Virtual reality has always been a carrot, so to speak, at the end of a stick in the technology industry. No matter how fast they have run or progressed, the carrot continued to sit in front of them each and every time. Yet, despite this being the case, virtual reality has finally found the bearings necessary to become a reality and, in turn, the first editions of virtual reality headgear have appeared.
It seems as though every tech giant has a hand in the honey pot on this one, and with the Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, Microsoft Hololens, and more, the question isn’t whether VR is going to be the technology of our near future but rather how greatly it will impact our everyday life from the IT industry all the way to the elusive hack sector.
So, how do we predict the future of this powerful technology and what are some of the major issues we must watch out for when moving forward with virtual reality? The best way to determine these answers is by looking at the ways VR has already begun to impact our world, review how companies claim to use it in the future, and take into account the data given to determine some of the worst outcomes in order to be sufficiently prepared if they occur.
How VR Has Impacted Our World
So far, virtual reality has already made a significant impact in our world. With video gaming aside, the business aspects involved in VR alone are quite impressive. For instance, virtual reality has begun to be used to create accurate prototypes, saving companies the time and money needed to interact with models as computer technology can create exactly what they want without the hassle of being constructed. Although 3D printing has made business models far easier in the last few years, by using VR instead, individuals can still interact with this model without wasting the energy or durable metals and plastics involved.
This is a wonderful way for engineers and architecture companies to review their plans and models in a far more interactive manner and even put them to the test through simulations of natural disasters and manmade disasters alike. In fact, multiple software projects so far have begun to emerge showing the potential of this form of 3D model creation only further proving that VR can be utilized in a business setting.
However, perhaps one of the most compelling uses of VR and Spatial OS being displayed in the last few years has come from the company Improbable which has created countless models and programs with which the government and large industries have begun to utilize in order to track their analytics and technological information in a physical format. For instance, by utilizing Spatial OS and VR, Improbable was capable of creating a 3D model of the internet which is currently being used to determine how computers and networks connect and find weak spots where the modern hacker may attack. For government officials, this form of VR could help strengthen cyber security and prevent international interference in business, defense strategies, and even confidential information regarding citizens of the United States.
The Future of Virtual Reality
Although VR has continued to expand in the gaming world throughout the last few years, in particular, there are plenty of unconventional ways that VR is making an impact on our world and multiple informative plans for the future of VR in business likewise. With RFID ‘punch clocks’ and fingerprint scanners as well as wearable tech and smart cars, there is really no telling how far VR will impact our tech advancements so far and create advancements of its own in the future as well.
- Virtual Walkthroughs: Real Estate, Growers, Businesses
Virtual walkthroughs have become one of the largest implementations of virtual reality in the business world. By using 3D cameras similar to Google Earth’s devices, companies have become capable of showcasing their facilities in an immersive manner rather than displaying floorplans as they once did before. Through this, real estate agents have been given the opportunity to use VR technology in order to walk individuals through new homes and apartments without actually scheduling an appointment to visit the location.
Furthermore, with Prop 215 laws on growing Marijuana in California and the use of Marijuana becoming legal in many states, this expanding industry has been utilizing the same 3D technology to show buyers their plants before they even purchase from them. By doing this, it has allowed growers the ability to facilitate larger purchases and prove the quality of the product before it is sold to the public.
Lastly, businesses have begun to use virtual walkthroughs to showcase architectural designs, convention plans, and even their own facilities in order to give their consumers the ability to immerse themselves in their favorite products and expos firsthand. For instance, companies such as Alibaba which provides services online primarily have begun to use VR for virtual reality shopping centers that help buyers feel as though they are walking around am all rather than browsing a list of items.
- Motion Trackers and Haptic Gloves
There were countless breakthroughs at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year, however, two particular breakthroughs which work in conjunction with one another may reshape the future of VR in the blink of an eye. Up until now, most VR has relied on controllers to track arm movement and has been far from the full-body interactive world it has hoped to become, however, HTC and Gloveone have developed two highly important pieces of tech that may just change this entirely.
At CES, HTC announced the arrival of their new motion tracker for the VR Vive and Gloveone showed the newest prototype of their haptic glove for VR as well. However, this haptic glove relies on a motion tracker such as the Vive tracker to work and, therefore, both items, when used together, create a ‘hands-on’ VR experience. With tiny vibrators in the fingertips of each glove, these haptic gloves allow you to feel the sensation of touch when interacting with virtual items and the motion tracker actually tracks both your arms and hands when using said gloves. With this said, we may be able to physically interact with video game characters, colleagues, or even virtual animals and humans from the past.
- Law Enforcement and Healthcare
Although it may not be recognized as often as gaming, VR in both law enforcement and healthcare are two incredible ways that virtual reality can significantly make a difference in our world. For instance, with DUI cases rising yearly, many law enforcement officials have suggested raising awareness at high schools and colleges by using virtual reality headsets to simulate car accidents firsthand. Many students, in particular, across the nation have fallen victim to terrible car accidents caused by drunk driving and law enforcement believes that by showing them firsthand what a car crash would be like, you can help young individuals understand that it is certainly no laughing matter. On top of this, with DUI charges becoming felonies in multiple states, this new form of interactive police-youth engagement may help countless young individuals stay out of jail as well.
Similarly, in the healthcare industry, affordable and personal care have become far easier to attain through VR and telemedicine. For instance, individuals with addictions may have a hard time leaving their home to visit with therapists and doctors as the outside world is where their addictions began, however, with VR, you can detox from the comfort of your home with a healthcare professional within reach at all times. In fact, studies say that most insurance plans provide inadequate addiction treatment but, by using the virtual reality headset, you can surpass this plan and still be given the medical treatment to recover that is necessary.
Lastly, one of the most amazing breakthroughs in the healthcare industry that has come from virtual reality is probably stroke rehabilitation. In fact, using virtual reality and context-dependent memory principles, scientists and healthcare professionals have begun to create virtual reality headsets that help stroke patients to rehabilitate themselves and their memory without the countless appointments to their doctor’s office typically involved.
- Government and Internet Security
Although internet security has significantly improved in the last few years due to data encryption and the reformatting of SSD’s, there are still ways for hackers to easily manipulate and alter data for their benefit with fairly low-tech hacks. With the inclusion of the IoT, data has become far more vulnerable than ever before and the best way to counteract this is through advancements in technology that surpass hacking skills.
For instance, when Improbable created this 3D model of the internet, the government officials that utilized it were able to determine weak spots in the internet and build upon them for the benefit of the companies and software involved. In the future, we may begin to see this form of 3D modeling for analytics and security measures which may help us to determine weak spots in individual companies and even in their data encryption and sites so as to take preventative measures rather than try and fix the situation once it occurs.
This may be one of the most exciting advancements currently happening in VR for countless reasons. Mixed reality is a project by software developer, Drew Gottlieb, that uses both the Microsoft Hololens and the HTC Vive to create virtual shapes and items in a real-world setting rather than a VR workspace. By doing this, we will soon be able to play VR games and use VR AI’s in our everyday life and even walk around with these headsets without being blind to the world around you in the process.
The impact of this is immense as it will allow businesses to do virtually guided walkthroughs of their facilities, allow individuals to walk through art galleries and learn about each piece from a virtual hologram of a staff member, learn from a teacher without attending a school, get a health evaluation without actually visiting a doctor, and even have business meetings and casual interactions across seas without travelling and wasting the money in the process.
The Negative Aspects of VR in Our Society
Although virtual reality continues to grow and expand in our modern era, there are still several flaws in its software that must be addressed. The most important one being security. With the IoT beginning to utilize this tech, these VR headsets may become vulnerable to cyber attacks and the more ingrained in our daily lives they become, the more this kind of a cyber threat will affect us. For instance, some companies have speculated that the VR technology will soon be used in cars to help driver’s be far more safe or navigate hands-free, however, if a hacker were to manipulate what these devices say to an individual reliant on their driving suggestions, this could lead to car accidents and even death. Despite the fear still being rather justifiable, multiple companies have taken on the task of creating safe and hack-invulnerable VR gear which will be used in future endeavors. With this tech being created, we may be able to put the fear of hackers in the past and focus on the countless incredible breakthroughs this tech provides instead.
Although VR remains a rather young advancement, some of the largest IT companies in the world continue to invest in it. With countless projects and breakthroughs underway, the wonderful world of virtual reality may transition from augmented to everyday life in the blink of an eye. As a company, developer, designer, or even healthcare professional, there is no telling how this new technology will truly impact your future. However, by knowing how it has already impacted our world and keeping track of the countless advancements in the tech being made, you can begin to make the connections and use it to rise above the rest with the power of technology by your side.