If you are a tech enthusiast, you must’ve heard of the buzz word, ‘Virtual Reality’ (VR). This technology resembles the technology that was used in the Movie, Matrix. Yes that turned out to be an evil entity but that’s not the case with Virtual Reality (VR).
Some quick facts before we dive into the various types of VR:
Now, the race is about how content is delivered to the people. Every electronics manufacturer is pushing its limits to come up with innovative ideas to deliver content in different ways. The LCD, projector and TV’s have gotten old and limited with 2D content. VR is a technology that adds multiple dimensions to content consumption. There are various forms of VR and a variety of applications of Virtual Reality (VR) as discussed further down.
VR stands for Virtual Reality. As the name suggests, it creates non-physical materiality that is very similar to reality. To put it simply, Virtual Reality (VR) is a simulation of reality. It is not physical but a clone of reality that can be seen, felt and heard. Virtual Reality (VR) gives you the sensation or feeling of being present in a digitally created environment. Certain uses of virtual Reality (VR) have become advanced enough to give you the sensation of touch, smell, and sound along with a vision of being virtually present in a digitally created environment. It works on the principle of illusion as it confuses your brain into believing as if you are physically present in the environment.
(Marxent Labs, 2020) (Think mobiles, 2020) (Pocket-lint, 2020)
Training is one of the biggest applications where Virtual Reality (VR) is being used.
Training can be provided in the Education domain to hone the skills of persons without the costly pre-requisite of physically creating the environment. For example, training a beginner driver through VR can be helpful as he can drive around in a simulated world and gain a sense of familiarity before attempting it in actuality.
VR is being used as a marketing tool for businesses. It is being used increasingly in marketing areas such as customer service and live events. VR can be used to view different products online before purchasing them. Viewing products on a website is different than viewing it in 3D space, which gives more clarity to the buyer.
In the healthcare department, VR is used to prepare surgeons for surgeries beforehand. VR technology is utilized to perform simulated operations on virtual patients. Hand tracking devices can be used along with wearable headsets to train an intern or for surgeons to get more experience. In the air force department VR is used. Simulations like aircraft can be also used through VR to train pilots in a controlled environment.
(Think mobiles, 2020) (Linnworks, 2020)
Subcategories of VR include 3D VR and 360 VR.
360 VR is a different format of content. It is real-world footage that is captured by special 360 degree cameras, such as Samsung gear 360, Nokia Ozo, etc. The footage captures the whole environment around it in every angle just like you record a video from your camera. As suggested by the name ‘360’, you get a spherical video that can be viewed at any angle.
Special Headsets can be used to view these 360 degree videos. The headsets can’t work on their own and require a mobile phone to be placed within them. 360 VR is only for the eyes to enjoy and ears to hear, meaning you can’t interact with the environment.
On contrast, 3D VR is created or produced digitally. 3D environments are produced using computer software and artificial intelligence that replicate real world or give rise to completely new environments. These environments can be explored by the user in depth just like a game. Users can interact with the environment, avatars and items. Just like a game is produced, similarly, environments are produced in 3D VR. Although similar to 360 VR, it can also offer users 360 degrees of view.
To play games or watch simulations, you require a special headset. This headset is different from the headsets used in VR 360. These headsets are standalone, meaning they house all the components necessary to watch 3D VR. Some headsets require to be plugged in with a cable to operate, while some are totally wireless and work on batteries.
3D VR is for you to explore and interact with objects inside the simulation. You can move around and give inputs and the environment changes according to your actions.
(N-ix, 2020) (Arvrjourney, 2020)
360 VR the content is filmed in the real world: meaning that the footage is recorded in from the real world and then can be viewed. The footage is recorded using special cameras such as a go pro that records in 360 angles and merges video together.
On the contrary, content in 3D VR is created digitally. Artificial environments are created like 3D games are created from scratch and can therefore be more time-consuming to craft. 3D VR content is created by:
3D VR can be viewed using headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony PlayStation VR and HTC Vive Pro. There are many more but these are the most prominent. These are standalone headsets as they comprise of speakers and screens within them.
To watch content in 360 VR, headsets used are namely: Oculus Go, Samsung Odyssey and Utopia 360 degrees. These headsets require a mobile phone to be placed inside them to use their functionalities.
The headsets used for 360 VR are usually cheaper as they depend on mobile phones to function. On the other hand, 3D VR headsets are expensive as they are premium devices that can also connect to consoles and PC to give you full immersion.
Oculus Go costs $149 for 360 VR and Oculus Rift costs $399 for 3D VR.
Virtual Reality (3D) allows you to interact with a 3D digital world by using special devices like special controllers. These controllers let you give inputs in a 3D world, similar to like you would give using a console controller. The input depends on the game, some allow you to use weapons, some swords, etc. Basically you can manipulate the world at your fingertips.
On the contrast, VR 360 does not allow any inputs or any modifications to the environment recorded. In 360 VR you only watch the video and listen to the environment. There is no sort of interactivity in 360 VR.
(N-ix, 2020) (Arvrjourney, 2020)
Although both 3D VR and 360 VR can be viewed on wearable headsets, they have their differences. Both are making an impact in every field. As the prices of headsets drop, more people will get into using this technology. As a result, more developers will come forward to create content, games, and environments of VR. We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for us!
(Marxent Labs, 2020) (Think mobiles, 2020) (Pocket-lint, 2020) (Linnworks, 2020)
(N-ix, 2020) (Arvrjourney, 2020) (Leftronic, 2020)