Virtual reality is here, and with it comes massive potential to shape society for the better. However, an issue for some people is that they think it also has the potential to be quite an isolating experience, especially when compared with other more sociable forms of entertainment.
When you use VR, you strap on a pair of headphones and completely immerse yourself in the experience. Whilst the benefits of this are likely to have an impact on many other sectors besides gaming, such as education or even the housing market, a perceived drawback of such immersion is that you are, for the length of time you are interacting with it, incapable of interacting with anyone else. This can be an issue for some, especially when they have the option of playing a traditional video game or watching a movie together.
However, this could be about to change. A company has developed a mixed reality globe which overlays virtual content onto the real world – just like many other VR devices. The difference is that this device allows two people to view the exact same piece of VR content, with each person getting a perspective-corrected view of the same thing.
The device uses a motion-tracking headset first in order to see how the image on the globe looks from a variety of different perspectives. This means that from no matter where you look at the globe, you will see the same distortion-free, high-quality image. This is combined with advanced calibration and rendering techniques which optimise the depth information and display of the images, as well as translucent projection paint.
Theoretically, this means that two people could play the same VR game – but it also has implications outside the gaming sphere. So, for example, two people could collaborate with each other in the workplace. Perhaps one person could be present at a meeting hundreds of miles away, appearing on the globe which incidentally has a camera installed. This way, it would be as if the person was actually in the room. In terms of Computer Aided Design, the tech could be useful as well. A 3D model of the design could be created, and more than just one person would be able to view it.
At the moment, the technology is in its early stages, but a four-way version of this globe is currently in development which would open a lot of doors for use in real world scenarios – for example, VR surgery. Certainly, without the cumbersome headsets, virtual and augmented reality will be easier to use. And the easier to use they are, the more likely the technology is to be implemented on a large scale.
This isn’t to say that headsets will be replaced, but technology like this does open the door to VR technologies that can include seeing and talking to other people.