Is Virtual Reality the New Reality?

A simple idea that has grown into innovation for the future is Virtual reality. We are exposed to this technology everyday even if we do not realize it. It started out as a simple concept like the Snapchat filters that we use almost everyday. Eventually this filter moved to other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, but is this simple filter becoming the new norm? It has definitely evolved in becoming more than just a simple filter but a big step for other augmented reality ideas. Read More

The New Reality (AR Breakdown)

I have only paid attention to Augmented Reality for a few years now but it has been going on since the late 90’s. AR is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. If I really wanted to, I could have a Smurf juggling apples in front of me. In reality that is, not happening but I am visualizing it through a screen. That leads me to ask the question; what is reality? With the growth rate of AR and its relative VR, otherwise known as Virtual Reality. Our realities are about to change, if they haven’t already.

PAST

AR began its life back in the olden days, well, by olden days I mean 1998. It first appeared as the yellow first down line that you see on TV while watching a football game. The term Augmented Reality was coined eight years earlier by Boeing researcher Thomas Caudell. Back then it wasn’t a serious topic but now they have evolved AR into such things like the Google glass and heads-up displays in car windshields.

CURRENT

Technology Companies are taking advantage of this and using it to evolve their apps on mobile devices. Snapchat for example, uses AR to allow users to wear an augmented mask, otherwise known as a Snapchat filter. IKEA uses AR on their app to allow customers to visualize what a piece of furniture may look like in their house before they even buy it.

FUTURE

AR is heading in a very impressive direction. Holograms becoming a reality are very near. Microsoft and multiple other companies have dedicated teams to working on such a project. AR and VR are working with each other as well, allowing users to take advantage of the benefits from both Virtual and Augmented Reality. It’s a multi-dimensional reality.

IMPORTANCE

AR is not just some toy people can play with either. Multiple industries use the innovative technology, including: healthcare, public safety, gas and oil, tourism, and marketing.

“Neural implants could accomplish things no external interface could: Virtual and augmented reality with all five senses; augmentation of human memory, attention, and learning speed; even multi-sense telepathy – sharing what we see, hear, touch, and even perhaps what we think and feel with others.” –Ramez Naam

It’s amazing technology; use it to your advantage.

Take a Step Into Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has started becoming more and more well-known in the gaming industry. It adds much more immersive and engaging qualities to a game, and now that it has been around for awhile, inventors are coming up with new ways it can be integrated into games.

The Japanese firm, known as Cerevo, has come out with Taclim. Taclim is a set of virtual reality shoes. As you have probably already guessed, the purpose behind this is to allow users to feel the virtual world through their feet. Each shoe has 3 sensors, two on the bottom of the shoe (one at the front and one at the rear), and the other is located a top of the foot. While wearing the shoes, a person can feel water splashing, a wooden floor creaking, snow crunching, and even soft sand beneath their feet.

Imagine fighting someone or something in a game and kicking them. With Taclim, you would easily be able to feel the difference between kicking your opponent, or kicking his/her shield. This is exactly what Cerevo is going for.

This newest addition to the virtual reality world is certainly a positive one. However, there are some downfalls. The lucky people who were able to try this out said it felt awkward, and the shoes were quite big and clunky. They felt uncomfortable doing a kicking motion, because the shoes felt like they were going to fall off. They also felt odd to walk in. They were instructed to stand in place and shuffle their feet in order to experience the different “textures”. While doing this not only did they feel awkward, but the shoes were heavy on their feet. Obviously, with every new invention, there will be positive and negative feedback.

Taclim is worth somewhere between $1000 – $1500, and will be available in late 2017. So far it is only compatible with Google VR, which explains why it’s so pricey. Hopefully it will become compatible with more than just Google, because otherwise it might not sell too well.

So the question is would you buy this? Or is this just another silly gimmick that the gaming industry has come up with. With the release date being sometime this year, we will have to patiently wait.

High-Tech Fishing Drone Creates Waves

If you’ve ever been fishing, then you know that most of your time is spent waiting for a bite. Usually this would be paired with hanging out with friends, working on your tan, and enjoying a few bevvies. However, if you’re fishing purely for sport, and you want to prove your “fish-catching” worth, then this new piece of tech is for you. UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and PowerVision have come out with the PowerRay, a sure-fire way to catch all the fish you could imagine.

The PowerRay is an underwater drone that allows someone to heighten their fishing experience. The drone uses sonar to detect fish, the underwater landscape, and temperature info, which is then sent to the user’s WiFi. It has the capability of taking 4K videos and photos and streaming them directly to your smartphone. It submerges up to 30 meters, can spot fish up to 40 meters away and lures them in with a blue LED light.  With the drone’s impressive camera, you can also take photos in 12 megapixel resolution using the 100-degree wide-angle lens.

Another impressive capability is the use of Virtual Reality. It provides a first-person interactive view with the use of Virtual Reality. You can strap on a V.R. headset and, simply by turning and tilting your head, you can drive the drone below the surface of the water. This adds more of a gaming aspect to the device.

Recreational fishing has basically been the same ever since it’s beginning, which was a whopping 7000 years ago. So, this update to the ancient past-time is huge for the fishing industry. Some of the “old school” fisherman might not be too keen on using this to catch their fish, however, I think a younger demographic would. Wally Zheng, the CEO of PowerVision, says, “PowerRay is going to provide more efficiency, thrill, and fun to fishermen around the world”.

Fishing isn’t something I do, however, this underwater drone would definitely get me out on a boat attempting to make a catch. The price is still unknown. However, the company’s recently released aerial drone, the PowerEgg, runs for approximately $1200, so expect to pay roughly the same.

PowerVision will be taking pre-orders in February 2017.

Virtual Reality Therapy

Virtual reality (VR) is not only for gaming, but it is also used to treat mental disorders, such as anxiety. Virtual reality is used as a form of therapy that helps treat phobias, such as the fear of heights and the fear of flying, by putting the individual in a life-like plane that the software creates by mimicking the sounds, sights, and feelings that one would get when flying on a plane. Although the VR has been around for many years, it is not widely available due to its cost. Patients who do use this form of treatment only use it for a limited number of times per session. During these sessions, it helps them to identify and recognize a change in disturbing thoughts and feelings, all in a controlled environment. The main challenge with the virtual reality treatment is the lack of clinical evidence and supportive data.

Virtual Reality is quite amazing once you’ve had a chance to try it out with either the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Once you start doing something in the virtual reality, it feels so life like because you have to reach down if the object is on the ground like you would in real life. VR is like a trick that makes our brains believe it is somewhat real when we in fact know that it is not real. The software is customizable depending on what It’s being used for like gaming or a treatment method.

I find virtual reality therapy extremely interesting because I have a phobia called Arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders and many creepy crawlers. I’m curious if being put into a virtual reality with them would help me get over my fear. I found that after researching more about VR therapy that Canada had brought two copies of the software in 2014 for $17,000 each. It’s nice to know there are treatments like Virtual reality to help treat mental disorders without the use of drugs. Virtual Reality is mainly used right now because it is very expensive to buy the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. I’m very excited to see what they will come up with next for the Virtual Reality treatment and how they will  improve its use in the future. I am definitely a big fan of Virtual Reality because it is so mind blowing to know what you are able to do while playing with this software.

 

I-MMA Smash

A couple months ago I heard that the second years were making a Virtual Reality game as a project. Yes it appears I’ve come back to my first post about VR, but I started thinking about how we might end up doing the same thing in our second year. As I kept pondering the subject and mulling it over and over, I had an idea that we could do something of the sort; albeit maybe a little more mentally tasking as a class.

My proposal is this.. We create a game for PC or console (if possible), that is based off the all time favorite, Super Smash Bros. Now first off you might think that VR would be a bigger challenge, and in certain aspects you would be correct. What I believe would be the bigger challenge, would be inputting the physics, the damage calculators, and all of the game’s rules and logistics that would allow it to run and play just like a typical game of Smash. I don’t think we could pull off anything as amazing as the newer versions of the game at all, but I believe we could still make an older version and still have it work.

I feel as if this would give us big test of our skills, not only the developers, but also the designers who would have to make all the concept art and graphics for the game. This would not only give us a good project to focus on and hone our skills with, but it would also give us a good opportunity to add something we created from scratch to our portfolios. I believe it would be very beneficial to add to a resume, especially if we managed to get some writes to publish it as an indie game on PC or Console.

Although publishing it is a bit of a leap, I think it would still be a great idea for a final project in the course. Even if we managed to get the basics set, it would make for a class project to work on at a later date. We could even use it as a project and try to fund the work through Kickstarter.

So my question for you is what do you think? Do you think having this as a project for next year is a good idea?

Virtual Reality

The Future of VR, Where are we headed?

To answer where we are headed we have to look at where we are. For the moment, the closest we have come to true virtual reality, are headsets that we put on, maybe the odd body suit that show us a reality, but we are not truly experiencing it. Although there is a few places where companies have converted entire warehouses to be used as a virtual reality where they can program the walls to look like the inside of an actual reality while you wear a headset and harness while you walk around. I honestly find this quite dull and looking at where people hope to be headed in the next 20-30 gives me some hope for the future of Virtual Technology.

nervegearThe idea for Virtual Reality and looking into it first came to me from the Japanese television show called Sword Art Online. The virtual reality mentioned in this show is the real deal and how it works, well, essentially by putting a device over your head, it connects to your brain and induces a sort of sleep paralysis while the headset then downloads & uploads your brain into this other world. In truth, there are quite a few problems and risks with this as of right now. In theory it could be possible but the technology required to do this is purely fanatical due to the fact that we still have no way of replicating the speed needed to communicate with our brains. This tech is currently being worked on, but scientists do not see this happening until at least the late 2030’s to the mid 2040’s. This tech when created will definitely cause some controversy but the lure is far too great to not explore.

I honestly think the reason why TRUE Virtual Reality is so alluring is because of the boundaries it would drop. The laws of physics would be pretty much non-existent. Think about it, going home after a hard day of work, and putting on this headset for a bit after supper and then leaving all the restrictions of the “real” world behind. If you wanted to, you could fly through the air, run insanely fast, or swim and explore to new depths in this created ocean. The possibilities are only restricted by our imagination!

For more information visit the following link: The Future of Virtual Reality.