Virtual reality is basically a technology which uses VR headsets to generate life-like images, sounds and other sensory feelings replicating a real environment or creating an imaginary scenario and setting. Virtual reality also replicates the user who is wearing the VR headset’s physical presence in that imaginary scenario and settings wherein he can interact with the elements present in the VR generated scene and can get the full virtual reality experiences.
The person using the headset can look and move around in the artificial world interacting with all the items created in that virtual world using the virtual reality equipment. VR is also defined as an immersive, realistic and interactive simulation of a 360-degree 3-Dimensional environment which is created by the use of computer software and hardware and controlled and experienced by moving the body. Virtual Reality places the user inside an experience, unlike traditional systems where the users view a screen in front of them, here the users are inside the simulated 3D world and can interact with it.
To add more realism to the VR games or applications Advanced haptic feedback/kinesthetic systems are used to provide the user to experience vibrations, tactile feedback & other sensations through a controller. Recently, researchers at the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, unveiled the system which using low Electrical Muscle Stimulation pulse for 300 milliseconds to ‘shocks’ the user to create the sensation of walking into a virtual reality wall.
Another word which you hear along with virtual reality is that of augmented reality or AR. Augmented reality is also a type of virtual reality which blends the users’ real surroundings with digitally generated content. Most AR systems use the camera of the mobile phone or other mobile devices to capture what the user sees around him and enhances it with virtual objects, as was shown and applied successfully by the game Pokemon go for catching Pokemon in the user’s real surroundings.
What are the differences between VR and AR?
For virtual reality experiences one need to wear hand-held controller or a head-mounted display (VR headset) like Oculus, HTC Vive which helps in creating an imaginary reality world for entertainment, gaming, medical world or solutions for industries where it can be used for training purposes by creating a simulated environment of the actual real world. An example would be pilots practicing on a flight simulator or a blue collar worker practicing the production assembly line. VR is driven entirely by computer generated reality
AR, on the other hand, helps us interact with the existing reality by adding a layer of computer-generated digital components to improve and enhance over it. It is created in the apps and used on mobile devices. These enhancements can be differentiated easily.
According to a report from Entertainment Software Association, 11% of US households own a VR device.
1 in 3 of the most frequent gamers indicating that they will buy virtual reality hardware this year
Where Can Virtual Reality Be Used?
VR is used in a multitude of industries and situations; let us take a look at how we can use VR
One of the most enthusiastic champions of VR is the entertainment sector. VR is a place where you can view videos that are all around you. It surrounds you. You can interact with the characters. These experiences would not even seem like normal films as you are an active participant in it.
You can change the size of the screen, move the screen. You can even choose to change the landscape in which you are sitting. This kind of VR experiences will bring a revolution to cinema viewing. If the movie which you are watching is shot in 360 degrees, you can even step into the film and be a part of it. This are experiences which are not possible in the conventional movie watching. VR movie watching is like owning your own IMAX theater.
With 360-Degree VR Streaming services gaining ground, the virtual reality experience is going to be even more fun. If you are thinking of buying a Virtual Reality device, this would be the perfect time for it. Movie streaming giant Netflix’s VR app is a godsend; you can enter the Netflix’s Void Theater which immerses you in the movie just like IMAX’s screen do.
As of today most of the development in virtual reality experience is happening in the video games industry. VR solutions and applications are giving the game designers and creators the incredible freedom to take the games to new places which were not possible in the past.
It is also helping the game developers and companies to reach out to new audiences who use to find it cumbersome to use the controllers and gaming mouse with their numerous buttons to get them to play the games using VR gadgets. VR has the potential to breed a new segment of unique game experiences. The current games allow the player to control the various virtual characters, Virtual reality makes you the character, puts you into the game scenarios.
According to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc. the size of Virtual Reality In the gaming market would be worth $45.09 Billion By 2025
VR is going to shake the shopping world with some of the biggest names in online shopping world moving to use these technologies. Alibaba has launched Buy+ where you can walk around a virtual mall and make purchases. Ikea allows people to design the kitchen of their dreams in the virtual world. Australian retailer Myer teamed with eBay to create the world’s first Virtual Reality departmental store. One of the biggest online shopping sites, ASOS has also taken a huge step to provide VR shopping experience for their users where they can purchase the products from ASOS using their VR headset.
The military has adopted virtual reality in a big way for training purposes. It is used to train armed force personnel in dangerous and combat situations where they learn how to navigate, deal and react in a given situation without the risk of injury, death or other real-world risks. Using VR for such training purpose is cost efficient and safer when compared to the traditional training methods. Some situations where the use of VR experience helps the military personnel is Battlefield simulation, flight simulation, adapting to hostile terrains, medical training in a battlefield situation, parachute landing in enemy territory, etc.
Virtual reality helps the military to train their new recruits in techniques and skills necessary to function in the stressful hostile environments before they are deployed. Situations are created for them to react to scenarios like, coming under enemy fire, hitting enemy targets with their VR guns, rescuing fellow teammates from the enemies, etc. It is a known fact that training which captures the attention of the user is more beneficial as they can understand it better and retain it longer. With the immersive world VR creates, it helps more in engaging the recruits with the training procedures.
These days VR experience is also used for treating soldiers who have Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Soldiers who have PTSD, psychological problems and other kinds of battlefield trauma can learn how to deal with their symptoms in the safe and secure VR environment, and they learn to gradually adjust to such traumatic conditions and help them to cope with unexpected situations which arise in actual combat situations.
Tourism & Exploration
Virtual tourism is also getting big. If you cannot visit a place, you can use VR solutions to experience and recreate the feelings of being there. You can visit the moon, London, north poles, Louvre, Guggenheim or Stonehenge. You can watch a 360-degree view of the place of your choice. You can have a virtual walkthrough around famous and historic sites.
You can visit museums and art galleries, and instead of passive engagement you can actively interact with the artefacts kept there. You can have a VR experience of traveling to Egypt, Los Angeles or theMoon on the same day. Children generally do not like visiting museums, they find it boring and annoying. But with the help of VR equipment and solutions, they enjoy the process as they can engage with the articles, know about their origins in a much interactive way and its a nice way for the museums and art galleries to get a new audience for themselves.
The American Museum of Natural History in New York City has made most of its artefacts & collections to be virtually accessible through the use of Google Cardboard. People can download the application on their smartphone, and with the help of a Google Cardboard VR, they can take a virtual tour of the museum.
Virtual reality solutions for real estate industries are also gaining ground. Imagine sitting miles away from the prospective property and you can walk through it, see the various rooms, check out the interiors, place life-size models of the furniture, change the colors and see if it fits with the interior. All this is possible with the help of VR solutions, the technical advancement that VR is.
At Juego Studios, we have developed realistic virtual reality experience for the real estate sector. We have rendered realistic environment of properties. It gives the user the experience of moving around the house and visit the various rooms, check the interiors, the floor planning with a 360-degree view of the room. Prospective buyers can experience the complete house sitting anywhere using any VR HMD like HTC Vive, Google cardboard, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, etc.
VR Experience Video for Real Estate
One of the other big adopters of the VR technologies is the healthcare sector. Using VR solutions the healthcare industries impart skills training, conduct surgery simulation, do robotic surgery and treat phobias. It helps healthcare professionals to refresh their existing skills and learn new skills within the safe virtual environment without harming and endangering the lives of their patients. With the aid of VR tools and sensors, it helps the doctors, medical personnel, and nurses to interact in an immersive 3D environment and measures their emotions in stressful medical procedures.
VR also helps the patients to explore some uncomfortable situation in the protective and caring simulation. It can help the psychologists to explore their patients’ behavior in a simulated situation and better diagnose their conditions. Recent studies have shown that VR can be such a distraction that it can be used as an effective painkiller when compared to the traditional medicines.
Just because you are wearing a headset does not mean you are alone. You can connect with friends and strangers far and away, have a chat with them, watch videos and movies with them, play games with them. All this is becoming possible with the developments in the Virtual Reality industry. It is a pretty awesome concept and it is already out there. Companies are creating apps for social virtual reality, and it is an excellent way to connect, create and learn.
Facebook recently launched its beta version of Facebook Spaces Oculus Rift + Touch. Mark Zuckerberg has always been ambitious to bring social interaction in the 3 Dimension virtual world, as he had once said: “VR is going to be the most social platform.” Anyone with the Rift can connect their Facebook account and join their friends who are in the Oculus ecosystem and can watch videos, make video calls, take VR selfies, chat, draw, etc.
Other companies in this field like Tabletop Simulator, SportsBar VR allow you to play board games, air hockey, bowling, chess, etc. These are the ultimate in social VR experience.
This space is going to get even more fun and interactive with the launch of SANSAR a social VR platform from the makers of Second Life, Linden Lab. It will let users create all kinds of virtual reality experiences, create virtual worlds and monetize their creations.
VR in education sector has been successfully adopted for learning and teaching needs. It helps a large number of students to interact with a 3-Dimensional world. Virtual reality helps model the world in an incredibly immersive and visual way. It allows the users to expand and shrink the world, enter it and play with it. VR transports us to the most astonishing & unbelievable places on our planets.
History students can take a virtual class trip to ancient civilizations, observe & interact with the surroundings. Medical students can practice surgeries and procedures, and these allow them to make mistakes without any of risks to the patient and be prepared for unexpected situations. Architecture students can use the tools and build a virtual building, and interior design students can design the interiors of that building with the aid of VR tools. Astronomy students can learn more about the solar systems & galaxies. They can move around the planets, see around the moon, see the path of the comets and track them using VR simulated space.
Children these days are quite familiar with all forms of technology and use them in their everyday use and use them without the fear and hesitation to try any new gadgets. It, therefore, makes sense to teach them using the various VR technologies available to them to learn in a fully immersive way, and the VR experience will bring the joy of learning new concepts and interacting with them. These tools make the children gain the knowledge easily, understand it and retain what they have learned for a longer period.
Best Options To Experience Virtual Reality
Virtual reality headsets come in a few different forms. There are low-cost headsets that work with your smartphones, and then there are the much more expensive setups that require gaming consoles or PCs with powerful configurations and gaming hardware and some amount of space to move around. Here are some popular headsets to experience virtual reality
Google Cardboard is just a piece of do-it-yourself cardboard which needs to be folded with embedded lenses. Cardboard is an ultimate enabler. It is VR solution at its simplest & cheapest form. This is the lowest priced among all the VR headsets available today. It’s a solution for low-cost VR experience which you can get for around $15 and build it yourself in five minutes, put your smartphone in the slot and you can experience VR. Google Cardboard works with both Android and iOS with apps available on both platforms. With Google Cardboard V2, you do not have to assemble it also, and it fits the larger phones too.
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR is currently the best available VR device for mobile VR experiences if you own a recent Samsung phone. Samsung Gear VR uses Oculus head-tracking technology. The Gear VR uses the phone’s screen as a stereoscopic display making it simpler and less expensive. It is completely wireless, has excellent head tracking feature and has got a library of solid apps and games. With the launch of its controller now you can interact with the VR world. The display lenses provide for 101 degrees of viewing.
Some features of Samsung Gear VR include 101-degree field of view, accelerometer, geomagnetic sensor, proximity sensor, gyroscope, focal adjustment dial, navigational touchpad
The latest edition of Samsung Gear VR along with the new controller costs around $130. If you have an earlier version of the Gear VR, you can just buy the controller for $40 and pair it with that.
Oculus Rift headset from Oculus VR has probably had the biggest contribution to the success of Virtual Reality hardware. Oculus Rift requires a PC with a high-end configuration to generate its graphics. It is much better than using a headset which makes you strap a smartphone to your face.
It is very easy to setup, the headset is comfortable to wear, and the touch controllers feel great in the hand. It has a smooth motion and head tracking system. The Oculus Rift produces a comfortable, crisp and immersive virtual experience for the eyes. At $599 it is costlier than other headsets. You get the Oculus Touch motion controllers bundled with the Rift headset at the same price.
One of the best tethered VR system out there in the market is the HTC Vive. HTC vice allows you to have a true whole room VR experience which is not possible with other VR solutions out there. HTC Vive contains a whole package of gadgets including the two motion controllers, the headset, two base stations to define the area.
Unlike the other VR headsets which track your motion only on your seating area HTC vive tracks you in a 15 X 15 ft area thus increasing your playable area. To get the full potential out of HTC Vive, you would need a powerful PC. With its movement tracking, natural 110-degree vision field, quality of controllers and available games it beats its competitor’s hands down.
Though at $799, Vive is expensive compared to every other VR headset out in the market but with its tie-up with Valve and availability of interesting games on the SteamVR platform it provides you the best room-scale virtual reality experience.
Google Daydream View
Google Daydream View is a fabric-coated VR headset an upgrade from its Google Cardboard headset which brings high-quality mobile VR experience to everyone. At $79 Daydream View is an inexpensive headset. Compared to its nearest phone based VR headset rival Samsung Gear VR, it is much cheaper. You can get a great VR experience using your Daydream View compatible phones. Though the best experience of using Daydream View comes from using Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL phones, some other phones which will give you immersive Daydream experiences are Moto Z, Moto Z Force, ZTE Axon 7, ASUS ZenFone AR, Huawei Mate 9 Pro.
Daydream View comes with a movement-sensing Daydream controller. It has a clickable touchpad, menu buttons, and a volume controller. With its integration with YouTube, Daydream View would allow you to enjoy the world of, user created, 360-degree videos.
Sony PlayStation VR
Sony PlayStation VR is an excellent low-cost alternative to an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. It is the first VR system which proves that console VR is possible and fun to use too. With it powerful, motion control support with compelling virtual reality, Sony PlayStation VR brings immersive VR experience to your PlayStation 4. Instead of a costly gaming PC, PlayStation VR uses your existing PlayStation 4 console.
Apart from the PlayStation VR headset, you would also need to buy a PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move Controllers. It is still cheaper than Oculus Rift and HTC Vive at $499 which includes the camera, 2 motion controllers, and the headset. The PS VR headset delivers a praiseworthy virtual reality experience.
PSVR is the fastest and most sold VR headset in the market today with over 900,000 units sold by Feb 2017, four months after its launch. With over 53 million units of PS4 already in people’s home and Sony selling PSVR as an add-on to it, the number of PSVR sold till now came as no surprise.
Top VR Experience Which You Should Experience Today
Developed by Icelandic studio Sólfar, Everest VR is a virtual reality experience you need to try. Some things in life like the ascent of Mount Everest need to be experienced first-hand, since it is not possible for the majority of the population; next best thing is to try scaling the Everest virtually. Everest VR brings the immersive experience of going up the most legendary summit on earth. More than 300,000 high definition images were used to build the mountain. You are surrounded by the mountains which will dwarf you by its sheer scale, and you will have the feeling of vulnerability and awesomeness of the geography. Overnight camping at Camp 4 is a beautiful part of the experience with its illuminated tents, where the experience of climbing physically inside your tent adds to the interactivity of the experience which is Everest VR.
Apollo 11 VR Experience
Created from funds generated entirely by a campaign on Kickstarter, creator David Whelan has created the story of arguably the greatest journey ever taken by mankind, the journey which resulted in the first ever landing on the moon by Neil Armstrong.
Apollo 11 is a breathtaking simulation of what it would have been like to go to the moon from the perspective of Neil Armstrong and others who were part of it. It uses original audio and video of Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin with detailed recreations of Apollo 11. This VR experience will let you take control of the spacecraft, fly it, land it on the moon and explore the moon’s surface.
Educational VR experiences like these are fast becoming the most compelling applications of virtual reality today.
David Attenborough’s First Life VR Experience
Sir David Attenborough’s First Life VR is an immersive educational virtual reality experience. You can watch this 15 minutes 360° VR journey to the Cambrian ocean 540 million years ago and see and interact with the extinct sea creatures like the Anomalocaris, Hallucigenia and five-eyed Opabinia and other early inhabitants of the earth and watch the dawn of life on the planet. You can watch this stunning 3D VR journey at National History Museum, Australian Museum, Science Museum, UK & at home on a PlayStation VR, Gear VR, etc.
David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Dive VR
Another educational VR experience developed by Alchemy VR in collaboration with Natural History Museum, UK is the award-winning VR production Great Barrier Reef Dive VR. With Sir Attenborough as your personal guide, you can course through this great natural wonder with its diversity and abundance, see the dangerous sharks, colourful fish and see how researchers are using these vivid coral reef systems to predict the environmental changes.
Great Barrier Reef Dive VR became the first ever BAFTA winner for virtual reality films. You can view this VR film on a Samsung Gear VR Innovator headset at Natural History Museum in London, Trondheim Science Museum in Norway & the Australian Museum in Sydney.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra VR Experience
Produced by the famed Los Angeles Philharmonic for its Immortal Beethoven event, the Orchestra VR is the first of its kind in the world. If you are a classical music fan, this is one experience in virtual reality you should not miss. Using cutting-edge technology and 40 strategically placed 3D microphones, Orchestra VR gives you a true immersive music experience. The app takes you right behind the famed conductor & music director of LA Phil Gustavo Dudamel as he leads the orchestra through the rendition of Fifth Symphony by Beethoven at the Walt Disney concert hall. You will able to see the light show accompanying the music further elevating your senses. You can download this experience free from Samsung Gear VR store, Oculus Share, or YouTube.
After creating Apollo 11 VR, David Whelan is again at it. This time he is taking the user on the maiden voyage of Titanic with the Titanic VR experience. He has again turned to Kickstarter for funding the project. With the tagline “Experience the sinking. Explore the wreck.” this one is going to be a truly immersive experience in all sense of words.
You can take control of your remotely operated vehicle & submersible and explore the shipwreck, complete various recovery tasks, scientific missions, and play treasure hunt game as well as witness the critical events of the journey through the eyes of people who survived the tragic accident.
It would be available on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, Desktop, and PS4.
If you are in New York, you can head over to Madame Tussauds where you can get the full body virtual reality walk-through experience, and it is completely wireless. It is fully immersive and completely interactive. Players are physically required to move around instead of being compelled to sit in a chair or a room as is currently possible with the prevailing VR experiences.Ghostbusters: Dimension is conceptualized and created by Salt Lake City, based hyper-reality immersive experience creator The Void.
In the Ghostbusters: Dimension using proprietary hardware the players can move around naturally and the physical stage and the virtual universe are created in such a way that you feel like being teleported into a real game.
You and your friends will go through the ghost infected building and with the provided proton pack and blaster gun trap the ghosts like in Ghostbuster movie. Ghostbusters: Dimension brings virtual reality immersion to a whole new level. With localized haptic feedback in the suit, you will feel ghosts passing through you. At $55, this is one experience everyone must experience to see what is possible and the future of virtual reality.
Ghostbusters: Dimension is also available at The Beach, opposite JBR in Dubai
With all the development happening in virtual reality sector this is the right time to get a virtual reality game or experience developed. We at Juego Studios, one of the world’s leading game & VR game development company and can help you bring your ideas to life in virtual reality.