Thursday, 24 August 2017

Virtual Reality

Fooling your mind into believing something awesome

Imagine you’re in a swamp in the middle of nowhere. All that your eyes can see are trees accompanied by the sound of animals. Suddenly you realized that you have a torch in your hand. Turn it on, quickly. Monkeys in the trees, frogs trotting near your feet, the tropical swamp is certainly a thing of beauty, isn’t it? But wait -the torch you were holding now feels more like a remote. Also there is something wrapped around your eyes and ears! Well, that’s just a headset which just means you’re not so far away from home, are you? You just experienced the swamp from your home. You just had a truly immersive and interactive experience whilst sitting on your couch. You just experienced Virtual Reality.

Virtual Reality (VR) is using computer technology to create a complete 360 degree immersive experience for the user by using headsets which generate a realistic or animated simulation.

According to a report by Greenlight Insights this multi-billion dollar industry is worth $7 Billion as of today and expected to be around $70 Billion by 2021. Such potential for substantial growth may surprise you. Well with players such as Google, Facebook, Nintendo, Sony, HTC etc.involved in this industry,are you still surprised?

You might wonder when you will have that first VR experience. What if I told you that you already have experienced something similar? Remember the View-Master – the gadget that looked like a camera and had two viewing holes? You used to put a reel of colored pictures and scroll through them.That is VR – in the Medieval Ages.

The concept of panoramic paintings dates back to the 1800s and the invention and usage of the stereoscopic camera has been in use since the early-mid 1900s. Both these factors form a part of the 360 degree viewing experience which is associated with Virtual Reality. Let’s not get into technicalities (don’t know much myself).

VR has found its way into various industries with gaming being the biggest one. Just imagine being Harry Potter and swinging that wand (remote) and shouting Expelliarmus – soon to be a reality with headsets like Oculus Rift & Google Daydream. These headsets will provide a completely immersive and interactive gaming experiences for users. Virtual Reality has already started a gaming revolution with many top game manufacturers like Ubisoft, Epic Games, Resolution etc. Apart from this the headset manufacturers are also developing games and other interactive experiences exclusive to their headsets (the swamp story at the start is an experience provided by Google’s Daydream projects)

Entertainment industry is another huge avenue where various VR developers are interested in exploring. Some producers of TV and Movie are releasing the exclusive 360 degree footage of making and outtakes across the web, specifically YouTube. A famous 360 degree video is made of the making of the Aamir Khan blockbuster – Dangal. This seems like the best way to archive and relive the experience later.

Also one of the largest content creation for Virtual Reality is…..well the adult film industry. This industry has mastered the various aspects involved in shooting their films using 360 degree cameras.

Archiving of live events and concerts can also be considered. One would love to relive the experience of watching a Zakir Hussain concert 10 years later or reliving the city of Pune of today in 2025.

VR can also be used for more than gaming and entertainment. Consider using VR to create simulations to train military personnel in mastering various situations. Various medical procedures could be practiced by students. VR could help in creating animations to make construction or architecture easier.

Do you remember when the teacher used to show a picture of the Thar Desert? Oh, black and white photo to be more precise. Wouldn’t it have been cool if you could actually experience what the sand actually looks like? How about actually being able to see the source of the Ganga or the actually place where the Salt Act was broken.

There is only so much technology can do, isn’t it? Maybe it could just do a whole lot more than you think. Don’t just see it, experience it!

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