Virtual Reality, the technology of the future
When we talk about Virtual Reality (VR), many of us think of science fiction films like ‘Minority Report’. However, the truth is that nowadays, this technology completely blends in with our daily lives. Video games, medicine, education… Virtual Reality is here to stay. But what is it exactly?
Virtual Reality creates simulated environments the user becomes immersed in by using specific headsets or helmets.
WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY?
Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-generated environment with scenes and objects that appear to be real, making the user feel they are immersed in their surroundings. This environment is perceived through a device known as a Virtual Reality headset or helmet. VR allows us to immerse ourselves in video games as if we were one of the characters, learn how to perform heart surgery or improve the quality of sports training to maximise performance.
Although this may seem extremely futuristic, its origins are not as recent as we might think. In fact, many people consider that one of the first Virtual Reality devices was called Sensorama, a machine with a built-in seat that played 3D movies, gave off odours and generated vibrations to make the experience as vivid as possible. The invention dates back as far as the mid-1950s. Subsequent technological and software developments over the following years brought with them a progressive evolution both in devices and in interface design.
DIFFERENCES WITH AUGMENTED REALITY
Despite being a technology that originated decades ago, many people are still unfamiliar with the concept of Virtual Reality. It is also quite common to confuse the term Virtual Reality with augmented reality.
The main difference between the two is that VR builds the world in which we immerse ourselves through a specific headset. It is fully immersive and everything we see is part of an environment artificially constructed through images, sounds, etc. On the other hand, in augmented reality (AR), our own world becomes the framework within which objects, images or similar are placed. Everything we see is in a real environment and it may not be strictly necessary to wear a headset. The clearest and most mainstream example of this concept is Pokémon Go.
However, there is also a combination of both realities called mixed reality. This hybrid technology makes it possible, for example, to see virtual objects in the real world and build an experience in which the physical and the digital are practically indistinguishable.
MAIN APPLICATIONS OF VIRTUAL REALITY
That’s enough about the theory that is projecting us into the future. Which sectors is Virtual Reality actually being used in today? Medicine, culture, education and architecture are some of the areas that have already taken advantage of this technology. From guided museum visits to the dissection of a muscle, VR allows us to cross boundaries that would otherwise be unimaginable.
SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Innovative uses for Virtual Reality [PDF] External link, opens in new window.
THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY
Virtual Reality is one of the technologies with the highest projected potential for growth. According to the latest forecasts from IDC Research (2018), investment in VR and AR will multiply 21-fold over the next four years, reaching 15.5 billion euros by 2022. In addition, both technologies will be key to companies’ digital transformation plans and their spending in this area will exceed that of the consumer sector by 2019. It is, therefore expected that by 2020 over half of the larger European companies will have a VR and RA strategy.
Nowadays, the market is demanding applications that go beyond leisure, tourism or marketing and are more affordable for users. Virtual interfaces also need to be improved to avoid defects such as clipping, which makes certain solid objects appear as though they can be passed through. Or to minimise the effects that VR produces in people, among them motion sickness, which consists of a dizziness induced by the mismatch between the movement of our body and what is being seen in the virtual world.
The big technology companies are already working to develop headsets that do not need cables and that allow images to be seen in HD. They are developing Virtual Reality headsets in 8K and with much more powerful processors. There is even talk that in the next few years they could integrate Artificial Intelligence. The latest 5G standard can also provide very interesting scenarios for the evolution of VR. This standard will allow more devices and large user communities to be connected. In addition, its almost imperceptible latency will make it possible for consumers to receive images in real time, almost as if they were seeing them with their own eyes.
All this means that Virtual Reality is no longer science fiction. It is integrated into our present and, in the coming years, it will lead to advances that will shape the future.
What will the new technological era be like?
What Is VR? A beginner’s guide to virtual reality
Learn the basics of VR: Here’s everything you need to know about virtual reality
VR, or Virtual Reality, is a technology designed to make you feel immersed in a virtual world. It’s a distinctly different feeling than playing a game or navigating a 3D environment on a static 2D monitor, giving a real feeling of presence in the virtual space. This is typically achieved with a VR headset that places one or two displays very close to your eyes, whilst tracking your position so that it can be translated into the virtual world.
- What is VR?
- How does VR work?
- What hardware does VR use?
- What are the different kinds of VR headsets?
The technology has grown and improved in leaps and bounds over the past decade, with the best VR headsets featuring super high-resolution displays, ever-more nuanced motion controls, and even the ability to use them wirelessly.
VR is getting all the more exciting, all the time, but if you want to know where we are and how we got here, here’s a guide to what VR actually is.
What is VR?
Virtual reality technology seeks to create a realistic three-dimensional image or environment that a human can perceive as real, and even interact with in realistic ways. We aren’t at Matrix-like levels of immersion, but the latest generation headsets, games, and virtual experiences can feel incredibly realistic. Even when you’re aware that you’re in a virtual space, it can still be a lot of fun to interact with the world using the natural motion of your body, with motion controls tracking hands, fingers, and even facial expressions with some headsets.
In VR, you can pick up things, throw them, build things, bend down to look at something closely, or lie on your back and stare at the stars. Even looking behind you, rather than always staring straight ahead as you would on a standard monitor or TV, is a novel experience.
This is all achieved with a VR headset, some form of controller, and some kind of tracker so that the game or experience knows where you are and what you’re doing.
How does VR work?
VR works by placing a small screen, typically a high-resolution LCD or OLED monitor, within just a few inches of your eyes. This is then augmented with stereoscopic lenses, distorting the image so that it looks 3D. As you move your head around, the headset tracks your location and orientation, adjusting the in-game visuals accordingly, so that your real-world movements are mimicked in the virtual experience.
This, combined with the all-encompassing view of the headset, and that you can see your motion-tracked hands or other appendages, makes you feel like you’re actually in the virtual world you’re exploring.
This is distinctly different from AR (augmented reality), which overlays virtual objects onto the real world. In AR, there are solid fixed points of reference that your eyes can use to track and navigate. In VR, the full environment is simulated and realism is harder to attain.
Cutting-edge VR projects are working with tactile sensations and even smells, but in the consumer market, VR is typically limited to vision, hearing, and handling simple objects. But you’d be amazed at what can be done with just these senses.
What hardware does VR use?
The most important component in modern-day virtual reality is the VR headset. This piece of hardware typically includes the displays that show the virtual world, the lenses that make it appear 3D to your eyes, and some sort of audio solution, be it speakers or headphones. Most headsets have a comfortable strap mechanism for mounting on your head, and some have built-in cameras for tracking. Others include facial trackers and additional ports for adding accessories.
Some headsets are wired, like the Valve Index, requiring a hard connection to a powerful gaming PC to run, while others, like the Meta Quest 2, are designed to operate independently and have a built-in battery alongside their own processing power. There are older VR headsets designed to work with mobile phones, too, but those are antiquated and largely unused today.
While the headset is, in many cases, the only piece of hardware you absolutely need to enjoy virtual reality, most VR systems also employ other components to make the experience work, or at least make it work better.
- Trackers: Some headsets use what’s known as “inside-out” tracking, where there are depth-sensing cameras on the headset to detect its position, whereas others have external trackers that must be mounted in the corners of the playspace. Every headset includes some form of accelerometer and gyroscope, however, to track the headset’s tilt and orientation.
- Controls: Very simple VR headsets allow basic exploration and interaction with a few buttons located on the headset (especially older, smartphone-driven VR headsets). More advanced headsets offer handheld wand-like controllers, while the most advanced VR systems have more nuanced controllers that can track individual fingers. Some VR setups can track hands and fingers without any kind of hardware controller, and some even offer full-body tracking, so you can use your legs and feet as additional inputs.
- Graphics processor: Virtual reality games and experiences take a lot of processing power to render them realistically, even in low-end headsets. To that end, a VR headset either needs its own onboard processing or needs to be tethered to a powerful system. That can be a desktop PC or laptop, or in the case of the PSVR and PSVR2, a PlayStation console.
What are the different kinds of VR headsets?
You’ll find all the best VR headsets in our companion guide, but that doesn’t cover all the different types of VR headsets that have been released in recent years.
- PCVR: PC VR headsets have been a major point of focus for VR headset makers over the past ten years, with standout early releases like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive helping to build the industry as it is today. Modern examples include the Valve Index, Pimax 5K Super, and HP Reverb G2. These headsets tend to have the best-looking displays, supporting the highest quality visuals, with the highest refresh rates, and have the best library of games across the Meta store and SteamVR platforms. They can be wired or wireless, can use inside-out, or external tracking, and have a range of controller options. They are almost always the most expensive VR headsets, however, and require a powerful, and expensive gaming PC to run them.
- Console VR: There haven’t been many console virtual reality headsets, but the PlayStation VR (PSVR) and PlayStation VR2 (PSVR2) are two capable options that have proved incredibly popular. They don’t have all the features of the top PCVR headsets, but at release, they have been competitive. They tend to be less expensive than PCVR solutions, but are not cheap, and require a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 to run.
- Standalone VR: Standalone VR headsets have their own internal processing, inside-out tracking, a battery, and wireless motion controllers. They are designed to include absolutely everything you need to get into VR, making them arguably the most accessible way to experience virtual reality. They are limited by battery life, however, and their internal graphics processors aren’t even close to what console and PC VR can offer. That said, they are a lot cheaper, especially since you can discount the cost of needing an external console or PC to power it.
All of these headsets, regardless of their intended use, have varying specifications. These can affect the headset and the end user’s experience of VR in different ways:
- Resolution: This is the number of pixels of the display(s) used in the headset, presented as an equation of the horizontal pixels multiplied by the vertical ones. Higher resolution headsets present crisper visuals to the user, with less jagged edges. Text is more legible, and distant objects are more readily identified. First-generation VR headsets, like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, had combined (both eyes) resolutions of 2160 x 1600, while the latest generation headsets, like the Pimax 5K Super have a resolution of 5120 x 1440. There are higher-resolution headsets available, but the higher resolution, the more demand is placed on the graphics processor.
- Refresh rate: This is the number of times that the display can change what it shows per second, given in a Hertz (Hz) rating. Higher refresh rates can lead to smoother animations, but they can also improve immersion and reduce motion sickness. Most VR headsets support a refresh rate of at least 90Hz, though some can support 120Hz, and others still up to 180Hz.
- Field of view: This is how wide the view is within the headset itself. The human eyes have a natural field of view of around 200 to 220 degrees, while most virtual reality headsets only offer up to 110 degrees. This means that there are some black bands down the sides and top and bottom of the view, but this is mostly peripheral. Some headsets support up to 200 degrees, but this is rare. A wider field of view can help you feel more immersion in a game or experience.
- Lenses: There are many different kinds of stereoscopic lenses. Fresnel lenses are some of the most popular, but they have been criticized for having a very small “sweet spot,” where the VR visuals are at their sharpest, and for creating light bloom and “god rays” in high contrast scenes. Many of the latest generation VR headsets use pancake lenses, which are smaller and lighter, as well as reducing the glare found in fresnel lenses. They do not transmit light as efficiently to the user, however, so can result in duller images, or require a much higher brightness from the display to counter it.
- Audio: Different headsets have different audio solutions, with some offering on-ear headphones, and others general speakers which leave your ears open. The latter can make it easier to hear what’s going on around you but isn’t so immersive. Other headsets just include a 3.5mm headphone jack and let you plug in any compatible earbuds or headphones you like. Audio quality can vary dramatically with different headsets, with the Valve Index in particular being lauded for its headphones.
- Comfort: Every headset has its own unique head strap design, its own weight, and its own face plate. That makes the comfort levels of each headset completely different, with some being lightweight and well-balanced, letting you play for hours on end, and others will make your face sore before too long. Lighter headsets tend to be more comfortable, but there’s no guarantee.
- Wired versus wireless: Some headsets are wired, like the Valve Index, requiring a tethered connection to a gaming PC or console and a power source. Others, like the Meta Quest Pro, are entirely self-contained and operate wirelessly. Others, still like the HTC Vive Pro 2, can be upgraded with a wireless kit. In all cases, however, wireless headsets offer more freedom and more immersion, but they do have to worry about battery life, which can limit your playtime. They also tend to be heavier. Wired headsets are certainly simpler, and can offer higher quality, uncompressed visuals, but that wire can remind you that you aren’t in a virtual world, which breaks immersion.
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a lot of possibilities and one important nuance
Virtual reality (VR) is an artificially created world in which a person feels like in the real world. The main trick of VR is to deceive the brain. Technically, you can create virtual reality by broadcasting different images for the right and left eyes, which are combined in the brain into one common image. But this is a very simplified scheme. The sense of presence is created by several sensors and sophisticated software.
There are many VR gadgets on the market now. All have different characteristics, capabilities and functions, but in one they are the same: the virtual world they create is unusually similar to the real one and becomes more realistic every day.
Virtual reality will unite cinema, books, games and education
The user will become a direct participant in any event. Why go somewhere, stand in line for movie tickets, dress up for the opera? You can watch films and performances while sitting at home in your favorite T-shirt, but at the same time feel like you are in the hall. Or cuddle a panda, even if there are no pandas in any of the Ukrainian zoos.
For a marketer, this is a lot of new opportunities
Think for yourself: now content goes beyond ordinary texts, and you can give people much more. Do you want to sell a Hawaii tour to a client? Show him how cool it is. Automobile? Give the opportunity to ride it, even if your office is in Kyiv, and the client lives in Transcarpathia. He will be able to test the car without looking up from his favorite sofa.
Do you think these are just dreams? Toyota has already brought them to life, giving its customers the opportunity to experience the new Prius Prime in VR mode.
VR helps you connect with your audience and increase your return on investment
VR devices provide a level of immersion that cannot be achieved with other gadgets. And also give consumers access to places and events that are not available to them in real life. So brands can develop a deeper connection with the audience remotely.
In addition, VR can increase the return on investment. According to a Greenlight VR survey, 53% of respondents said they would rather buy a product from a brand that uses virtual reality than one that doesn’t.
That is, there are plenty of possibilities. But with virtual reality, the main thing is to be able to return to real life in time, so that it doesn’t happen like it happened with the man in the video:0009
It’s not enough to just apply the same techniques you use to TV or the Internet. We need to look for something completely new.
Fortunately, there is still somewhere to look. VR today is used mainly for gaming purposes. Special virtual reality gadgets are still not widely used, and the client is not spoiled. Therefore, for any marketer, there are as many opportunities as toys on a Christmas tree. It is your company that can become a pioneer in VR marketing and go down in history.
If you already have a couple of brilliant ideas for using virtual reality in your business, remember one caveat: users get motion sick during sessions. The development teams are working on this problem, but so far they have not found a solution. Therefore, do not overdo it if you do not want your brand to be associated with nausea in the client.
Reality and reality – Sergey Magdenko on vc.ru
Eyes are the window to the soul.
Apparently, this is how our ancestors determined certain qualities in a person, looking into the eyes of another person. They believed that the eyes somehow reflect the inner world of a person and cannot lie.
The very concept of reflection is very confusing and vague, and indeed, if you try to say that such a reflection is unlikely to happen right away, even dictionaries explain it through the action of reflect.
It is obvious that the reflection must be considered in conjunction with a reflective surface: smooth surface of water, a polished surface of something, a mirror. In other words, the following sequence is obtained: a certain object of the material world – a reflecting surface – a reflection, which in turn is like a picture, a one-time photograph, a “cast” of the reflected object (of course, you need to understand that reflection is impossible without light, but for our reasoning this is not important, so we do not take light into account). Thus, it can be stated that reflection is a very mysterious thing, since it makes an object of the material world something related to the non-material world.
If you look at a person, at how he perceives the world around him, then you can draw direct analogies with the above connection, where a person is a reflective surface between the outside world and his “picture” in the mind that arises when contemplating this world. A person in this situation is the same mysterious thing that produces intangible images from completely material carriers. There are quite a lot of words in the language that describe this process in a person, but all of them do not achieve a 100% hit and do not fully reflect what happens in the mind when it encounters the outside world. Two words are closest to our task – this is reality and reality, let’s take a closer look at them.
Reality and actuality are also shrouded in vocabulary fog, in general terms they are synonyms and often explain themselves through each other. A little clarity is added when using the phrases objective reality – the reality of the manifest world and subjective reality – the reality of inner experiences about objective reality.
There is also psychological reality, these are also internal experiences in some part taken from subjective reality for the needs of the science of psychology.
Reality is directly interpreted as an objective reality, i.e. It is the same. If one turns to philosophical research, then these concepts are somehow formed into a suitable form, where reality is everything that exists in the fullness of its being, and reality is a form of being, due to the possibilities of perception and awareness. In other words, reality is what exists regardless of anything and this can be repeatedly verified by actions, and reality is an inner experience through the perception of reality. Then in our case the sequence will look like this: reality – man – reality, and apparently we experience reality all the time.
In order to understand what we experience and how we experience it, let’s consider what types of reality exist.
The reality of the substance (D1). Imagine the earth as an absolutely lifeless space in which there is water, mountains, sand and stones. Life and everything connected with it is completely absent. This also includes the entire cosmos and all the energies associated with it. Contemplating D1, a person experiences the Reality of the substance (P1).
The reality of the living (D2). This is all life and everything connected with it on planet Earth. Man himself, as a representative of life. Contemplating the life around and/or feeling himself, a person experiences the Reality of the living (P2).
Reality of ideas (D3). The world of ideas, ideal objects, everything that is invented by man and implemented as ideas. An example of a mathematician, everything that mathematics operates on is ideas and ideal objects that cannot be seen and touched, except as speculative. Speculative activity with ideal objects is experienced as the Reality of ideas (R3).
The reality of man-made (D4). The world created by man on the basis of ideas and embodied in matter is everything that surrounds us cities, roads, houses, cars, etc. Living in this world gives rise to the reality of man-made (P4).
Reality of behavior (D5). The world created by man on the basis of ideas and embodied on the living, on people, these are all kinds of social structures, culture, traditions, laws, rules, etc. Living in this world gives rise to the Reality of behavior (P5).
Reality of a dream (D6). This type of reality can be distinguished with some stretch. This is rather a phase of the cycle, but nevertheless the person is sleeping, the body is motionless, the person is as if absent, i.e. he is in the material world, but his consciousness is absent and it is not possible to fully attribute him at this moment to the reality of the living. A person who is in the reality of sleep (P6) always lives it and feels something, runs, talks, flies, etc.
The next step is to understand what processes this or that reality “sits” in a person. We will consider in a certain limit, in order to get away from all sorts of discrepancies.
A person perceives the reality of a substance through five sense organs, i.e. the reality of substance is formed in us by these five senses. This is all that we perceive through sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste. Let’s call them external sensations (External O).
The reality of the living is perceived both through the five senses and through a range of internal sensations (Int.O.), such as feelings of balance, well-being, hunger, fatigue, comfort, etc. (Ext.O. + Int.O.)
The reality of ideas is perceived through the mind (P), while we omit the channels of information entering the consciousness through which ideas are transmitted, here we consider the mind as a kind of apparatus that allows us to see ideas, understand them, operate with them, synthesize, etc.
The reality of man-made and the reality of human behavior is perceived through all of the above: external sensations, internal sensations and reason (Ext. O.+Int.O.+R). For example, a person sees a beautiful house, he identifies it as an idea-house, it is made of stone, an element of substance, and he likes the house, he has some feelings about it. Or a person has exceeded the speed, there is an understanding of the established speed limit – this is an idea, a physical component – he pressed the gas pedal with his foot and worries about it.
The reality of a dream is perceived through inner sensations in its purest form (Int.O.). In a dream, a person always feels something, external sensations are turned off, and even if they somehow indulge in a dream, a person never associates them with anything other than the “script” of sleep. The same can be said about the mind, a person does not single out ideal objects in a dream, but can interact with them. It should be noted here that another component of any type of reality is memory, without memory a person will always arrive in the first and second types of reality. And the reality of sleep is impossible without memory, since dreams are always images: visual, auditory, etc. We will talk about memory separately.
So, we have the following distinguished types of reality, their corresponding types of reality and internal processes and their combinations:
Reality of substance
Reality of the living
Reality of the living
External O.+Int. O.
Reality of ideas
Reality of ideas
Reality of man-made
Reality of man-made
Reality of behavior
Reality of behavior
9000 2 6
Reality of the dream
As can be seen from the table, six types of reality give rise to six types of reality in a person, each reality involves some of the three processes or their combinations. If you follow a simple mathematical path, it is easy to find that there are two more combinations of processes that are not indicated in the table – external sensations and mind (Ext. O. + R.) and the second combination, these are internal sensations and mind (Int. O. + R.). It remains to find out what type of reality these combinations belong to.
Imagine a person who plans tomorrow, he has a list of tasks and he positions them in a certain sequence, he sets priorities based on his internal preferences, making all kinds of combinations, he sort of compares the plan for tomorrow with his inner world until then , until he finds a suitable option for himself, i.e. will experience some sense of relief or satisfaction about tomorrow’s affairs. In other words, he operates with ideal objects, events that do not exist in reality and experiences something about it. This is nothing else than the reality of the imagination, consisting of a combination of the processes of internal sensations plus reason (Int. O. + R.).
The next combination, no less interesting, is external sensations plus intelligence (Ext. O. + R.).
Imagine a person driving a car along city streets, suddenly he sees a road repair sign and a speed limit of 40 km / h, the roadway is in a tolerable condition, there are no differences from the previous asphalt, there is no repair equipment, oncoming and passing cars no, what will the driver do? At least he will start thinking: should he slow down, maybe they just put up a sign and you can not reset it, is there a traffic cop in front, he can go to a parallel street, but then he will not get into the store, etc. In other words, an external “impact” in the form of a road sign launched the process of thinking about what it means specifically for this person, specifically at this moment. A more complex form of a sign can be a situation in which a person has fallen and who has recognized this situation for himself as a sign and has worked out a certain type of action in this regard. It is worth noting that another person with a different life path, getting into the same situation, may and most likely will not recognize it as a sign at all and will “pass” by. The reality in which a person lives in the above situation is the reality of the sign.
Thus, we have identified six types of reality and eight types of reality, and the final table will look like this:
Summing up, it can be said with certainty that a living person constantly arrives in some type of reality and constantly makes the transition from one type to another. Our task is to learn to fix on yourself in what type of reality you arrive.