The history of virtual and augmented reality begins in the 60s and continues to this day. AR and VR are taking a more significant place in increasing productivity. Well-known companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Samsung develop such technologies. But what is virtual and augmented reality?
Virtual Reality (VR) is a technology that immerses a person in the virtual world. It takes place with the help of specialized devices and controls this world.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that integrates information with real-world objects in the form of text, computer graphics, audio, etc. in real-time.
How they influenced the world and how VR/AR will help to take a new look at trends and identify unobvious aspects of its development.
To understand why VR and AR are so popular now, we will look at the history of technology development.
In the ’60s, Philco engineers Charles Comeau and James Bryan developed the Headsight device for military purposes. It was the first application of technology in real life and a prototype for real VR glasses. Morton Heilig in 1962 patented the world’s first virtual simulator called Sensorama. It allowed the viewer to experience immersion in virtual reality, e.g. riding a motorcycle.
In 1965, Harvard professor Ivan Sutherland described the concept of Ultimate Display, which could simulate reality. And in 1968, Sutherland and his student Bob Sproull created the first VR-AR helmet that connected to a computer rather than a camera.
In 1969, the American computer specialist Myron Krueger introduced the concept of “artificial reality”. And in 1974, he developed the artificial reality laboratory Videoplace.
When the ‘80s came VPL Research company developed more modern devices for virtual reality – EyePhone glasses and DataGlove. In 1989, he introduced the more popular name “virtual reality”.
1990 – Boeing Corporation research engineer Tom Codell first proposed the term “augmented reality”. In 1992, Lewis Rosenberg developed one of the earliest functioning AR systems for the US Air Force.
Then the development of game platforms using virtual reality technologies began. At the same time, Sega developed the Genesis console, which was presented in 1993. The first Nintendo Virtual Boy 3D game console appeared. Yet, the games were only in red and black, it was inconvenient to use it and there was no software support. At the first Cyberthon Virtual Reality Exhibition in 1990, over 20 organizations from the military and technology industries presented their developments. Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Sony, etc. have their VR and AR divisions.
In 1999 the movie “Matrix” came out. He had a great cultural influence and contributed to the modeling of reality.
In 2003, the NFL used AR in the SkyCam airborne camera to draw by field marker. In 2009, Esquire magazine used AR in a print version, where you can immerse yourself in augmented reality by scanning a barcode. And in 2013 Google launched an open beta test of Google Glass glasses.
In 2016 presented the game Pokémon Go with augmented reality. In 2017 Apple added support for ARKit in the operating system iOS 11. Also, there were products not related to games and entertainment. Microsoft offers software for healthcare, architecture, design, education, and other professional fields.
Difference between AR and VR
VR is Virtual Reality
VR is a computer simulation of reality or reproduction of some situation. By technical means, it reproduces the world (objects and subjects) transmitted to the user by their senses: vision, hearing, smell, touch, etc. With a helmet-mounted display (HMD) or headset, you will feel yourself in a computer-modeled world in which you can manipulate objects and move around with tactile controllers while tethered to remote control or PC.
The Oculus Rift is one of the most popular VR headsets. To use it, you need both a computer and a separate controller to operate it. The PlayStation VR works similarly.
AR is Augmented Reality
AR is a technology that superimposes computer-modeled layers of enhancements on existing reality to make it more expressive, multifaceted, and vivid. Augmented reality is developed in applications and used on mobile devices.
AR can take many different forms. Among the most common is the use of a smartphone screen. One of the first and easiest examples is Yelp. They created a feature called Monocle. It uses your smartphone camera to show you a live view of your surroundings, but with the information overlaid on your screen.
Augmented and virtual reality affect the development of technology. The owner of Universal Studios company Comcast has invested $6.8 million in a small VR studio Felix & Paul in Montreal. Even the New York Times is investing in the development of virtual reality. Large companies produce their virtual reality headsets (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR). They create exclusive games and software special for them.
Oculus Go virtual reality glasses allow users to see each other and talk during soccer games, concerts, and other events. 65% of residents of 11 leading countries believe that in the future VR and AR will enter into everyday life.
Now the AR platform is a user’s smartphone. Many developed countries believe that in the future VR and AR will become part of everyday life. The prospects of virtual reality were positively evaluated by 60% of the U.S. population, 62% of the Australian, and 58% of the Canadian.
Development leads to the fact that not the news feed, but the phone camera becomes the main way to perceive information. The user can get interactive navigation or try on clothes. Over time, more and more users will look through the phone camera. In the long term – use lightweight AR glasses.
Virtual reality allows users to immerse themselves in new environments for medicine, training, and entertainment. With VR, users can “dream” with open eyes. This provides a deep and transformative experience that is very difficult to get in real life. More and more users will come to VR for emotions, entertainment, and communication with each other.
Use of VR/AR
Perhaps the most useful VR developments are now in medicine. Students of medical universities can now practice in virtual simulators with tactile feedback. Harvard University researchers have published a review article on this topic. It examines the effectiveness of modern VR methods in treating mental illness. And last year, scientists from the UK and Spain developed a method of depression treatment using virtual reality.
Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon have launched programs with AR. In them, brands create their interactive promotions. This led to innovative types of fittings and sales. Consumers can virtually try on clothes, shoes, cosmetics. Or, for example, view digital furniture images in their living rooms. Ikea uses AR technology in its application. It allows users to place furniture in their homes, checking whether it fits their interior.
Using AR/VR applications, training can be provided at any convenient time. Technologies allow students to conduct research, see the results of their actions, and get feedback. This gives them a deeper understanding of the content, rather than just memorizing facts. Which means an increase in the value of learning. They create an environment that a person perceives through feelings. VR/AR simulate a comfortable environment for learning and help the user rethink all perceived information.
With augmented reality, architects can create computer models and study them interactively. Oculus Rift allows you to build various buildings and transform them into 3D models.
AR techniques are added to an existing application, enriching, and adding a new dimension to the user experience. The format of augmented reality applications is wide and varied, from games to virtual fitting of glasses before buying them.
Application examples of AR and VR
The U.S. Army gives soldiers increased situational awareness with Tactical Augmented Reality (TAR) technology. TAR is an eyepiece that helps soldiers determine their positions and the locations of allies and enemies.
TAR will replace night vision goggles and a portable GPS. The eyepiece is connected wirelessly to a tablet that soldiers wear around their waist. It’s also wirelessly connected to a thermal area mounted on rifles or carbines.
Acura is a division of Japanese concern Honda, specializing in the production of executive and sports cars. They held a live broadcast of the augmented reality race, a contest called What A Race.
Driving the Acura 2018 TLX A-Spec, four drivers competed for the fastest lap time. Each lap triggered a different AR experience that only the driver could see. Thus, using different virtual obstacles, the driver overcame them, demonstrating each of the Acura car’s capabilities.
The race also featured interactive elements, and viewers were encouraged to respond to various cues to remove obstacles for drivers to help their car driver succeed.
The helmets used by the car pilots have AR functionality built into them, with a full-color 80-degree display and HD mirror lens technology to provide a better field of view, as well as a gyroscope to control head movement. The helmets are connected to a computer in the back seat to provide the necessary visualization in AR.
In 2015, researchers from Disney Switzerland used the ISMAR event to share the concept of augmented reality coloring books.
The project introduces a printable application that can output 3D models by depositing graphic markers in the form of outline monochrome images. The models are colored in the shades with which they were colored on the paper.
L’Oréal has teamed up with Perfect Corp to integrate the brand’s makeup collections into the YouCam Makeup app.
The app now features 64 virtual looks for fans in the United States, India, Mexico, and Russia. Each look includes a collection чof L’Oréal Paris products that users can test and purchase through the app.
IKEA PLACE allows users to check how, for example, a sofa, armchair, or closet would potentially change the living room or bedroom space before purchasing IKEA furniture. To do this, IKEA PLACE uses augmented reality technology that virtually maps furniture in a real environment.
According to the developers, the app very accurately scales furniture items from the IKEA catalog, so that the sofa will look as real in the image, and even cast a shadow. The items are available in 3D, you can rotate them and zoom in so that the texture of the fabric is visible.
Future of VR/AR
Experts make different predictions about what will come next.
The great expectations of AR/VR experts relate to 5G technology. The world’s largest operators are building cloud-based online video and gaming platforms. VR/AR content is its main part. And it is immersive AR/VR content that is the next wave of user-generated content.
Simultaneous localization and mapping technology can transfer data from the real world to the virtual one and vice versa. Now the technology is being studied by many companies that develop mobile applications. TESLA and summon autopilot currently use simultaneous localization and mapping. This allows the car to process the environment. This way you can avoid collisions, watch battery power, and other information.
Simulation reaches the next level. Thus, the popular Windows game Flight Simulator has announced the appearance of a whole VR based version in the future. It will provide experience in pilot training. It is now conducted by many different companies such as British Airways. The future of simulators will depend on the combination of virtual and augmented reality. Not only on the script.
Of course, this is only a small part of what awaits us with VR/AR. Both technologies are constantly in the public eye. They are spoken about in the media, discussed online, written in books, and shown in films. VR and AR technologies do not just influence the development of a particular industry or direction. They can affect all aspects of society, from medicine to space flight.
Predictions for VR and AR market
The size of the virtual reality market was estimated to be $15.81 billion in 2020. It is expected to grow 18.0% from 2021 to 2028. The market growth is driven by the growing use of technology in education, such as for training mechanics, engineers, pilots, soldiers in defense, or technicians. And in 2030, the global augmented reality and virtual reality market will account for $1,274.4 billion in revenue.
The gesture tracking devices segment is expected to grow by more than 20.0% from 2021 to 2028. This is due to changing demand as visual gesture recognition is a new and growing technology that provides immersive and intuitive interaction between people and computers.
Among the players in the global virtual reality market are Barco, CyberGlove Systems, Inc., Facebook Technologies, LLC, HTC, Microsoft, Samsung, Sensics, Inc., Sixense Enterprises, Inc., and Ultraleap Ltd.
By 2025, the AR / VR industry will grow to 25 billion dollars. It is possible that by this year VR headsets will look like sunglasses.
This is a bright future for an augmented reality that will define investments from different areas. More practical industries, such as healthcare and engineering, will be gaining in popularity. The AR concept itself is also expected to evolve soon with new software, hardware and usage options.
Advertising and e-commerce are likely to become major AR drivers. While entertainment and games are likely to be sources of revenue for VR.
AR and VR will improve our lives. As technology improves, the line between the real world and the virtual world disappears. The potential is now evident, making VR and AR so exciting.