Virtual reality (VR) is the next digital frontier, but it’s not a new concept. Sci-fi literature has been creating virtual worlds since the 1950s with Ray Bradbury’s The Veldt. In 1982, Tron was one of the first movies to showcase a digital world; films such as The Matrix trilogy, Inception, and Ready Player One have added to the public’s acceptance and interest in VR. And while the technology only existed in fantasy worlds for many decades, it’s now a solid concept that has a place for businesses and consumers. Read on to find out why VR matters and what’s coming next. (Also read Virtual reality for business: The smart person’s guide, published on TechRepublic in March 2016 and written by Erin Carson.) SEE:Virtual and augmented reality policy (Tech Pro Research) What is virtual reality?
Virtual reality is a multisensory computer-generated experience that opens up virtual worlds for the user with complete immersion into a simulated world. VR is in the same ballpark as augmented reality (AR), in that it serves as a layer over the real world. Modern VR headsets provide haptics, motion, and location sensing and high-resolution 3D graphical displays that seem almost real. On the TechRepublic sister site ZDNet, Greg Nichols writes: “According to the Virtual Reality Society, the technology has thematic roots in the stereoscopic viewers of the 19th century. Decades of research into immersive (albeit non-interactive) cinema gave way, in the 1960s, to early experiments in what were then called “artificial environments,” primitive computer-generated worlds users could actually navigate.”
Additional resources Is VR a fad or here to stay? Google, Facebook, and other major tech companies have invested heavily in VR technology; regardless, VR is not yet mainstream, and there is more work to be done before it reaches a breakthrough. A combination of bulky, awkward hardware, expensive headsets, and not enough interesting content all contribute to VR’s slow trudge toward becoming a business and household essential.
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