VR or virtual reality is a pretty standard piece of kit in sci-fi movies and television shows, but now it’s making the move from our TV screens into our living rooms. With virtual reality growing, can it really be considered the future of our smartphones?
We’re here to take a look at the upcoming technology to let you know exactly what to expect from it, and maybe what we could be seeing in the future.
What is Virtual Reality?
Essentially, virtual reality is technology which puts the user ‘inside’ its software, using sense-related hardware, often things like glasses, to give the user the sensation of actually being immersed in the action. It has potential for gaming, training and media playback, making for an extremely interactive experience.
Several companies have already expressed interest in using the futuristic tech, with many planning on linking them with smartphones. So, what virtual reality kit is already out there?
Samsung Gear VR
One of the first virtual reality headsets to hit the market, the Samsung Gear VR works exclusively with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, having you load the phone into the device to get going. It offers a 96 degree field of view and is incredibly light and comfortable to use.
As it only works with the Galaxy Note 4 it will cost a pretty hefty amount to pick up, but does offer some great games to play, whilst also giving you a stunning virtual reality cinema to use as well. It’s by far the most marketable VR headset for now, as it isn’t a developer model, or cost over £1,000, but won’t do much for Samsung loathers.
Still in its ‘developer kit’ phase, the Oculus Rift doesn’t require a smartphone to work, with a built in screen offering a 100 degree view, with a stereoscopic 3D view. This means that when using the hardware, you actually see things further and closer from you, and using parallax effects, gives you real sensation of depth and scale.
Integrated audio is also included, and with no lag, it gives you a very realistic feeling when you’re using it. The only problem with the Rift for now is the lack of experiences you can actually have with it. For now there is little to actually do with it, something which should be remedied when developers release software for it.
Linked specifically to the PlayStation 4, Project Morpheus isn’t up for grabs yet, but is looking like a promising piece of kit. Boasting a built-in display, Morpheus offers a 90 degree view with full 1080p resolution, and is offering to put you into the middle of your PlayStation gaming experience.
It has the potential to have you sit inside your driving seat in racing games, but also put you in the thick of the battle if you’re more of a Call of Duty fan. The system will link to your console and using your PS4 controller, you’ll be able to handle your movements in your virtual reality games.
It’s not just huge names working on virtual reality hardware, with some lesser-known products also on the market. The vrAse, VR One and Archos VR Glasses are all good examples, each working hard to become the leading piece of hardware with consumers.
So, with all of these devices already here or on their way onto the market, what will the future of virtual reality hold for us?
The future of VR
For now the emphasis for hardware has been in the form of VR headsets or goggles, but in the future it seems that companies will be hoping to integrate more of the user into the virtual reality experience. The obvious development for many is to build full helmets, offering an in-built microphone and surround speakers for a massively sense based experience.
“The opportunities truly are endless for now, but it’s worth noting that they are a long way off before they reach the general public for everyday use”
Other more optimistic developments mention full body suits which can track movements of your entire body, with goggles for you to gaze through, with some companies going as far to suggest having a full VR room.
Is it the future of our smartphones?
Without a doubt, virtual reality is looking like an amazing piece of technology for us to use in the future, but whether it will be a key development for our smartphones is another question. The main advantage of mobile phones is that they’re mobile, and the current range of headsets available are not yet ergonomically designed to allow portable use.
VR Market Growth
In a new report released by MarketsandMarkets, the Augmented and Virtual Reality market is expected to reach $1.06 billion by 2018.
“More realistic developments for our smartphones are most likely to be through augmented reality”
More realistic developments for our smartphones are most likely to be through augmented reality, with hardware similar to Google Glass, where you can still see what’s going on in the real world, with your tech almost overlaid on top. Of course, this isn’t exactly the most common piece of hardware out there either, so you’re best off not holding your breath for now.