The concept is simple. What is you see isn’t what is there. What is see is what could be there, what may have been there, what to steal a movie titles “dreams may come.” Virtual reality is the modification of existence to add the potential of world within a world. The addition of layers to what we perceive.
VR presents a change. I remember a few years ago being blown away by Avatar. First off as a long time Science Fiction aficionado the story was amazing, a retelling of Pocahontas in space. But the imagery captured in the new 3d format was just beyond worlds. Virtual Reality takes us one more step. Certainly you can using VR technology recreate any event. It can interacted with to produce new or different results. Or it can be replayed over and over with you as part of the scene, not viewing it. It is the reality that VR gives us. A world that can be viewed, interacted with and ultimately stored forever.
Today the VR world requires a mask to enter. Eventually we will have projectors that create the world around us, but for now you have to wear the mask. This spring two devices are appearing the Microsoft Hololens and the Occulus Rift. Both begin the initial foray into what world may come.
Embracing VR will take time. Today we have a significant amount of content in the 2-d world. It will take years to convert video libraries to VR libraries. The technology isn’t there yet for that conversion and there aren’t enough VR headsets available to even make the potential conversion cost effective. For now it will be like the great application Second Life was, a foray into a new world. Dipping your toes will be the first step.
VR however offers a new way of solving many problems. For those who occasionally work from home a VR office, actually puts everyone on equal footing. Hallway conversations would exist in the Virtual office, everyone could participate. Perhaps initially the heavier helmet/mask seen here could be built into your chair so you wouldn’t have to wear it. I suspect overtime the additional weight would cause neck pain.
In movies like the Minority Report we see a potential extension of VR into what could be possible. Not, the pre-cognition part but the technology of the movie. The extension of reality and virtual reality.
I have an oasis I escape to in my home office. I could with VR take that with me wherever I am. I could interact with my friends and family in a Virtual World that all of us have to travel to, making it equal footing for all.
The only thing I wonder about is disconnection. Will a group of people eventually give up the real world? I see that potential with some people, they live today virtually never if at all possible actually speaking with other people. posting only on Facebook and Twitter and never actually connecting with a real person. That would be the risk of this brave new world. A world where people aren’t real. I can see a day where the first question you ask in the VR world you are in is “are you a real person?” The answer you get may not be the answer you seek.
Technically still a real person…