The world has come a long way since desktops were considered ‘cool’ and so was playing Solitaire.
Pokémon GO made waves within weeks of its launch in July 2016, with 500 million people downloading the game in just two months. But controversy was sure to follow close behind. Two PILs have already been filed with the Gujarat High Court asking the game to be banned for ‘danger to public safety’ and ‘hurting religious sentiments’.
The game still awaits official release in India, but its raving success only sends out one message: Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are the future of tech.
Virtual Reality Then
Pokémon GO didn’t happen overnight. Decades of development preceded it, and it’s a good idea to take a look at the history before looking at the future.
Let’s trace the humble origins of VR and AR.
- 1839: Stereoscope
Charles Wheatstone, an English scientist and inventor, developed the stereoscope based on the idea of binocular vision: the brain processes two 2D images from each eye into one 3D image. In his stereoscope, two photographs of the same object are taken at minutely different angles and viewed together, creating an impression of depth and solidity.The same principle is used today for low-budget VR technology.
- 1929: The First Flight Simulator
Edward Link developed the first electromechanical commercial flight simulator. Link trainers were bought by the US military because of the growing need to train pilots in a safer way.
- 1939: View-Master
Developed by Ed Mayer and William Gruber, this device debuted at the 1939 New York World Fair as a means to replace 2D scenic postcards. Unsurprisingly, it was a tremendous success. Later in the 1960s, View-Master reels began to focus on more child-friendly subjects, like cartoons and toys.
- Mid-1950s: Sensorama
Cinematographer Morton Heilig developed the Sensorama which was an arcade-style theatre cabinet complete with speakers, a stereoscopic display, a chair that vibrated and ‘smell generators’. He even created six short films for his invention.
- 1961: Headsight
This was the first ever Head-Mounted Display (HMD). It had a video screen for each eye and a motion tracking system. It was developed for the military as a device to remotely view dangerous situations. The closed circuit camera inside would move as the user moved his/her head.
- 1960s: Sword of Damocles
Ivan Sutherland elaborated on his ideas of a simulated reality in his concept ‘The Ultimate Display’. Later he went on to develop a contraption called the Sword of Damocles, the first AR/VR HMD connected to a computer and not a camera. The graphics generated by the computer were nothing like what we have today, but they were a start.
- 1990s: Virtual Reality-Based Gaming
A company called The Virtuality Group introduced arcade games and machines in which players wore a set of VR goggles. In 1993, Sega announced a VR headset which had head tracking, sound and an LCD screen. Two years later, Nintendo launched a portable 3D gaming console called the Virtual Boy.
Virtual Reality Now
Cut to the 21st century which has seen a massive leap in AR/VR tech. Gaming was confined largely to desktops, arcades, hand-held devices, consoles and laptops. But it’s taking on a new dimension with these beauties:
- Meta AR Headset
Meta CEO Meron Gribetz unveiled the Meta 2 augmented reality headset in early 2016. It offers a complete AR environment where users see, create and interact with virtual objects and digital content. The navigation is natural and there’s a clost-to-90-degree field-of-view.
- Microsoft HoloLens
Microsoft has described HoloLens as ‘the first self-contained holographic computer’ which mixes the digital with the physical. It has numerous sensors, cutting-edge optics, and a custom holographic processing unit.
- Oculus Rift
Also released in early 2016, it is slated to be the most popular VR headset after Samsung’s Gear VR. It has an FoV of 100 degrees with head tracking and an integration point with Xbox.
What the Future Holds in Store
By 2017, over a third of the world’s population is predicted to own a smartphone. There’s a race to develop AR wearable tech that is the logical next step to desktops, laptops and tablets.
Social networking is also expected to grow, and by 2018, there will be an estimated 2.67 billion social media users around the globe. The future promises to be a heady mix at the intersection of these two powerful forces:
- Facebook Glasses
Mark Zuckerberg has ambitious plans for VR/AR and AI in the next decade. Recently, he made a presentation on his vision for the next decade: Virtual reality glasses that would look the same as any other ordinary pair, but give you a virtual overlay so you can interact with the digital world in both real life and real time. In the offing is also a 360 degree virtual reality camera.
- Samsung’s Smart Contact Lenses
Samsung filed a patent in 2014 for smart contact lenses that have a built-in camera, antenna as well as sensors that detect movement. The display would project images into the eye of the one wearing the lenses.
Niketa Patel, Director of Content at RebelMouse, says, “Wearables will completely replace tablets.” The rate at which technology is developing will convince every skeptic that VR/AR is going to become the very fabric of everyday life.
We, at Seamedu School of Pro-Expressionism, acknowledge this rapid development and work hand-in-hand with industry professionals to train young minds to get acquainted with evolving trends in technology. Our UI-UX Design courses, mobile app development programs, and the multitude of offerings under the Game department stand testimony to the fact that Seamedu embraces new technology with open arms and nurtures aspiring professionals to make it big in the world of tech.
Contact us today to learn more about our courses and know how you could be part of the next big tech revolution!