Virtual reality is a concept that has existed for decades. However, it has only been achieved on a practical level much more recently. Facebook’s child company, Oculus, seriously kickstarted the movement’s hype in 2015. Since then, the increase in public interest was exponential, so much so that companies such as HTC, Google, Apple, and Sony have jumped on the development bandwagon, each creating their own versions of virtual and augmented reality gear. In this article, we will discuss the current applications and future possibilities of virtual and augmented reality technology. This includes certain misgivings part of the public fears may come to pass.
Perhaps the largest draw of contemporary virtual reality gear is its use in video games. The oculus rift led this trend with its 2016 release, but the combination of its limited functionality and initially high cost made for a slower release than Oculus would have liked. Augmented and virtual reality headsets were even sold in accompaniment to certain cell phones in 2016 and 2017 with more successful sales numbers at a relatively low cost. Using their cell phones, users could play video games and even view certain videos and pictures while feeling the sensation of a true three dimensional perspective. At present the most common developmental track seems to be focused around removing cords and other physical hindrances in order to more fully immerse the user and thereby increase popularity. Only time will tell if this will be a success.
In the future, virtual reality can be used in various fields, branching out from the relatively mundane uses we experience currently. This can include psychotherapy, education, athletic training, and much more. Television shows and movies like Ready Player One have already explored some of these possibilities and continue to do so. However, there are two sides to every coin. Some have expressed a fear of what exposure to a “false reality” could do to people. Some productions like Netflix’s Black Mirror have even shown the darker sides of what could happen to people when they experience things in a virtual or augmented reality. Are the positive possibilities worth the risks, or are we destined to fall to the greed and immorality of certain members of the human race as predicted by some? Perhaps we will even find out in our lifetime.
Article by Christian Campbell