Virtual reality provides users access to a fully immersive virtual environment where they can interact with objects in the virtual surrounding similar to those in the real world. VR technology works on ideas that involve gesture recognition, sensors, and embedded electronic components. A good example of a VR product is Google Cardboard.
VR employs a closed headset that places the user in a virtual world where they watch what is happening, giving them an immersive experience as if you are interacting literary with the virtual world.
Augmented reality technology allows computer-generated imagery or data to overlay physical objects in the real world. It provides a great source of useful information to users concerning tasks they need to perform in real world. You can find AR usage in hand in hand with displays, sensors, and embedded electronic components. one example of AR is smart glasses.
Although it might sound hard to believe, augmented reality development and virtual reality(AR/VR) have been in existence for more than 30 years. The technologies received their first application in the military aircraft field, with Pilot Head-Mounted Displays, flight simulations. In the recent past, AR/VR have found a niche in the entertainment industry and gaming.
However, the high development costs, the complexity of AR/VR devices among other challenges have hindered the technologies from getting into the commercial market.
The recent appearance of low cost virtual reality technologies such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and the Sony PlayStation VR and Mixed Reality Interfaces have changed the AR/VR landscape. Thanks largely to smartphones, the technology has developed and become very affordable to the point where it has become a viable business venture. However, even with the significant growth observed, there are many challenges facing these technologies.
Augmented and Virtual reality offer different user experiences but they are currently delivered in similar ways.
Recent studies have shown that a large number of people believe that AR/VR will become mainstream within the five years. There is a reason why people are so much interested in this technology. Humans are visual beings, with almost a third of the neurons in our brains dedicated to vision. This explains why a gadget like a VR headset has such a profound impact on us, since it alters how we visualize things.
Due to this vivid way of altering vision, most people have kept guessing and predicting over the years that these technologies will soon become mainstream.
The biggest drivers of AR/VR technologies in the near future are likely going to be App store revenues, ads and e-commerce. The main revenue for VR is expected to come from gaming and entertainment sectors.
The recent rapid growth of AR/VR is due to consumer interest and technology adoption. Several companies have been adept in recognizing the potential for these technologies. For instance, Samsung Electronics, Microsoft Corporation and Oculus VR are currently developing head-mounted displays. Moreover, media corporations such as NBC Universal, Turner Sports, and 20th Century Fox are in the process of experimenting with new formats as well as producing VR titles
Future Applications and Uses
If the AR/VR industry becomes successful in the future, it will find a lot of usage in the consumer goods, entertainment, aerospace and defense, medical and commercial.
Entertainment and Consumer Goods
There are countless applications an augmented reality developer can put to augmented reality and virtual reality in consumer goods. The first beneficially that comes to mind when considering VR is video games. But VR will also benefit such fields as sports and gaming and entertainment applications. The use of AR/VR could open up new ways of to purchase and experience entertainment.
Defense and Aerospace
AR and VR have played an important role in defense field. Perhaps this field has benefited more from AR/VR since the technology has been in use in defense for more than 25 years. It is only recently that other areas have been subjected to these technologies. AR displays serve the operators with important parameters like speed, direction, altitude, orientation, people and object markers, as well as weapons information. On the other hand, VR can be a great tool for training and providing trainees with simulations of real-life situations they expect to encounter.
When it comes to AR and VR, there is a lot of potential uses in the fields of medical and healthcare. In medical field, there are some major and very practical applications of AR and VR. These include, helping surgeons to conduct surgeries effectively and with accurate precision, improving fitness, as well as teaching complex medical subjects to students. VR has useful applications in the treatment of pain, phobia, and depression. It is expected that as time goes, medical and healthcare will continue to incorporate AR and VR applications. This is supported by a report by Occam’s Business Research and Consultancy.
Lastly and perhaps equally important, are the potential uses of AR and VR in the commercial sector. The commercial field can be categorized into sightseeing, e-commerce, marketing and e-learning. Augmented reality can help to sell products in a totally new way, like helping clients see how cloth-line products will look on them without even trying the products on. This has potential in cosmetics as well whereby ladies can see the results of a given cosmetic product on their kin without actually trying it on their skin. The AR and VR could also revolutionize e-learning by transforming the way learners take online classes.
However, even with these potentially life changing applications, AR and VR technologies are faced with some serious challenges that may threaten their future success.
Challenges Facing Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Every technology faces many obstacles during its early adoption and introduction. Augmented reality company’s technologies are in the same situation that seems to slow down their adoption and growth.
Skepticism and Suspicions
The application of VR and AR has only involved a few use cases such as trying wardrobe, glasses and accessories. The public remains sceptic of what other applications can be had with AR and VR. On the other hand, there is an ongoing suspicion that AR and VR have harmful side-effects on health. There are reports that extended use of VR has been known to cause irritation, nausea, and other problems. Moreover, it is not yet known what kind of long-term medical complications can be associated with AR and VR devices such as Google glasses.
Lack of awareness may lead to concerns about security and privacy while using augmented reality and VR technology. These concerns only serve to fuel skepticism and in the event delay the progress of development and adoption.
Currently, there are few AR developers India motivated enough to dedicate their time in AR and VR, as a result, there is little engaging content available to keep peoples’ interest piqued. The content available for augmented reality comprises games and filters used in social media networks like Instagram and Snapchat. Creating quality content that can have impact in businesses is a complicated and expensive venture.
Physical Safety Risks
Due to the immersive experience when using AR and VR, their use can be very distracting. This can result to accidents and physical injuries. For instance, there were many reported injuries as people played the popular Pokemon Go.
AR and VR can be life changing technologies with very useful applications in real-life. However, their future remains unpredictable due to some compelling challenges.