the stereoscopic 3D headsets for example, can cause a
spectrum of temporary and/or permanent neurologic deficits in human mind. They
have an ability to cause a neurological change. There’s also the question of
isolation, as VR involves shutting yourself off from the world around you by wearing
a headset. We all struggle for attention from our friends and family as we all
are generally glued to our smartphone or tablet screens and VR if taken up
could be the next level of physical isolation.

As every coin has two sides there are also
sides of the VR technology. There is plenty to discuss about VR as a mainstream
technology, but its future however brittle it may be depends upon its benefits
and costs.

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1 Response

  1. 18th March 2017

    […] though the future of VR is still uncertain, these VR headsets will give a good competition to the […]

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