While virtual reality has long been a lightly implemented concept in the video game world, developments in the last decade regarding the tech have allowed many of its more fantastic elements to begin coming to fruition. The Term, “virtual reality” can have a variety of implications, but one of the more common and accurate definitions states that it is “a computer-generated artificial environment,” which, when functioning at its highest capacity, allows the user to suspend disbelief, taking in an alternative reality that seems real. Although senses such as taste and smell are often excluded from the virtual reality experience, leaders in the sector, such as Alex Hern, are beginning to takes steps in that direction. Learn more about Alex at UCSD.edu.
Today, the most popular way to experience virtual reality is through HMD’s, or head-mounted displays, which have gained considerable popularity through brands such as Oculus, and Sony PlayStation. In 2015, the team at Oculus broke considerable ground in their ability to create a top-level product at a reduced price, introducing the Oculus Rift, which “debuted a 110-degree diagonal field of vision.” The $600 price tag gave it mass availability to consumers, as well as developers. While virtual reality was originally intended for gaming, the rapid adoption of head-mounted displays has allowed the medium to expand to areas such as aviation, medicine, engineering, and workplace solutions.
The VR of the future – one that fully incorporates all five of the senses, is rapidly approaching, and with audio and visual virtually perfected, touch seems to be the next sensory field to be tackled. Suits that can mimic sensations such as a temperature change, or a forceful impact, are currently being developed as Electro Muscular Stimulation wearables – a far cry from the vibrating rumble motors made popular in the 1990’s by the Nintendo 64. Learn more about Alex Hern at Bloomberg.