Virtual reality is being listed as one of the most profitable financial investments of the decade. The popularity of gaming and entertainment is a driving force, but it's only a matter of time before virtual reality technology transforms many of aspects of life as we know it. That transformation has already begun.
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Supporting Players in the Field
While everyone knows the names of industry giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung and Apple, few know the names of their supporting players. NVIDIA is a company that makes graphics processing units and graphic cards that power virtual reality headsets used primarily for gaming.
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GoPro manufactures the Odyssey, which is a 16-unit camera array equipped with a microphone and 16 micro-SD cards. The device can capture 360-degree video and is compatible with Jump, Google's open-source virtual reality platform. Investors, including Google, have provided a record-breaking $1.4 billion in capital to Magic Leap, a virtual reality startup company, anticipating equally record-breaking future profits. There are over 230 companies, including the Void, Meta, Lytro and Another developing software and content.
Facebook, Google, Apple, Sony, and Samsung are all channelling resources into artificial reality. Facebook purchased VR player Oculus Rift for $2 billion in 2014 and has over 400 people working on virtual reality technology. Facebook, HTC and Sony predict that they will sell 2 million VR tethered head-mounted displays that can be used with either a game console or a personal computer. Sony's headset and console retail for $399. HTC's less expensive Vice headset could rival Facebook's $600 Oculus Rift.
Samsung bundled its own headset Gear VR with Galaxy phones and brought down prices even further. They've transformed their new Galaxy S7 into a "virtual reality machine. As pricey as the phone may be (close to 1000 dollars) the Gear VR is only 100$ which is great news. Samsung also has a dedicated virtual reality store full of apps that are already available for purchase. With Apple's considerable research and development department and financial resources, they may be preparing to introduce yet another game-changer.
The Future of VR
While the mass popularity of gaming and entertainment is one of the driving forces of this technology, there are also professional and cultural uses for virtual reality machines. The real estate profession has already been transformed by the technology, giving people the ability to take virtual tours of homes from anywhere in the world. Ford Motor Company uses virtual reality for automotive design and development.
Use in Neuroscience
People who have suffered strokes and other brain injuries are benefitting from an immersive virtual-reality therapy created by MindMaze, a Swiss neuroscience virtual reality startup. Patients have been shown to regain motor skills and cognitive function faster than with traditional physical therapy alone. Researchers believe that virtual reality can be useful in treating mental and emotional illnesses as well, including anxiety, PTSD, panic disorders and or phobias.
VR in Courtroom / Museums
Every courtroom may one day be equipped with VR technology. It can help reconstruct crime scenes and events, making it easier for people to visualise the details of a case and make more informed decisions. Virtual reality can also contribute to education and culture by allowing greater numbers of people to visit museums of art and natural science. The British Museum in London has already celebrated its first virtual reality weekend and New York's American Museum of Natural History has made some collections available to the public using Google Cardboard virtual reality technology.
Virtual Reality in Smartphones
Now that technology has made it possible to combine augmented and virtual reality technology with smartphones, it's likely that all smartphones of the future will have VR capability. People will be able to conduct business, receive a medical treatment, or visit a museum in another country, all without being tied to a stationary computer monitor.
Augmented reality products are expected to outsell virtual reality products in the coming years for that very reason—mobility. Our love of mobility is why theme parks are working on providing virtual reality rollercoaster rides. There's no doubt that investments in AR and VR technology were wise ones. Equally wise is remembering that no matter how much we can experience virtually, some things in life, like relationships with family and friends, have to stay real.
About Author: Philip Piletic's primary focus is a fusion of technology, small business, and marketing. I’m a freelancer, writer, and traveler who loves to share his experience with others by contributing to several blogs and helping others achieve success. I'd like to thank Unique Mobiles for providing me with information for this article.
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