Whisper it quietly but after many attempts, it looks like virtual and augmented reality may finally be about to hit the big time. As a growing number of people have experienced the amazing features that both of these very different technologies deliver, signs are that uptake in VR hardware is increasing – while smartphone AR apps were some of the most popular performers last year. Will we soon be using augmented reality as a routine everyday tool, just to get home and slip on our VR headset to watch some movies, sports or maybe even a little virtual roulette at Platinum Play.
Quite possibly yes given the way that the industry is moving and software companies are investing huge sums into both technologies. Considering that there are still many people out there yet to experience either, in this article we’ll take a look at the differences between VR and AR as well as predict what we can look forward to coming up next.
Virtual Reality Is Here To Stay
It is unfair to in any sense compare modern VR tech with the clunky, nausea inducing failures of the 1990’s. That disaster seriously damaged VR’s reputation, and it has taken a long time for tech companies to be convinced that there would ever be a market for it again. During this decade and a half, the tech has continued to be developed but only in highly specialized industries such as pilot training modules. Yet now after a huge injection of commitment, finance and expertise affordable home VR is now with us.
Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and Samsung Gear VR are the three best-known lines so far, capable of providing a totally immersive alternate reality that is separated entirely from our real world. This is an important distinction.
Currently, VR requires either a compatible gaming console or ideally a very high-performance PC to deliver the best experience. While video gaming is the most relevant sector so far, expect to soon see VR being used across plenty of other medias such as movies and sports (this will be huge). It is also predicted to eventually be incorporated into navigation apps allowing people to truly take in a ‘street view’, tour exhibits, check out potential homes/premises, and to potential with social media is enormous.
All that currently is holding back VR from the real mainstream is making the tech truly affordable. It has been predicted that eventually, smartphones will be powerful enough to deliver a quality VR experience, but the issue here is battery capacity. Rumor has it that wireless charging is not that far away, with it being expected to be a regular feature in two or three editions time.
Far more people will have experienced AR simply because it has been a feature of numerous smartphone apps for a while now. Even though the massive potential for AR remains to be fully tapped, we have already seen how popular it can be. Pokemon Go! was one of the most popular and highest earning apps of 2016, and that style of game using real world surrounding but with added features is set to become absolutely huge.
As with VR the major initial successes have been primarily through gaming, but the potential for AR within daily life is unquestionably even greater. It is the perfect technology for making existing smartphone apps even more functional. For example, when used with a directions app, you could receive visual notifications of a special offer a cafe may be offering as you walk past. In a gallery, context enjoys a running narrative of the exhibits, or even potentially via a wearable of some kind be able to pick out your friends in a large crowd. The possibilities are endless and AR will become enormous providing the public continue to express an interest beyond hunting Pokemon!
The Future is very exciting for both virtual and augmented reality technology, and it is safe to say the both are going to be staples of everyday life within a few years. Of course, there will always be some people who complain that such tech can be too intrusive or easy for companies to manipulate, but overall this tech will eventually enhance every aspect of our lives.