What in the world am I talking about? Well, precisely about putting your face into the virtual world, you know the “fake” one that the computer generates around you to make you believe you are in an alternative reality. Virtual reality, also known as VR, is defined by Merriam-Webster “as an artificial world that consists of images and sounds created by a computer and that is affected by the actions of a person who is experiencing it.” So, the VR experience happens in your face.
Think of the Matrix starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and others where the world around them is actually fake. The characters in the virtual world only think it’s real due to computers creating the image. About the only difference, besides hanging out with stars, is the VR world makes you attach glasses or light weight goggles to your face to be immersed in the virtual world.
Technology has finally advanced far enough that the goggles have come way down in price and quintupled in quality since the first ones introduced about 10 years ago. As a result of these qualities major manufactures have finally decided to bring VR sets to market where they will be everywhere. According to USA Today, “Google begins visiting thousands of schools in the U.S. and abroad with its Google Expeditions kit [VR kits], which allows teachers to take students on VR field trips to places ranging from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef.”
Microsoft HoloLens video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaTyeDtht-8
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No longer is VR considered child’s play though as major manufacturers are flooding into the burgeoning market. HTC Vive, Oculus, Twitch VR, Microsoft, Google, Hammerhead VR, Sony Morpheus, Valve, and Samsung, among others, are all heading to store shelves this holiday season.
Price is all over the board depending on the immersed experience you are demanding, from a few bucks to well – we’ll talk about that in the store, bring your check-book. Some of the more known products amongst the more inspired are Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and Microsoft’s own HoloLens, at $1000.00 or more. On the other end are low cost products. Mattel View-Master (remember the slide show model as a kid?), Google and a Microsoft “box-thing” offering. For example, Google uses a paper-box folded into a shape that holds your Android smartphone. Slide the phone in, take a closer look and presto VR for a few bucks. (Note to self: Upgrade to Windows 10 now because it supports VR.)
The industry is just rolling out and more will be on the way very quickly. The product development cycle on this technology is swift. According to Z News, “Disney is already creating content,” and not that old boring passé 3D stuff, but virtual interactive movies. No longer will you sit quietly in your seat to watch a movie. Now your head will swivel 360 degrees (that’s all around you) to watch and be “in” the movie. Weird, but I like weird.
“Walt Disney Co.’s interactive unit is considering bringing Disney Infinity or other video games into the world of virtual reality,” according to Z News, as well.
From Fortune (Fortune Magazine) comes this prediction, “Thanks to the advances in consumer virtual reality technology from big companies like Facebook-owned Oculus VR, Sony, HTC, Valve, Samsung, and Microsoft, Tractica forecasts the enterprise VR business to grow from $114 million in 2014 to over $4.5 billion by 2020.” Whew. Where’s my Googles? No, wait; I can’t feel my face…