In this article, you shall be presented with the opportunity to learn everything about VR and AR. It’s definition, history, uses, implications, supported devices. If you are a graphically -inclined person or you just love updating your knowledge of technology like me, you will find this article extremely useful.
What’s VR and AR?
Virtual reality can be defined as the world transmitted to man through his senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, and others. Virtual Reality imitates an exposure and response to the impact.
Augmented reality (AR -. «Augmented reality”) – is a technology that complements the real world, adding any sensory data. Despite the name, these technologies can both bring in the real world virtual data and remove objects from it. AR possibilities are limited only by capabilities of devices and programs.
Differences between AR and VR:
VR blocks the real world and immerses the user in the digital universe. If you put on the headset, and instead of living suddenly find yourself in the thick of a fight against zombies, then this VR. In other words, with VR, all realities of life are blocked out
AR adds the elements of the digital world into reality. If you walk down the street and suddenly on the sidewalk in front of you appears Pokemon Dragonet, this is AR.
History of AR / VR
It is considered that the development of virtual reality began in the 50s. In 1961, Philco Corporation developed the first virtual reality helmets Headsight for military purposes, and this was the first application of the technology in real life. But based on the current classification system, it more likely would relate to the AR-technology.
Virtual reality is considered to be the father of Morton Heilig. In 1962 he patented virtual stimulant called “Sensorama” first in the world. The apparatus was a bulky device, externally resembling slots 80 and allow the viewer to experience an immersive experience in virtual reality, for example, a ride on the motorcycle through the streets of Brooklyn. But the invention Heilig caused distrust among investors and scientists and he had to stop development.
A few years after, a similar device provided by Heilig a Harvard professor Ayvan Sazerlend, who, along with the student Bob Sproull created a “Sword of Damocles” – the first virtual reality system based on the head display. Points were attached to the ceiling and through the computer broadcast picture.
In the 80s the company VPL Research has developed more modern equipment for virtual reality – goggles and gloves EyePhone DataGlove. One of the company’s employee, Jaron Lanier – a talented inventor coined the term “virtual reality”.
Augmented reality went hand in hand with the virtual until 1990, when the scientist Tom Caudell first proposed the term “augmented reality.” In 1992, Lewis Rosenberg developed one of the earliest operating systems, augmented reality for the US Air Force. Exoskeleton Rosenberg allowed the military to manage virtual machines, while in a remote control center. In 1994 Zhyuli Martin created the first augmented reality in the theater under the title “Dancing in Cyberspace” – setting in which acrobats danced in the virtual space.
In the 90’s there were other interesting discoveries, such as the Australian Dzhuli Martin joined virtual reality TV. Then began the development of gaming platforms using virtual reality technology. In 1993, the company has developed Sega Genesis console.
During demonstrations and previews, however, the story was over. Games from Sega VR were accompanied by headaches and nausea, and the device never went on sale. The high cost of devices, poor technical equipment and the side effects have forced the people to forget about VR and AR technologies.
In 2000, thanks to the addition to the AR technology. The Quake game has an opportunity to pursue monsters on real streets. True, the play could only be armed with a virtual helmet with sensors and cameras that did not contribute to the popularity of the game, but it was a prerequisite for the emergence of the now famous Pokemon Go.
The VR/AR boom began only in 2012. August 1, 201, a little-known company Oculus launched on their platform, Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the issue head-mounted display. Developers promised users “immersive effect” due to the use of displays with a resolution of 640 by 800 pixels for each eye.
The required 250 thousand dollars have been collected within the first four hours. After three and a half years, 6 January 2015, started pre-sales of the first production of consumer head-mounted display Oculus Rift CV1. It is just as if to say that the release was expected. The entire first batch of helmets has been sold out in 14 minutes.
It was the symbolic beginning of a boom VR-technology and the explosive growth of investment in this sector. It was in 2015, virtual reality technology has become a truly new technological phenomenon.
The use of virtual and augmented reality
Virtual reality – the one sector in which infrastructural and technological development is in parallel with content development.
Therefore it is possible to identify several key areas of the industry, depending on the content and scope of application:
- games ;
- sports broadcasts and shows;
- social networks;
- medicine ;
- trade and real estate;
- industry and the defence industry.
Here there is a detailed overview of the market for each of these items. The explanations below tell how specifically VR and AR technology is used in various industries. If you carefully read the section dedicated to the history of virtual reality, you already know that the development started in the first place for their use for military purposes. Since VR development became better, and now beginning to be used not only in military affairs but also in other areas. For example, for the treatment of mental disorders. Experts from Harvard University published a review article, which examines the effectiveness of VR modern methods for the treatment of mental illness, and especially – anxiety disorder and phobias. And last February, a group of scientists from the UK and Spain, developed a method for the treatment of depression with the help of virtual reality and demonstrated its effectiveness.
Perhaps the most useful VR-made development in medicine is that medical students no longer need to hone skills on cadavers, but instead appeared virtual simulators with haptic feedback.
Interesting solutions abound in virtual and augmented reality, there is marketing. And if you think that marketing and advertising – it’s just a waste of time and money, look at the project Inside Impact Bill Clinton Foundation Against Poverty. To raise money for the development of East Africa, the Foundation created the film, shot on the 360-degree camera. When viewing audience come to Kenya, along with Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea. Raising about HIV / AIDS, malaria, lack of maternity hospitals and prospects of solar energy, the viewer almost hand carried through the streets, schools and other institutions, involving pushing and empathy.
If VR technology is quite specific and does not fit any business, the AR-technology can be implemented in almost every industry.
What is happening in the market of virtual and augmented reality in the world
Although virtual reality has more opportunities available to mainstream consumers, well-known companies engaged in the full development of these technologies. The owner of Universal Studios company Comcast has invested $ 6.8 million in Felix & Paul small VR-studio in Montreal, which has worked with Funny or Die and the White House.
The development of virtual reality will also invest edition of New York Times. For many editions creates 360-degree videos that win festival “Cannes Lions” In 2014, Facebook acquired the company Oculus VR for $ 2 billion, and this year has launched a social network with a 3D-avatars, and features VR-interaction.
The HTC is also a trend – in 2016, the company contributed $ 100 million to develop its platform Vive. HTC is developing a product line HTC RE and their head-mounted display has long been a rival of Oculus Rift. HTC not only develops its own products but also creates an accelerator for the VR-startups. June 21 in San Francisco passed a demo day on their accelerator Vive X, in which 26 companies have demonstrated their technology.
The other big market players also contributed – Sony company in 2015 acquired the developer of spatial gesture recognition systems Softkinetic Systems’ , as Samsung has announced to invest $ 6 million in the US startup Baobab Studios, which specializes in animated virtual reality.
Large companies issue their own virtual reality headset (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR), while developing exclusive games and software just for them. But things can change if manufacturers will begin to interact with each other, share experiences, promote the technology of virtual reality. To this end, major companies in the sector were established at the end of 2016 at Global the Virtual Reality Association (GVRA), which will deal with the development and promotion of VR. The association includes Acer (Starbreeze), Google (Cardboard , Daydream), HTC (Vive), Facebook (Oculus Rift), Samsung (Gear VR) and Sony (PlayStation VR) and others.
If you want to navigate the vast flow of AR / VR-company note that The Venture Reality Fundtogether with the French LucidWeb assembled complete industrial VR-ecosystem, which includes more than 300 companies.
Investors in VR and AR market
The company CB INSIGHTS in one infographic collected funds, which most actively investing in VR and AR technologies. In the first three, of course, foreign companies:
- Rothenberg Ventures – the most active investors in the industry, with a focus on so-called “frontier technologies”. River Accelerator firm invests in VR and AR startups at lower levels.One of their recent transactions was an agreement with VR Medtech, which develops surgical robotics Vicarious Surgical.
- BoostVC – accelerator, aimed at blockchain technology and virtual reality. The latter company is to invest Boost Vizor , based on Finland’s VR platform for content creation.
- Vive X – Accelerator from VR HTC headset manufacturer. In their latest accelerator startups participated, working in all sectors, from corporate tools ( Snobal ) before the football athletic training ( Soccerdream ).
Virtual Reality in the Russian market is also well represented by start-ups, large or small. Of those who turned out exactly, you can select a startup Fibrum, which last year reached an agreement with the German Media Markt retail chains and Gravis for the supply of its head-mounted display. Another interesting project – a motorcycle helmet augmented reality LiveMap , the final version of which will be presented at CES 2018.
Objects of virtual reality
By VR subjects we include all of the devices that we use for immersion in the virtual world. It can be:
- Suit virtual reality
- Points VR
- VR room
Suit virtual reality – a device that allows a person to plunge into the world of virtual reality. This suit is completely isolated from the outside world, inside which are a video screen, a multichannel sound system and electronic device, acting on the nerve endings of skin, or causing the illusion touches, for example, the wind is blowing.Now the production of the suit is inappropriate due to its high cost, so for partial immersion in a virtual space usually use a helmet and gloves of virtual reality.
However, it is worthy of the title suit of virtual reality haptic costume from the American startup NullSpace VR . A device called Hardlight weighs only half a kilogram and is intended for the upper half of the body. The costume attached sensors and vibro motors, which are responsible for different muscle groups. With Hardlight user can experience the sensation of touch objects in virtual reality. Now the company’s website, you can pre-order the device.
A simpler and cheaper way to experience the charm of new technology – glasses and head-mounted display . Once a person puts on such a device, all he sees – is a virtual world. This, for example, the main difference between virtual reality glasses and augmented reality glasses. Points of virtual reality – it’s like headphones, but only for the eyes.
In 2016, according to Super Data, there was a purchase of about 6.3 million of these VR-set. A sales leaders are:
- Oculus Rift
- HTC Vive
- Samsung Gear VR
- Sony HMZ-T1
- Silico MicroDisplay ST1080
The price for these devices ranges from $ 100 to $ 900.
Virtual reality gloves are most popular among fans of virtual games. Often, they look like ordinary gloves Hashanah, but are able to read the movement of the arms and simulate them on the screen using the game engine. The cost of a pair of gloves – $ 200-500. The most interesting device can include the development of the Chinese company Dextra Robotics.
Dexmo Gloves can transmit physical sensations of human interaction with the virtual objects. They monitor 11 degrees of freedom of movement of the user’s hand and act on every single finger when touching the hand to the virtual object. Surprisingly, if you take in hand the virtual stone, thumb drive will not allow you to squeeze a hand stronger than if the stone was indeed in your hands:
Besides Dextra Robotics, gloves provide Oculus, Contact Ci, Manus VR, HTC and other companies.
VR-room (or System of the CAVE , a cave) provides the most complete effect of immersion in the virtual world. The main advantages of the room before helmets – it’s a high resolution image, low tracking delay, wide field of view, the tracking of the head and the space “mouse” over the entire volume of the room, and if necessary, and the entire body, including the fingers (if, in addition to use the suit and gloves virtual reality).
The price of this room, of course, not $ 100 like a helmet, but reduced following the release of more affordable 3D-projectors.
Install VR-room in the apartment is unreasonable, but to try what it is, it is already possible in entertainment outlets. In Moscow, for example, game center quests ExitGames launched Russia’s first virtual reality room on the basis of technology developed by HTC Vive. The game lasts 60 minutes, while 5 persons can participate. These rooms are in Moscow, there are at MSU. However, in these students do not play and conduct scientific experimentation.
The future of virtual reality
First, virtual and augmented reality, developed for military and medical needs, over time, these technologies have to progress in the game industry … That will be next, experts build different forecasts.
So, Maykl Abrash, Chief Researcher of Oculus, the Connect conference in November 2016 made a few predictions about the state of the industry in the next five years. Abrash said that it is important to improve the visual quality. Naturally Man has a field of view of approximately 220 degrees – about 120 pixels per degree. Current helmets, such as Rift and Vive, offer 100 degree field of view and resolution 1080 × 1200, which is equivalent to approximately 15 pixels per degree. According to him, in five years we hope to double the number of pixels per degree – up to 30 – with the expansion of the field of view up to 140 degrees with a resolution of about 4000 × 4000 per eye.
Abrash touched upon the addition of real-world elements into a virtual, called him “augmented virtual reality.” Future helmets can scan the space and move things out of the user’s physical environment in VR applications. Also relevant may become a “teleportation” user to shoot in the real-time location. In fact, it looks like a mixed reality. Abrash clarifies helmets augmented virtual reality will be very different from the helmet augmented reality, because they allow not only impose a schedule, but also to control each pixel in the mixed stage.
According to Shell, the development of VR need to improve technologies that contribute to tactile sensations. Shell predicts particularly popular controllers for virtual reality like Oculus Touch or those used for the HTC Vive helmet. According to him, such controllers gives users a sense of tactile interaction and therefore show a lot better than the system tracks the movement of the hands.
AR for the need for new technologies, and the sooner the better. According to Shell, modern devices augmented reality too heavy and uncomfortable, and it will be many years before the technology will evolve so that we can create points, which would be no different from the usual. But no one wants to put on his glasses and look stupid.