What is real? How do you define real?
If all your senses are stimulated with electrical signals, will you be able to differentiate real from unreal? The chances are rather high that you will fail to do it because… what is a reality if not the stimulation of 5 senses: vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste? So what is VR and AR in this context?
I know, I know, you all watched the Matrix, and this idea is as old as hills, but with virtual reality goggles this idea is gaining an absolutely new sense. With VR, you can simulate a whole new world, experience it, and benefit from it!
Don`t believe me? Just try HTC Vive or Oculus Rift (please, don`t try these cardboard virtual reality goggles with weak lenses if you are testing virtual reality for the first time! Like you would not go you the cheapest restaurant to try Mediterranean cuisine for the first time).
Alternatively, you can upload several augmented reality applications and play with them to see how technologies can trick your vision and the sense of reality.
I guarantee it, you’ll immerse in a completely new sensory and emotional world. That`s what they probably called with the word “magic” centuries ago. This is the world of virtual, augmented and mixed reality. You might think that the main purpose of all these technologies is entertainment. But there is so much more to VR/AR/MR than that. Much, much more. Just take a quick look at these 2 cases:
Case #1 IKEA
Imagine a company that has problems selling furniture because their biggest and brightest showroom is located in a faraway shopping mall. Well, the showroom is huuuuuge, the shopping mall is cool, and there the choice of models is mind-blowing! Still, few families want to spend half of their weekday wandering around sofas and cupboards (especially in a company of 2 screaming and tired kids).
2 hours is the maximum time that any family can spend in such a place without hysterics outbreaks. Shoppers don’t want all that mess, they want to click and buy. Just because they can.
No wonder the e-commerce market is growing at a steady speed according to Forbes: while only 48% of shoppers bought products online in 2015, their number increased to 51% in 2016. Online food shopping market sales will probably triple by 2020.
Well, the furniture company can, of course, change the location but that will be synonymous with waving the white flag. The company chooses a non-trivial approach to this problem: augmented reality application. This app scales furniture with 98% accuracy and locates it in users` apartments. You can see how this big red sofa will look in your room without buying and moving it. The result is amazing: customers feel much more confident about ordering furniture online.
Case #2 A Panic Attack
Imagine a person having a panic attack in a public place. Short of breath, sweating, scared, with incredible heart rate and trembling hands. At some moment this person may feel that he has forgotten how to breathe because he has a lump in his throat.
The worst thing is that no gastroenterologist can help this person because it`s not the problem of the body, it`s the problem of the mind!
But when the human mind causes troubles, you can work directly with the mind: a pair of VR goggles can help the man experiencing a panic attack. When this poor scared fellow finds himself in the tropical forest and hears birds singing, he suddenly feels totally tranquil. His panic attack stops naturally and “the lump” simply disappears.
That`s what you can do with the help of virtual and augmented reality.
So you see what all the hype is about: VR/AR/MR change people’s lives here and now. It`s not the future described by sci-fi writers. It`s actually more real than reality.
But what is VR/AR/MR in a Nutshell?
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation of human senses for the creation of realistic and totally immersive experience. Today VR utilizes high-end graphics, audio, and aural sensations to create the immersive perception of reality. However, even smell, water mist, and taste can be simulated!
For instance, Feel-Real mask, a gadget of the new generation of VR intensifies the presence of the person in virtual reality by adding the smell of metal or grass. Want to feel yourself in a Paris bakery? Try “fresh croissants odor” mode). In other words, virtual reality is a full immersion into a computer-simulated world with the help of virtual reality goggles.
Besides, here are 5 the most popular virtual reality tools: headsets, goggles, glasses.
Augmented Reality (AR) is the transformation of data into images and animation overlaid into the real world. You all know about Pokemon Go, I am sure, and this is basically all you need to remember. You need a camera-equipped device to experience AR: it may be your smartphone or a tablet. Soon you may just use a pair of sophisticated glasses that will substitute all your devices altogether.
Mixed Reality (MR) is the whole new level of augmented reality because apart from viewing images and animations, you can interact with digital content as well. You will, of course, need glasses to experience mixed reality, but companies are promising us that we won’t have to wait for long to have some ultra-modern barely noticeable devices.
I bet you`re confused with this bulky explanation (because I was when I heard it), that`s why here is a simple example:
In VR you`ll see yourself in the world of the future with a robot.
In AR, a robot will be standing in your in your physical room but you won’t interact with it.
In MR, a robot will be standing on your armchair, and you will be able to move it.
TOP 10 SPHERES THAT NEED VR/AR/MR
Today students of California University have virtual reality labs where they deconstruct a human body like a big interactive puzzle. Layer after layer, muscle after muscle. A detailed model of a human body is accessible to any medical student who can experiment with it without any fear of inflicting harm on the patient.
Practicing surgeons are also mad about the possibilities of virtual reality surgery. For instance, neurosurgeons often operate on tumors located in critically important arteries for human life. With virtual reality tours inside human bodies, they can travel inside the brain and reorient themselves inside a human body to avoid any mistakes. They don`t doubt that virtual reality surgery is what can actually diminish the risk for human life.
What is virtual reality used for in a broader sense?
Psychologists and psychiatrists will are also able to benefit from AR/VR: today you can help a patient to deal with phobias or PTSD by modulating stressful situations in a safe virtual environment. If a soldier re-experiencing the events of the battle constantly, a psychiatrist can help him to do it in a safe environment. Just let the client wear those goggles: if his mind is playing tricks with him, VR can play them back.
Those who don`t want to get out of the bed even to buy some new fancy clothes will embrace AR/VR/MR technologies eagerly.
They will able to choose, try, and combine clothes with the help of AR apps during a lazy breakfast. It is already possible to check cosmetics, gadgets, and furniture and buy it online. Soon you will be able to see any product before buying and avoid the pain of disappointment.
More than that, AR apps give you the chance to open thousands of virtual shops in one night. I believe that soon most consumers will be able to wander around hyperdimensional Big Market in VR goggles.
The possibilities of AR/VR in education are absolutely incredible: instead of staring at lifeless 2D pictures in geometry or astronomy manuals, pupils will be able to see any 3-dimensional planets, animals or planes and even interact with them! There are plenty of educational apps for kids and augmented reality apps will probably attract the most attention.
Imagine the reaction of a child who discovers how planets start rotating after he turns on an iPad app and he will just need to upload an augmented reality application for that.
However, even if you think that AR is just for kids, you are so wrong. Adults will be able to educate themselves on how to fix cars or make a surgery.
Architecture & Real Estate
In the modern world, totally “spoiled” by globalization, gathering an international team of experts is a common thing. The question is how to make this team work together on some construction model? VR- enthusiasts know how to do it: with the help of a pair of goggles. Imagine three experts wearing glasses and modeling and remodeling a common object. This is one of the coolest virtual reality examples.
Alternatively, you can plan your house in the Alps, reconstruct and redecorate it hundreds of times, sitting in a New York café with a laptop and a pair of VR goggles.
You can move stairs and walls, throw away furniture. If you plan to buy an apartment in Miami, you can visit your prospected apartment with the help of virtual reality tour. Sotheby’s real estate agents are already selling apartments with the help of VR.
Being able to act consciously in the critical life-threatening situation is a key skill for any professional soldier. But it`s almost impossible to simulate a realistic AND safe environment at the same time… unless you use VR/AR/MR technologies. Virtual reality training is already used in NASA so astronauts know exactly what virtual reality is used for.
It is the perfect possibility to emerge a young and inexperienced soldier into the situation that will resemble battlefield for 98% without any risk. Psychologists have proven that the emotions evoked by VR are almost identical to those that appear in real-life situations.
They say that virtual reality sex can become the most interesting entertainment of the future. Why? Well, people always needed porn, and they were always trying to reach the level of absolute and total immersion of virtual reality sex.
With VR, porn has finally come to that necessary level of sensory experience people were secretly praying for. Users say that virtual reality sex is so freaking real that it feels like cheating (or even better than cheating).
Incredible level of immersion is what can turn watching simple porn into an unbelievable and breathtaking experience. And VR goggles leave your hands free.
Imagine you can visit any place in the world, see any waterfall or football stadium and never go out of your room at the same time. Not thrilled? Well, imagine you are a handicapped person unable to move freely. It has much more sense, right? Virtual reality tours are created for all those who need a teleport here and now.
For example, not all couples can afford a trip to an exotic island on their honeymoon. But all couples want some mind-blowing emotions for their honeymoon to tell their friends about. Two pairs of virtual reality goggles and a high-definition virtual reality tour created by experienced 3D designers and… voila! You are on the trip with your beloved person on a virtual tour to Sri Lanka. And you can`t keep yourself from smiling. Marriot hotels used VR to presented couples with 3-minutes trip to Hawaii.
The possibilities of VR/AR/MR for the entertainment sector are freaking incredible. Let`s just take a quick look at modern VR thematic parks: there are more than 100.000 of VR arcades in China already and the number is constantly growing. They are the new level of emotions and the new level of fun.
That`s why China and Japan investing billions of euro into thematic parks. It`s not that difficult to seduce people with the possibility of virtual diving into the oceans, walking narrow mountain paths and jumping from skyscrapers.
Virtual reality games promise to be so mind-blowing, immersive and realistic that doctors are worried about people with a weak heart!
Augmented reality applications provide an absolutely new level of public security for many professionals. Firefighters are already able to explore the unfamiliar environments having real-time sensor data. It basically means getting through the room full of smoke with the adequate information about the environment.
Police officers will also have access to the location-specific data and probable dangerous situations in the specific regions. Such augmented reality apps will guarantee less risk to human lives and more safety.
Are there Any Minuses? I Don`t Believe There are None!
Of course, VR/AR/MR technologies are not all super positive, they have their own limitations and disadvantages.
Many people complain that VR causes motion sickness in inexperienced users. Motion sickness appears when your brain senses that your body must be moving but it’s not for some reason. And the information the brain receives from visual channel doesn`t coincide with the information from the inner ear, which provokes nausea and a number of other unpleasant feelings.
2.The Risk of Heart Stroke.
Again, people with a weak heart should understand that VR experience is totally overwhelming and immersive. In other words, walking the cliff over the abyss in VR glasses can be as terrifying as in real life.
Long Story Short:
If you`re in selling, don`t try to sell houses, clothes, and cosmetics by pushing and persuading. It doesn`t work anymore. Engage with customers, create a positive emotional experience, become their friend with the help of VR and AR technologies. Let your customers try clothes before they buy it and help them check how well a new sofa fits in their bedroom.
If you`re teaching, educate your students with the help of photorealistic 3D models, play with them in fully immersive virtual reality parks.
If you`re building, use AR/MR/VR to “see” what you`ll have in the end.
If you are learning, use the most realistic and the most interactive models to stimulate your memory.
In all the other cases, just experiment with new technologies because they are not the NEXT BIG thing, they are… well, the reality.
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Our CEO Daria Fedko started a new media activity called #CEOtalk. In these columns, Daria will explore and discuss the most interesting and controversial topics from the world of XR business. This week we’re gonna talk about Hololens’ military contract and it’s consequences for the industry.