Virtual reality is the technology of the year. And the year is 1991.
Yes, it may surprise younger readers to know that VR – sexy 21st century VR – is actually a generation old already.
In the early nineties many companies worked on the technology. And by the mid-nineties, they’d all given up and gone home.
But you could see why they went for it. The promise of strapping on a headset that immersed you in an alternative world, one that changed as you looked up down, left and right? Irresistible.
Think of the implications for gaming, movies, education, business. Sadly, the tech wasn’t up to it. Processing power, screen resolution, gyroscopes – in 1991 they lacked the power to present a compelling synthesis of the real world. But they were good at making you vomit.
So virtual reality went away. That is, until a bunch of geeks, who’d never forgotten the promise of the tech, re-booted it in the form of Oculus Rift.
One Kickstarter campaign later, Oculus was bought by Facebook and is now ‘the future of entertainment.’
In parallel with VR came AR (augmented reality).
What’s the difference? Well, while VR simulates an alternative world inside a headset, AR overlays graphics onto the real world.
Typically, the user trains their phone (but it could be goggles or something else) on to an image or tag to trigger some piece of information. Could be text, an animation, a video or more.
And there are usually two ways to do this. One is with visual marker (like a barcode), the other is using location (the camera knows where the phone is and where it’s pointing and generates the right data).
Today, it’s hard to think of two hotter tech spaces than AR and VR.
Can they transform the way we shop, learn, have fun, communicate? If so, they can generate hundreds of billions.
Or will they go back to being quaint wikipedia entries?
Here are some stats to help you decide…
1. The dedicated augmented reality device market is expected to reach US $659.98m by 2018
2. The dedicated immersive virtual reality device market is expected to reach $407.51m by 2018
Read the full article here.
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