Video: VR, AR, or mixed: Which reality is best to sell your story? Overhyped by some, drastically underestimated by others, few emerging technologies have generated the digital ink like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). Still lumbering through the novelty phase and roller coaster-like hype cycles, the technologies are only just beginning to show signs of real world usefulness with a new generation of hardware and software applications aimed at the enterprise and at end users like you. On the line is what could grow to be a $108 billion AR/VR industry as soon as 2021. Here's what you need to know.
Today, if you want to experience virtual reality, you have two options. The first is mobile VR, which uses a relatively cheap headset paired with your smartphone screen to offer a somewhat immersive experience but without the ability to get up and move around inside the virtual world. The second is a high-end headset like Facebook's Oculus Rift or HTC's Vive. These expensive products do allow you to move around within the virtual world thanks to positional-tracking technology in the headsets that work in conjunction with external sensors mounted on your wall -- but your range of movement is limited. Now a tiny San Francisco-based startup is looking to revolutionize both by offering positional tracking on mobile VR headsets for the first time and without the need for any external sensors -- meaning that virtual reality could finally become the truly immersive experience many expect.
USA TODAY's Ed Baig rescues a SEAL team using the Navy's new recruiting tool, VR USA TODAY Gaming fans wearing VR goggles play "Echo Arena" from Oculus at the E3 conference in Los Angeles. VR almost certainly has a brighter upside in the home than 3D ever had. And yet the unflattering parallels between 3D TV and VR appear all too real. Hyped VR efforts are off to a tepid start at best, raising the stakes for industry executives banking on a better long-term outcome. Recall that at the beginning of this decade, many of the largest companies in the tech and entertainment industries trumpeted three-dimensional television as a newly-immersive showpiece for your home theater, a promise to put you right smack into the center of the action.
In today's digital age, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are hot topics of conversation and two of the most popular buzzwords. Certainly, things have moved on since the days of virtuality machines in arcades and The Lawnmower Man in cinemas. Today, there are already many successful and developing apps that are showcasing these realities, with the release of movies like Ready Player One and gaming add-ons, like the PlayStation VR. Even things like Google's, often mocked, Glass device helped catapult AR into the public eye (quite literally) without needing to explain why you should try it. From mobile to smart glasses, these technologies are readily available at our disposable and are developing at a progressive rate.
Wearing a computer screen on your face seems like something only a gamer or tech enthusiast could love. But headsets, and other devices that create mobile virtual or augmented reality experiences, are showing up in places other than labs and gaming centers. Big companies far outside the world of consumer entertainment are testing and deploying augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) equipment in a wide range of work-related applications, and improving capabilities are inspiring more potential uses. The technology is getting so effective--and sufficiently user-friendly--that more companies should consider incorporating AR/VR solutions into their workflow. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies have been around for quite some time,6 yet many remain unclear about the differences between the two.