Innovation Watch: What’s next for VR?
Virtual Reality (VR) made huge waves in the event scene when it first became available. Now, as 2018 draws to a close, we take a look at the technology to see what we can expect in 2019 and beyond.
VR has always been enticing. The promise of being able to step into a new world just by putting a headset on set imaginations alight around the world and made people’s bank accounts recoil at the up-front costs.
Ah, those costs. The HTC Vive debuted in 2016 at nearly £800 and the Oculus Rift at about £550. It meant that aside from enthusiasts the way most people experienced VR was at events. It’s hardly an understatement to say VR took the Experiential world by storm. We even wrote about it in Campaign back in 2016.
However, prices are dropping and (comparatively) cheap alternatives like Samsung Gear VR and PlayStation VR have hit the market. With Virtual Reality firmly in the mainstream, we wanted to look at what’s next?
VR currently does a great job of tracking your head movement, not so much your eyes. Companies like Tobii and Apple-owned SMI are working on this exact thing. The benefit of eye tracking is all in the detail: when we look at something, the area in front of your eyes sees the most detail. The areas to the side, your peripherals, detect motion well but not in as much clarity. With eye tracking VR headsets will be able to see where you’re looking and adjust detail accordingly, rather than a single flat image. It’ll also speed up interacting with objects as programs will understand what you’re looking at. Finally, you can animate eyes properly! That means less of those creepy, doll-like expressions.
Removing ‘Screen Doors’
There’s one big problem that’s plagued VR from its introduction: the screen door effect. It’s where you can see the individual pixels on a screen, which some people have likened it to viewing the world through a screen door. Virtual Reality headsets place your eyes so close to the screen that you need an extremely high-resolution display to avoid this problem. Only now are we starting to see computing power with enough performance to display images on these screens while keeping the high-framerate that the technology needs to stop you feeling sick.
Stubbing your toe sucks. Stubbing your toe with a VR headset will ruin your day. And using VR with pets running around under your feet? That’s just for daredevils. To combat this systems have previously required you to either set up external cameras or lasers around your desired ‘play’ area. Newer VR headsets are starting to include built in cameras that automatically scan the room for objects to help you avoid them. That means less prior set up and a massive boost in convenience.
This one’s simple. That confusing clutter if cables is starting to become a thing of the past. Good riddance!
We’re excited to see where VR will go next, and if Augmented Reality or Mixed Reality technologies will become viable alternatives. Despite its skyrocketing popularity putting a Virtual Reality headset still has the power to create an unmatched sense of awe. More of that please!