Virtual reality offers consumers and businesses alike a sneak peek into the future. As the technology continues to advance, we’ll watch as the futures predicted in fictional works like “Star Trek,” “Blade Runner,” and “Ready Player One” come to pass.
To transform the scope of virtual reality technology, hardware must continue to develop. The first iteration of the Oculus Rift didn’t have much in terms of resolution and field of view — and it wasn’t all that comfortable. Over the past few years, the hardware capabilities have improved with every new iteration of the virtual reality headset.
Similar to hardware capabilities, today’s virtual reality technology advancements include the ability to untether as well as full-body integration. Initially, players could only interact with virtual reality while connected to computers via cords. At Sandbox VR, we’ve resolved issues of limited mobility by providing laptop backpacks. New virtual reality technology like the Oculus Quest takes things further by eliminating the external computer altogether.
Full embodiment allows participants to become part of the virtual world. The idea is to allow them to use their entire bodies to move around in the digital space, which makes them feel more connected to their virtual characters.
While these technological advancements are already improving the scope of virtual reality, two other key considerations are poised to make or break the future of virtual reality:
• Overall Processing Power
For graphics and resolution to improve, the computer processing power of virtual reality headsets must also evolve — higher-resolution visuals require more powerful computers. Virtual reality technology leaders are working to improve graphics because they still lag behind the quality offered by home video game consoles.
Retina resolutions are the future of visuals, and the processing power — and graphics — necessary to provide that level of fidelity should be the chief consideration for VR leaders. In other words, processing power must improve to ensure users feel fully immersed in virtual worlds.
• Motion Capture
To create full embodiment, motion capture development must play a significant role in the future of virtual reality. Improvements will allow us to capture body language, facial language, and other physical cues that don’t currently translate to the virtual world. Players will better be able to interact with their friends, but they’ll also have access to depth perception thanks to varifocal displays.
Facebook, for example, is researching full-body tracking using cameras alone. It’s able to simulate muscles and clothing without the use of any sensors. Once this type of research is market-ready, the potential for virtual reality will come into better focus.
Science fiction television and movies have always focused on what technology can be. While some of these ideas have come to fruition (e.g., ATM cards, iPads, and touch-screen computers), we still haven’t experienced the virtual reality they’ve suggested. With these virtual reality technology advancements in the works, however, the sort of VR portrayed in TV shows and films will no longer be a dream — they’ll be our reality.
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