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.
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.
Future of VR/AR
Experts make different predictions about what will come next.
The high expectations of AR/VR experts are associated with 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.
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. When technologies become more perfect, the line between the real and virtual worlds will be erased. The potential is now evident, making VR and AR so exciting.