On 23-24 May, the second European VR Congress took place at the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw. In September, it was hypothesised that 2017 would be a VR/AR year – but is it?
The answer to this question is quite simple and everyone knows it. Do you have a VR kit at home or have you recently utilised an AR application? The truth is probably not. But does this mean that VR / AR is another blown bubble? We don’t think so.
The question is how close are we to the first milestone on the VR/AR curve? The results of the sale of the equipment are, so far, not optimistic, but on the other hand, the industry has grown by almost double over the last year. Why is this happening?
On the one hand, ‘we have to wait another generation’- firstly, the number of people familiar with the technology has to increase. On the other hand, as time passes we will have to overcome certain hurdles:
– Technological – still, devices that offer a satisfactory image quality are connected by a cable to a computer and require a constant connection to an electrical network. We are waiting for the increase in computing power, better batteries and miniaturisation,
– UI UX – the industry is waiting for something that will outshine VRu. Many young people do not realise how much time has passed and how much the contact with computers and the appearance of an intuitive user control has changed. They certainly remember how the interface has changed and has continued to constantly evolve in our smartphones. So VR / AR is waiting for the same – at present the technology can read the position of our bodies and movements from the controllers, with different degrees of attachments to us and the equipment.
Several speakers have rightly pointed out that the standardisation process has already begun, with large players starting to work together.
It turns out that the use of virtual reality can lead to feeling unpleasant effects that last for hours, including headaches and even nausea – the symptoms of classic motion sickness.
Are there any insights on how to overcome these problems?
In this field of technology, we have a whole collection of new devices at more and more affordable prices. What’s more – the big premieres are coming, whether it’s from Google or Facebook, or … Apple. It is no secret that technological leaders spend billions of dollars on researching and developing hardware and technology. Sadly, it must be said that the WOW effect has slowly passed away and now we are waiting for something truly groundbreaking.
It is different in industry or science or art. There, VR is nothing new and it has been a good decade. The Leon Kozminski University has a fantastic project which will help law students, future prosecutors and lawyers learn how to properly investigate the crime scene … in VR.
The above example brings to light another hurdle, namely, problems with intuitive operation. As being limited by the cable length between the goggles and the computer allows you to move around in the room, let’s say – 5 x 5 meters? Or even more? Well, at the moment we ‘teleport’ to a new place through the use of obvious control movements like wrist flexions, handheld controllers, down … It is said that UX is like a joke – if it is good, then there is no need to explain it to anyone. Well, unfortunately here as a branch we still have a lot to learn.
Fortunately everyone is aware that, as in the case of cinema, there are still techniques to learn around ‘VR’ and how it promotes the Unity XR universe. When the Lumiere brothers first filmed their L’Arrivée d’un Train en Gare de la Ciotat, they did not dream of how advanced filming would be in the future, where this seemingly simple act requires an artist as the director, specialised cameras, actors, scriptwriters, and the masses of others who have benefited from the achievements of the past decades.
To sum up, it must be clearly stated that at the moment consumer and entertainment solutions are still a small but steadily growing market, with the prospect for growth in the coming years for geeks and computer game fans. Otherwise the VR business will be in business or education – the first revolution already took place quite a long time ago. Now the problems are of a different nature – most companies are aware that you need something with VR and AR. But what and how? And that is exactly where the problem lies – no one knows because everyone else is still learning about it, and they will still learn. The main thing is to kick start this – if we do not jump on the moving vehicle with the words AR / VR / MR / XR now it will pass us in a big rush. Will it bring us to a brighter future? Will virtual reality be torpedoed by robotics and AI in its service, or will the evolution of interfaces to our ‘protein machines’ bring humanity to a new level? Whilst no one really knows, nobody can afford to stand aside and wait.
I am looking forward to the next edition of Congress and will not be surprised if it will happen again this year.