With all the hype surrounding virtual reality, one may think it’s the most significant invention since the introduction of smartphones. But did you know it’s actually older than an iPhone? Here are seven interesting facts about VR you probably had no idea about.
Most business owners who come across the concept of virtual reality for the first time, believe something so popular in the media cannot be affordable. In reality (not a virtual one 😊), development prices depend on the size and scope of one’s project, and there’s something for every budget. And when it comes to hardware, the situation looks even more promising. Headset prices are going down rapidly, and while a professional VR headset is in the $x,xxx range, a headset that requires a smartphone to work can be bought for less than $50!
In fact, you and your customers might not even need an expensive headset at all. The majority of VR content is created with smartphone users in mind. And it’s no surprise. It’s a lot easier to convince people to buy a cheap headset that works with a smartphone than it is to encourage them to change their habits and buy a full-blown headset. Especially that most people use a smartphone every day anyway. In fact, it seems quite likely that smartphones are the future of the mainstream VR, at least for the next few years.
What’s the first thing most people think about when you say VR? Games. But the truth is, Oculus Rift and the gaming experience as a whole, are just a small part of what virtual reality has to offer. In fact, some of the best VR apps are far from being about gaming. With so many industries taking advantage of virtual reality, including travel, real estate, and healthcare, saying VR is all about games is a big understatement.
One other reason why VR is not about kids and games is the fact that they are not the only group interested in the technology after all. Everyone, from Generation Z through Millennials all the way to Baby Boomers is looking forward to benefiting from it.
As said above, there’s a lot more to VR than entertainment. In fact, the technology is already saving people’s lives. For example, virtual reality is used in therapy of autism in children or treatment of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in soldiers and phantom pain in amputee victims. Other use of VR includes training of surgeons or promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
But the benefits of virtual reality are noticeable not only in the healthcare industry. Numerous NGOs create VR content such as documentaries, to bring people closer to the problem and encourage them to support the cause, helping those in need.
Even though you might think virtual reality was invented just a few years ago, together with the introduction of Oculus Rift and similar solutions, it’s far from being a recent invention. The first thing that could be considered virtual reality – a flight simulator – was built in 1920. But it wasn’t until 1962 when Morton Heilig created Sensorama, a machine capable of displaying stereoscopic 3D images together with a wide-angle view and stereo sound, what today is viewed as the first virtual reality experience.
But despite these advancements, the term “virtual reality” wasn’t coined until 1987. The 80s were a period of intense research on the technology and its possible use in everyday life. It was also the time when the first set of consumer VR products hit the market.
During the early 1990s, despite public interest and virtual reality going more mainstream, the whole idea didn’t manage to gain enough traction. The hardware was expensive, and its possibilities didn’t really match the expectations.
Moreover, the majority of virtual reality was focused on gaming and 3-D experience for players, which meant that it didn’t really offer any significant benefits other than entertainment. All that, severely undermined any efforts and stopped the technology from going mainstream once again for the next 15 years.
Some people are scared by the super-fast growth of the technology. As the VR experience becomes “more real,” some people are afraid that it will soon destroy our social relations and force people to stay in the virtual world. Luckily, the truth is a lot more optimistic.
Virtual reality is not designed to replace anything. Instead, it’s built to improve the way we do business, research, and spend our free time. These improvements are already visible in multiple industries, where customers gained a huge convenience of being able to see and test a lot of products before they spend their money. And that’s precisely the way it should stay. Don’t worry – no one wants to take your real life away.