You must have heard about Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, the film that was supposed to “stimulate interest to virtual reality in public.” Did the film reach the goal? Let’s find out.
The film, based on Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, depicts a beautiful virtual environment called Oasis, a beautiful surreal world where the laws of physics (and logic) don’t work. Oasis is a game, created by a weird yet very talented game designer. Every human being can choose an avatar for Oasis and upgrade it to an incredible level making it stronger, faster, richer, and more skillful. But you have to understand one thing: Ready Player One a family movie targeted at 11-year-old kids as well as at 71-year-old seeing-it-all grannies. It’s a bit simplistic, in other words. It’s the film about virtual reality that was supposed to provide viewers with entertainment, not with food for their heads.
But this movie still has the thing: Ready Player One speaks about virtual reality on the language most of us understand easily, it basically explains what virtual reality is using terms we all know.
You have an HMD, you put it on, and voila- you are inside a virtual world! This is the level of VR we all were dreaming about. Weren’t we?
But VR you see in Ready Player One is not similar to Virtual Reality we can experience today. It is different in many important ways, starting from VR devices and ending with virtual reality applications.
The virtual world in Ready Player One is easy to reach: if you have an HMD – you have everything you need. It’s not that difficult to dive into virtual reality: no need to adjusting anything or connecting your device with some powerful PC.
We also have high-end HMDs but it takes some time and efforts to attune them to work perfectly well. Unless you use a wireless device, you will need to spend more time than the main hero of Ready Player One to get inside.
BESIDES WHAT IS THE MOST POWERFUL VR DEVICE TODAY?
That, of course, depends on the purpose (if you need an insight on HMDs applications, it’s here). But all in all, today it’s HTC Vive PRO is the best solution for VR in terms of quality of resolution, field of view, and latency. It doesn’t require a powerful PC to send you into on a beautiful journey.
What was a full novelty to me is that you can send and receive messages in VR easily here and now?
Apart from HMD, in Ready Player One, they use omnidirectional treadmills to provide users with the permanent sense of movement in 360 degrees. Omnidirectional treadmills, for those who don’t know, are quite popular among VR users – they guarantee full freedom of movement. I checked it online – they are already available in some virtual reality arcades today. But omnidirectional treadmills are not about gaming and entertainment, they are inevitable for training.
This is how US Army uses treadmills for training today to improve soldiers’ muscle memory in critical situations. So not that far away?
Unfortunately, so far a high price for VR devices is one of the most serious obstacles for making VR mainstream. I am not even speaking of using omnidirectional treadmills. The cheapest VR goggles, Google carboard, costs $15, of course, but it’s not worth even this money.
HTC Vive cost around $800 today. That is why during the last quarter of 2017, the top three VR HMDs were: Sony PlayStation VR, Vive, and Oculus Rift, of course. Sony sold 490,000 PlayStation VR headsets, Oculus shipped 210,000 HMDs, and HTC sold 160,000 Vive units. The information regarding previous quarters is still unavailable.
It’s a positive tendency, of course, but this level of sales signifies that the interest to HMDs is slowly rising.
HAPTICS. FULL MOTION CAPTUREFORSYNCHRONIZATION OF MOVEMENTS.
The synchronization of heroes’ movements in “Ready Player One” is absolutely incredible. People in HMDs can jump, dance, fight in VR and all the movements are perfectly synchronized with their avatars.
Haptics is still not perfect today: even the best haptic suit, like Teslasuit that was introduced at the latest CES, is far from that awesome.
Teslasuit haptic feedback system uses “Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation and Electrical Muscle Stimulation” to provide users with, as they promise it, rich and absolute feedback. Motion capture technology with 11 sensors ensures a low-level latency and high-resolution output data. More than that, there is a temperature control.
SO HOW FAR ARE FROM TOTAL HAPTIC FEEDBACK?
Some experts in haptics for VR say that we are not that far. Jake Rubin, founder/CEO of HaptX says that the future depicted in the movie “isn’t 30 years in the future. I’m not even sure it’s 10 years in the future.”
Synchronization with other players in Ready Player One is immaculate: all the VR players find themselves in the same environment capable of interacting effortlessly.
This is provided with the help of an excellent level of bandwidth and powerful servers. What is more, millions, billions of people from different parts of the world can interact with each other with a perfect level of synchronization.
Today there are virtual meeting spaces available to companies who operate offices on different continents. It is possible to have meetings, conferences, meetups in virtual reality spaces uniting people from various parts of the world.
BUT HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN WE SYNCHRONIZE IN VR?
For instance, AltspaceVR, one of the most popular virtual reality platforms today, can host around 30 people in one room for today. To increase the number of people in VR spaces and to provide full synchronization it’s necessary to have servers on different continents. For a start. And a better level of bandwidth.
Because distance is still a problem. Even 1-second delay can disrupt the natural flow of conversation or interaction. I am not even speaking about interaction like dancing or fighting in virtual reality space!
To create fully immersive and immaculately responsive virtual reality as in Ready Player one, global back-end infrastructure and more powerful network bandwidth are required.
You can’t die in virtual reality. You just return to zero.
That’s probably the core difference between real reality and virtual reality that blows your mind. So far this difference is not accessible in any sense. Who knows, maybe it’s even for better.
This whole new virtual world is that is much much more beautiful than the existing world. The irreal world is almost limitless, it’s absolutely perfect, so it always, always loses to the real. The nature of reality is imperfection. Look around: the apartment gets dirty, no matter how often you clean it, and your hands require after washing each time you cook food.
In VR you can order a haircut that will last for weeks, you make up never vanishes. And the virtual environment around you is so stunningly beautiful and shining that it’s impossible to resist it. For now, only the best VR games, such as Eve or Subnautica, can boast with this ultimate level of 3D graphics. It’s easy to differentiate between a game in which a 3D modeler has put his heart in from the superficial and quick and dirty 3D graphics. Even if you are not an expert. But there are few games like this, and the level of 3D graphics is often low if we speak about mainstream games.
So the verdict is simple: real world in many cases, is much brighter, much more colorful, and saturated. If you know where to look.
VR in Ready Player One is all about Gaming and Entertainment.
Despite the fact that gaming is still the most lucrative VR sector, there are other VR niches that can potentially
In But VR is not only about picturing utopian pictures, doctors, psychiatrists, linguists, engineers, designers, businessmen embrace VR eagerly here and now.
Virtual reality practical applications are diverse and useful. Some of them can surprise you, I promise..
Here are the examples of virtual reality applications that you were not aware of, I am sure:
1.For instance, VR has proved to be an effective as a pain management tool. It looks like VR for pain management can even be a great alternative to opioids considering their incredible level of addiction. The researchers still can’t explain how exactly VR works in terms of pain management, but one thing is certain: it works. People with chronic illnesses and burns report lower level of pain when exposed to VR. Most probably VR distracts attention of patients from painful experience with the help of intense visual and auditory stimulation.
2.VR is an excellent tool for employees training and those companies that aim to optimize operations, improve effectiveness and, let’s be honest, save cost, turn to VR. Many companies, such as Walmart, train their employees ( and there are thousands of workers!) in VR today. For instance, the food company called Honeygrow has also implemented VR in their training because it’s cheaper and is hype. Even Volkswagen will train 10.000 employees using VR this year.
3. Virtual reality real estate tours are another unexpected VR application. Yes, it’s right, you can preview your future apartment before it’s even built seeing the smallest details of interior design. AlternAtively, users can look through the hotel room in VR before booking it. To avoid this annoying buyer’s remorse.
4. Languages learning in VR is something you could never dream about until you just read about it. Why bother putting on an HMD? Because it’s an excellent way to get inside the linguistic environment. Imagine if you are surrounded by native speakers or if all the objects inside VR environment are signed?
5. Medical training in virtual reality is what can actually transform medicine from the inside. For instance, surgeons are obliged to have an extraordinary imagination to visualize complex 3D objects, such as human heart pictured on the CT image. A pair of goggles ( even the cheapest one) is the chance to get more accurate and more valuable information. It is even possible to take VR tours inside a human body and preview organs before a surgery.
Ready Player One is not a very optimistic movie in some sense, and I am speaking about social transformations of society, not technological.People use VR not to learn, treat, train or improve. They use virtual reality to escape painful reality with the help of games. We aim to create VR applications that could change the world for the better.
So it looks like it’s time to remind people that VR is much more than gaming.