Every new technology takes time to become affordable and practical enough for adoption in various industries and fields of human activity. Augmented and virtual reality are no different. From the first prototypes, which seemed to have no real practical application to today’s use of AR and VR in healthcare, logistics, education and many other industries, we’ve come a long way.
But we are not done yet in finding new ways to bring augmented and virtual reality in our lives, in the way we work and have fun. This year is full of yet unseen opportunities for AR and VR, because the technology has matured enough to offer a high degree of sophistication at an affordable price.
Let’s look at just a few ways in which augmented and virtual reality can get a foothold in new fields of activity and ways of use this year:
1. Increased Comfort and Affordability will Speed Up Adoption Rate
The first opportunity we identified is for virtual reality. The launch of the lightweight and comfortable Oculus Go headset could be a powerful trigger for the industry. Among the top complaints (27% respondents) expressed by users in a survey conducted by Technalysis Research, was the lack of comfort, which prevents them from buying/using VR headsets. Another negative characteristic they stated was motion sickness, with 11% of users frequently experiencing it, and 33% experiencing it sometimes.
Taking a leaf from Oculus’ book, other manufacturers have the opportunity to redesign their headsets, make them more comfortable and, at the same time, reduce their manufacturing costs in order to offer more competitive prices.
2. Augmented and Virtual Reality for Social and Collaborative Experiences
The 2018 Augmented and Virtual Reality Survey Report prepared by the company Perkins Coie, offers valuable insights on how the end consumers perceive the development of the AR/VR industry this year and in the short term.
A vast majority of respondents, 81%, indicated that they expect developers and companies to create more AR/VR social and collaborative experiences, such as VR live events. The first steps in this direction were already made by a partnership between the NBA, Intel and Turner Sports, which allows basketball fans to watch certain games in VR.
3. Augmented and Virtual Reality Museums
Museums can benefit a lot from new technologies. One problem with museum visits is the passive and disconnected experience—people walk, look at exhibits behind glass cases and read explanations. Augmented reality and virtual reality have the potential to make this experience an immersive and interactive one.
Instead of watching a drawing of how a temple is supposed to have looked in its glory days, visitors can point their phone camera and see a holographic 3D model. The possibilities here are endless and they would be helpful not only for increasing the number of visitors to museums, but also for encouraging more people to be interested in art, history and science.
4. Virtual Reality Dating
Going out on a first date is a tough experience for anyone. Is the location suitable? Will your date enjoy the movie you selected? Or maybe he/she expects something different from the age-old dinner and a movie fixture.
Thanks to virtual reality, the dreaded first date can be a fascinating experience. For example, a VR dating app, vTime, allows a couple to select from a wide and incredible range of virtual environments to spend their date, including outer space, the pyramids of Giza, and fantasy worlds from sci-fi books and movies.
The online dating world is a huge playground for augmented and virtual reality because it can open up endless possibilities.
5. An AR/VR Experience for all Five Senses
The time has come to make augmented and virtual reality go beyond seeing and hearing. Researchers have already shown that it is possible to add the sensations of feeling the sun and the wind in a virtual reality experience. Even if we still have a long way to go before we can add smell and taste to AR/VR experiences, companies can focus on getting as many human senses involved in the game or app as the technology allows.
After all, the purpose of being in a virtual world is experiencing life in a brand new context, in all its particular details perceived by all of our senses.