How long will it take for virtual reality content to be popular?
Beyond the characteristics that new technologies for audiovisual entertainment may have, the most important thing is the content that they offer, because a giant screen with the most avant-garde advances would be useless if there is no adequate material to be enjoyed on it.
The story goes that when ‘The Arrival of the Train’ by the Lumiere brothers was shown in 1895, frightened people ran out of the room, thinking that the train was about to crush them all. Although it is somewhat risky to say them, this scene could be considered one of the first virtual reality experiencesbut once everyone realized that nothing really happened, technology had to evolve for more than a century to start offering a more authentic experience again.
Human beings know the environment by how the environment stimulates our senses and, in the case of virtual reality, the space around us is created artificially by means of technology capable of immersing us in a “synthetic universe” (usually in 3D) in which we see everything from a first-person perspective.
That is how In the last two decades, technology has evolved so that we can use devices that allow us to consume content They have also improved graphically. Who would have thought a few years ago that we could use our smartphone and place it in a viewer to have such an experience, as is the case with the Gear VR?
Virtual reality has more history than you think
Believe it or not, the researcher Charles Wheatstone demonstrated in 1838 that the brain processed the images captured by each eye, uniting them into one, which allows us to observe three-dimensional objects. That way, we knew that our vision was stereoscopic and since then, different devices have been invented that try to trick the mind to offer us a virtual and realistic visual experience. If he Stereoscopic View-Master (patented in 1939) is proof of this.
Later, cinematographer Morton Heilig developed in the 50s the first virtual reality machine: a sensorama very complete, because its creator created a device capable of stimulating the different senses of people, so that they had an experience as true as possible. This contraption had what was necessary to “put people in the film”, from vaporizers that would put “the smell”, to the vibrating chair and fans so that the user felt the atmosphere of what he was seeing. Something similar to 4DX that can currently be experienced in some movie theaters.
Heilig continued with the attempts to exploit the incipient virtual reality and we owe him the first accessory that is placed on the head, just like now how all the glasses behave. Although it must be said that in the 30s, Stanley G. Weinbaum described in his story ‘Pygmalion’s Spectacles’ a device similar to goggles that were capable of projecting holographic images, generating aromas, flavors and even producing a sensation of touch.
Despite many attempts to create a synthetic world around us, no one used the Virtual Reality conceptthat was first used in 1987when Jaron Lanier named the products he createda glove called the Dataglove and a pair of glasses called the Eyephone, these two devices were the first of their kind to be sold to the public.
Already in the 90s, some virtual reality devices were for sale; although due to their cost they were still not as accessible to many people. The video game industry that was in a good moment decided to adopt this technology to create arcade machines and that is how the first games designed for these new devices arose, which were wrapped in large wooden furniture and, in some cases, moving mechanical parts to give a more realistic sensation.
In 1993, Sega attempted to bring out the first pair of affordable virtual reality goggles; however, he could not cope with the high manufacturing costs involved in making a device like this. By 1995, Nintendo created the Virtual Boy, which, although it did reach the stores, was a resounding failure for the company, since the limitations in the hardware of that time made the experience quite bad.
From there, different companies have been exploring different ways to materialize virtual reality. For example, Samsung considered that our current smartphones were smart and powerful enough to turn them into high-quality content projectors capable of immersing us in new environments and even allowing us to be part of video games.
Is the consumption of virtual reality content materializing at last?
According to data from the report ‘Consumer Virtual Reality, State of the Market’, by KZero, the virtual reality industry will be worth 5.2 billion dollars by 2018. A considerable increase when seeing the 90 million that were generated in 2014 due to the integrated sales of hardware and software.
This information indicates that the era of virtual reality content has finally arrived and that in the next two years the offer will increase in an interesting way.. And it is that every day more developers are interested in new ways to take advantage of this technology that is increasingly accepted by consumers. The important thing is that it is not only considering applications for the world of entertainment, but also for scientific development, medical training and training, among other things.
The use of virtual reality, collaborative content and virtual ecosystems
Virtual reality is not only for playing games or watching moviesalso music can take advantage of this tool to offer: live or recorded concerts that you could experience as if you were actually present in the place. Also in the educational part Every day more and more programs are being developed that will serve to help students learn in a more vivid way.
In medicine there are different uses, initially for teaching, practices can be done in virtual environments, but also to develop treatments for patients. Studies have been carried out in which neuronal stimulation has been observed in key regions that can help patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
NASA is already training its next astronauts with simulations in virtual environments, also different armies are doing the same with their soldiers.
Like almost everything that has been achieved in this new millennium, everything seems to indicate that content creation will be collaborative and increasingly we will see more 360° videos and photos on our social networks, audiovisual materials that you can explore perfectly with your Samsung Gear VR.
Virtual reality from the hand of your smartphone
One of the greatest successes is that smartphones are part of this entire technological experience, since by integrating with devices such as the Gear VR we can access different applications and content that we can explore through virtual reality. The entertainment industry knows this and is therefore beginning to generate synthetic environments that allow us to enjoy movies, videos and many other options.
Undoubtedly we are at the beginning of a new era of entertainment which aims to be fun, interesting and vivid.