8 Myths about Virtual Reality
Myth: VR is just for gaming
The truth is, many industries are seeing very useful, practical applications for virtual reality in training, education, marketing, and visualization. Surgeons are being trained using it, the travel industry is using it to entice would-be vacationers amazing locations, and architects are using it to walk through building ideas without even a foundation being poured in real life! These are just a few of the super cool things being done in VR now, and the industry is just getting off the ground. It’s very exciting to think about what we’ll be doing with this technology in the years to come.
Myth: VR is just another passing fad
This just isn’t so. While the growth of this industry is a bit slower than predicted, it is indeed growing.Major game companies are putting serious effort into creating games and hardware specifically for VR. Additionally, various industries are seeing the great potential in what VR can offer, and are deeply investing in R&D as well as full-blown implementation.
Myth: VR is expensive and unobtainable
On the consumer side, just about everyone who would be interested in VR has a smartphone. For less than $20, anyone can pick up a quality Google Cardboard headset and slide their iPhone or Android device right in, download any of the great apps available, and be in VR.
On the enterprise side, Google Cardboard can also be used. Additionally, fully immersive setups with beefier graphics and control options can be implemented for as little as $2,000-$3,000 per workstation. This includes VR-ready PC, controllers, and the HMD (head-mounted display). Software will be an additional cost, but when compared to traditional simulators and other methods of content delivery, there can be significant savings when going with VR.
Myth: VR will turn us all into couch potato zombies
This is far from the truth. The best VR experiences, both in gaming and in enterprise applications are the ones that take advantage of full body immersion- Cycling applications that use actual stationary bikes, training simulations that let you actually walk through environments and perform tasks with your hands, or games that let you become sword-swinging hero battling your enemies.
Myth: VR has major motion sickness-causing issues
While it’s true that there are a small group of people that are hyper-sensitive to immersive environments, the hardware technology and software techniques have come a long way in the last couple of years. Quality head-tracking, higher frame rates for content, and various development techniques are why we’re seeing very little queasiness now. If you’d had a bad experience with VR in the earlier development days, it might be worth giving the newest technology another look.
Myth: 360 video is VR
The difference between the 2 is the level of immersion. In a true virtual reality experience, you are fully immersed in the experience using an HMD (head-mounted display), and not viewing the experience on a screen (as you are with a 360 video).
Myth: AR and VR are the same thing
AR (augmented reality) is not fully immersive. With AR, you are enhancing or augmenting your real life environment. Digital content is layered over real life. An example of this would be you looking at your car engine with digital directions for how to change the oil is layered on top of it.
Virtual reality replaces your real life environment. In real life, you may be sitting in your living room, but when you put on the HMD (head-mounted display) you are suddenly on a space ship or in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest.
Myth: VR is a recently developed technology
In actuality, the concept of VR has been around for decades. The actual term “virtual reality” was coined by Jaron Lanier in 1987, but there are cases of the technology being used as early as the 1960s. Ivan Sutherland has been credited by many as the first person to develop a virtual reality head-mounted display system. It was called The Sword of Damocles and was created in 1968. Another VR pioneer, Morton Heilig, created one of the earliest-known multi-sensory machines, known as the Sensorama, in 1962.
Myth: VR is only for tech-savvy people
VR is for anyone! It’s useful in job skills training, classroom education, experiencing new places, gaming, and so many other great applications. To use VR software, (in most cases) you just need to be able to follow simple instructions for setting up the hardware. You also need to be able to perform simple tasks on a computer or smartphone (as simple as checking email or navigating a webpage). To experience great content that developers have already produced, you don’t need any special technology or coding skills at all! There’s nothing to be nervous about!