Virtual reality devices are becoming a central topic as technology keeps getting more advanced. Today we are mostly talking about gaming industry. However, it’s not the only possible area where VR devices could be used. Researchers are looking at ways to implement virtual reality technology in a wide range of fields. The future will show how we will end up using VR headsets. For now let’s look at some trends and early predictions.
Mountain trails in virtual reality
Lately introduced experience called Trailscape by Merrell is a fascinating, overwhelming new way of exploring one of the most dangerous mountain trails through virtual reality. The feedback was highly positive – everyone loved it so far. To have a possibility to walk in the Dolomites without leaving your house is truly amazing.
Imagine having a chance to visit a destination in virtual reality before you book your next flight. What about a hotel room? Marriott has introduced holiday’s booths called “teleporters” – 4D experience with Oculus Rift devices that can take you to a destination, show you around and offer a hotel room that you can see for yourself. The booths may be particularly popular with newlyweds as an incentive to choose a perfect honeymoon destination. The future of travel looks optimistic, as the new generation prefers mobility and will travel a lot in the next decades.
For people who are afraid of skydiving because their parachute might not open -there is a solution now. Developed by Dan Borenstein, the idea is to have someone hanging in the air while wearing VR headset. This way, a genuine falling-like experience can be created. Combined with awesome graphics this may be a thrilling experience for anyone to try, and it is safe!
VR technology might finally make it possible for some people to visit a theme park they have never been before. Disney is thinking of implementing VR technology to introduce their theme parks and give a real feel of what it is like to see the attractions there. Of course it won’t ever substitute the real experience, but for many people this will be a chance to get a taste of it.
GoPro and VR
GoPro, a famous producer of action cameras available to larger audience has acquired Kolor – a French company specialized in producing 360 degree videos. It should therefore come as no surprise that soon everyone will be able to shoot VR quality videos and share them online.
Fitness and sports
Sports, particularly biking is an interesting area and Italian start-up Widerun has created a virtual world for cycling work out. Different sceneries are available, ranging from ride in the park to Alpine roads. The set reacts to bikers speed and it is possible to see 360 degrees. Widerun could be immensely popular as soon as VR devices are up to speed and no lags occur, causing nausea.
Runtastic has developed a fitness app with short sessions of exercises with various backgrounds. The aim is to provide a unique, personalized training experience at the comfort of your home. An imaginary mentor will show the exercises and the user can repeat them. At the end of the session a feedback is given to the participant.
Filmmakers have shown interest in VR devices since the start of the development. Some experimental films have already been made and there are more to come. Lately, a film studio Jaunt Studios has been established in LA specifically to help create films with VR technology. The possibilities are quite impressive – we can only imagine what the future movies may look like, when we can see a 360 degrees picture, have a look around and be “in the movie”. Imagine visiting a concert and being on the stage with your favorite band, having a chance to see both them and the fans. This is going to be a whole new level of entertainment.
We are all sick and tired of annoying banner ads. They are everywhere – on the apps we download, on the games, even on YouTube. Luckily, there is hope for better – MediaSpike, a company specializing in product-placement ads is looking at creating embedded ads for virtual reality platforms. This kind of advertisement will look real and be part of the world you are in. For example, imagine driving around in a car and passing a huge billboard with some ads on it. That would be just like in real life. No more awkward, ugly looking square banners popping up randomly on the screen. The potential for this kind of advertisement is huge and much more efficient. Both for the user and for the marketers.
We are facing a revolution of how we view and share the media. Although the development is at the moment rather slow and costly, the first prototypes are arriving at the market already this year. There are some alternatives already available, like Google cardboard, but these are just temporary solutions requiring expensive gear like smartphones or tablets. The race is for a high resolution, synchronized and affordable, also user friendly device. Potential winners in this game are Oculus Rift, Playstation VR and Samsung Gear VR. Moreover, many independent developers are working on new exciting ways of implementing VR in our everyday lives. The future looks bright and more exciting opportunities are opening up every day.