The term VR is being tossed around a lot recently, especially with all the advancements in the Oculus Rift and now Sony’s Project Morpheus, along with Microsoft’s new HoloLens technology and Valve’s SteamVR.
The big virtual reality push started a couple years ago with the Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is a headset that displays different images to each eye effectively mimicking real life and providing an entirely new level of immersion. Immersion is the one thing that game developers are constantly pushing for; allowing the player to really feel as though they are playing through a real world. Following in Oculus’ footsteps, Omni is introducing a gaming treadmill that will allow players to physically walk, run, and turn around to different directions. The image below shows how both concepts come together.
Sony’s Project Morpheus is essentially the same concept as the Oculus Rift but will feature Sony proprietary technology. This means that Sony’s technology will be more closed source while the Oculus already supports independent development in an open source environment. This essentially means that anyone can purchase a development kit and start creating their games royalty free.
Valve’s SteamVR is still shrouded in mystery until next week and at this time all that’s really known for sure is that development is mostly complete and the company is actively seeking virtual reality developers.
The technology I’m personally most excited in would have to be the HoloLens by Microsoft. This one is slightly less virtual reality and more towards augmented reality. What that means is that the headset manipulates the environment you are in to produce images base on your surroundings. What makes the HoloLens really neat is that it has not only gaming uses, but can also be used in professional environments as such:
These images show a motorcycle being design and displayed as a full scale model in real time. This would be a complete game changer in engineering, architecture, and any other environment that works with modelling including video game development. But the HoloLens isn’t all just business, it can be used for gaming as well which is shown below.
The first is a Minecraft style game that was used at a press demo. It uses the real environment to display the virtual (or augmented) environment. The second game is a demo following the same lines.
The HoloLens wouldn’t be complete unless it could do holographic overlays in everyday life right? Well it turns out Microsoft was thinking the same thing.
Just to sweeten the deal a little more, Microsoft revealed that the HoloLens doesn’t require any additional hardware and will, in fact, work independent of other devices. Technology such as this can and will change how many people go about their daily lives and routines.
People are always wondering what the future of technology has in store for us. The future is on the horizon and it is quickly approaching.