Home > Uncategorized > The Future Of VR – #ThePatch 151

The Future Of VR – #ThePatch 151

If you haven’t watched the latest episode of The Patch, I’d suggest doing so before continuing.

VR is great. It’s a 100% immersive experience in a number of different ways. This is primarily achieved by a mix of high quality graphics, and a certain amount of sensory deprivation. And this is where The Patch comes in.

Ashley, quite rightly in some sense, called me out on my “bullshit” that VR headsets won’t “normalise” in future iterations. And she has a point. Technology has an incredibly ability to make itself smaller, and smaller, and smaller than you could ever think possible; phones, computers, personal tech devices, everything. So it stands to reason that VR will do the same.

Except, at least in my opinion, it won’t. Or rather, it can’t.

I’d absolutely love a slimline, almost glasses like VR experience. But those things can’t mix. For VR to truly be VR, there needs to be no visual intrusion from the environment around you. Why? Because that’s where VR and AR become one. The point of VR is that when you “look” for something, it’s where you expect it to be. That can be either moving your head, or moving your eyes. But if you turn your head and expect to see something, and your own living room is there instead, the immersion that you were supposed to be enjoying is gone. And we have a lot of evidence for this, with Microsoft’s Hololens. When it worked, it was flawless. Absolutely flawless. But listening to the people who tried it, there was one problem. Once you looked out of where you were supposed to, the VR was broken. And that was with a half virtual, half augmented headset.

Now clearly the issue here is the AR part, and not the VR part, right? I don’t think so. I’ve had some experiences with AR in the past, and it is absolutely incredible, much like VR. But it’s all about expectations. You “expect” AR to be something additive to your environment, and you expect VR to be a wholly new environment. Once those expectations are either not met, or changed like Hololens, the experience is gone.

So what does that have to do with the Patch? Well, the consensus of the crew was that VR will, as with almost all other technologies, become smaller and smaller and smaller until it’s nothing more than a pair of glasses. This was to aid the normalisation of VR headsets, which was the issue I raised on Twitter. People couldn’t get used to Google Glass; a thin, silver and glass headset no bigger than the frame of a pair of glasses. How are people going to get used to big headsets on your face? I mean, we saw what “the future” looked like at WMC this year. Smaller VR headsets would work for that though, but they won’t work for VR. And that is the issue.

For VR headsets to become smaller and smaller, you have to forgo the entire point of VR. That 100% immersion is gone. There are, however, slim video goggles already. Many professional Drone Cinematographers use small wireless video goggles to give their camera operators a proper live camera view. Though this isn’t an immersive experience by any mean, it is the direction I see VR going. Not totally tiny, but small enough to then be normal.

What’s important here is that AR and VR development remain separate, until both technologies plateau their development. That will provide for continued, 100% immersive VR, and (hopefully) accurate, environment based AR. That, to me , is the real future of VR and AR.

Wow, there’s an essay…

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