Its safe to say that everyone wants a piece of Augmented Reality (AR) but what about Virtual Reality (VR)? The gold rush for AR is still going strong while VR seems to be just sitting on the shelf, but things are about to change, especially with the recent release of Steven Spielberg’s latest blockbuster movie Ready Player One.
VR Takes Centre Stage (Finally)
If you were to take a closer look, you would notice that the effects of VR are being felt in popular culture with the virtual world featuring prominently in TV shows such as Black Mirror and Electric Dream – a sci-fi anthology. VR has also taken centre stage in various films, most recently in Ready Player One. It is a film about people choosing to shun the real world by creating avatars and immersing themselves into the virtual reality world called ‘The Oasis’.
The main character Wade played by Tye Sheridan is searching for three keys left by the deceased creator of the Oasis, James Halliday (Mark Rylance). If found, these keys have the power to turn over the control of the virtual world to whoever finds them. Wade’s gang of the friends (the good guys) are not the only group looking for the keys. An evil corporation is also searching for the same keys so they can take control of the Oasis and gain access to the user database. Yes, this does sound familiar, a tech company trying to exploit their users.
” The good news is that VR is no longer confined to the gaming rooms. It now also plays a crucial role in education, sports, healthcare and even fashion.”
The film Ready Player One is a balance between a cautionary tale and a celebration of virtual reality. It shows the potential of VR by exploring the concept that is present in our world today- tech that can take us a step closer to exploring another reality. The good news is that VR is no longer confined to the gaming rooms. It now also plays a crucial role in education, sports, healthcare and even fashion, where we are witnessing things like haptic suits, haptic controllers and VR headsets. There have been significant strides made in VR like the Tesla suit. First announced in 2014, the Tesla suit delivers, to the wearer, the sense of touching and feeling in the virtual world. From the warm breeze of a summer’s day to the sudden impact of a bullet, the sensation of touch will be realised without vibration or noise in a textile that is not bulky or intrusive and can be worn like regular clothing.
The future is VR, and I think we are going to be seeing more of VR arcades for VR experiences where you can go with friends to a prepared room and experience the virtual world. These places do exist; The Void is VR experience of Star Wars people goes there with friends to have a social VR experience. There is also a place called the Game Box in South London a mix of a pub and a social VR experience. This illustrates the potential of social VR experiences and that tech in film is not as far-fetched as some people might like to think.
With lower-end VR headsets powered by mobile phones now available, it is still early days. We still have limitations. For example, at the moment you have a choice of either a headset that comes with a lot of cables or wireless mobile phone headsets, that offer a reduced quality of the picture.
I am personally drawn to Oculus Go, an all-in-one VR headset that effortlessly allows me to enter VR with no PC or wires attached. Made to fit you and starting at $199* this is a wearable device that has been designed with breathable fabrics, adjustable straps and the best lenses yet!