Virtual reality is a type of technology that allows a person to perform actions in a digital environment while yet feeling immersed in the real world.
The goal of virtual reality is to allow people to interact with their surroundings as if they were in the actual world. Augmented reality (AR), on the other hand, is a technology that combines digital data into the user’s real-world surroundings.
A computer provides sensory cues in a virtual reality environment, and the virtual visitor’s actions can influence what happens in the digital environment. Users must wear a VR headset or haptic glove to interact with this type of artificial world at this time in development.
Virtual reality is predicted to play an increasingly essential technical role in the construction of immersive metaverse experiences as technology advances.
The headset, which looks like a thick pair of goggles that goes over your eyes, is the most significant part of a virtual reality setup. Some cheaper headsets employ a cellphone clipped to the front of the headset to run apps and games, while others require a computer connection to run apps and games.
All headsets require a good pair of headphones, and there are a variety of optional devices ranging from hand controllers to treadmills that are designed to enhance your virtual sensation of being in another world. Hand controllers, as well as typical gaming joypads, transform your real-world motions into whatever game or program you’re playing.
Similar to smartphone app shops, VR systems offer their own app stores where you can explore and download games and apps. Some of these stores can be accessed directly from the device, while others, such as the VR section of the Steam digital games store, can be accessed via your computer.
VR in other aspects
Games are a big deal in current VR, partially because the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR headsets were designed with gamers in mind, and partly because games are the most simply accessible entertainment category to demonstrate the technology. But, as Mark Zuckerberg emphasized after Facebook announced its acquisition of Oculus VR, it’s about a lot more than just gaming.
- Filmmaking and journalism
Hundreds of developers are working on virtual reality games, but there is also a lot going on in the worlds of entertainment and media. Journalists, filmmakers, and an increasing number of documentary filmmakers are turning to 360-degree cameras to find new perspectives on topics.
- Music and sports
Would you watch a virtual football match or a music concert? A number of businesses are hoping so and working to develop the necessary technology.
NextVR focuses on sport and entertainment, having already worked on the US Open tennis tournament, multiple boxing fights, and a live Coldplay performance. It is planning a series of music performances with Live Nation, a live promoter.
One of the most compelling features of virtual reality technology is its capacity to transport you to places you’d be unlikely to visit in person, whether because they’re too expensive, too dangerous, out of reach due to mobility concerns, or simply because you don’t like traveling.
You can already use virtual reality to climb Everest, visit the Grand Canyon, ride a gondola in Venice, and watch a variety of breathtaking 360-degree footage from GoPro, the maker of wearable cameras. Even further out, Mars 2030 will allow you to explore the Martian surface.
- Social Media
Oculus has released “Social Beta” software that allows users to view Twitch and Vimeo videos in a virtual cinema with other people. It also demonstrated Toybox, a virtual toy-room prototype in which two individuals can engage with a variety of objects simultaneously.
Social VR is also being explored by IT businesses. AltspaceVR, which is already available for some headsets, wants people to “be together in a more natural way than a phone conversation, text, or video chat” by creating avatars and strolling about its virtual landscapes. Its competitor, vTime, is available for Gear VR, Oculus Rift, and Google Cardboard, and bills itself as a “sociable network” for avatar-based communication.