Virtual Reality – real enough to live it?
The definition of virtual reality comes, naturally, from the definitions for both ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. The definition of ‘virtual’ is near and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term ‘virtual reality’ basically means ‘near-reality’. This could, of course, mean anything but it usually refers to a specific type of reality emulation. Virtual reality is the creation of a virtual environment presented to our senses in such a way that we experience it as if we were really there. It uses a host of technologies to achieve this goal and is a technically complex feat that has to account for our perception and cognition. It has both entertainment and serious uses. The technology is becoming cheaper and more widespread.
Virtual reality is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions. If an implementation of virtual reality manages to get the combination of hardware, software and sensory synchronicity just right it achieves something known as a sense of presence – where the subject really feels like they are present in that environment.
Virtual reality technology is in its infancy. Imagine someone talking about the “extraordinary possibility of a pocket computer” ten years ago. Today, we think of online realities as ‘digital,’ but meaning is made in our own minds, and the world is still in a place where digital is seen as artificial. That’s our meaning which has been constructed over time. What happens when the balance begins to shift–when digital and physical are seen as equally ‘real’? Meaning, in our minds, is as flexible as the reality in a digital space. They are fluid. So, seen from this point of view, the virtual reality will be part of the future technological discoveries and everyday life, taking baby steps. We can expect to see many more innovative uses for the technology in the future and perhaps a fundamental way in which we communicate and work thanks to the possibilities of virtual reality.
Do you think that VR is the future? Based on what is seen on this year’s MIPTV there are a lot of challenges and at the same time opportunities in VR. VR content is another type of TV content, but can it be sold like this? It seems that the new medium finds its way into existing markets such as the television industry. These are very exciting times for this new medium. VR will become huge, but nobody knows yet when this will become a reality. Media companies and producers need to get ready for this. 2016 has been a shakeup year for VR. Several tech giants have positioned themselves and some have pioneered with the release of new VR headsets and the development of cutting edge software. But also numerous start-ups have started dipping their toes into VR waters, receiving huge investments and developing innovative software, hardware and compelling content. So, interesting content started its creation. Promotion and more content is needed in order to attract new consumers who will help spread the word. It may take one year, five or maybe more? What do you think? Exciting times ahead!