Monday, May 9, 2016

Why should you care about VR?

Ok I admit it. I'm a nerd and get so excited over new technology and I'm super excited for VR. But my friends and people I know don't seem to be as excited about it as I am so I want to try to explain why it is such a big deal.

Virtual reality or VR is a technology that has the potential to change much of how we interact with each other online and how we consume information and entertainment. 

However in it's current state it is little more than a novel curiosity. 

This is because these are very very early days for VR. So you may be asking yourself, "Why should I even care about it?".
That question is like someone from the early 1990's asking what the big deal is about the Internet. It's easy to look back now and laugh about someone asking that question. 

That's where virtual reality is right now. We're at the very beginning and everything is new and everyone is just figuring things out. This is a good thing because just like with the Internet, the people that jumped in and starting figuring things out and blazing a trail, helped to shape the Internet and make it what it is today.

 This is an exciting time for anyone that wants to help shape the future of VR. Right now is like the wild west and there are no rules and it's up to us to shape what it will become. 

How do we know that VR will become a ubiquitous technology and not some passing fad? A very good indication is the amount of money being invested into virtual reality. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg purchased the virtual reality headset producer Oculus for $2 billion. 

HTC Vive just announced $100 million dollars in grants available to VR startups to get their products to market quicker. All of this suggests that many people see the great potential that VR has to be completely transformative. 

The thing that has everyone so excited about VR is the sense of immersion you get with it. VR will enable us to feel more empathy for a news story for example. Right now we view things on a flat 2d screen and if we see a news story about a war zone it doesn't affect us because we are sitting far from the battlefield and we can change the channel. With VR it puts us right in the middle of it. It gives us an extra degree of realism so that we can better understand what it's like to experience the story from the perspective of the ones actually living it. You'll hear the bomb blast and experience the turmoil caused by it. This will allow us to also be part of the action. Take your favorite sports for example. You'll be able to see what it's like to be on the field with your favorite football team and hear the action. 

VR also allows you to have experiences you could never have in real life because they are either not possible in standard reality or would be too dangerous and could lead to the destruction of our fragile human frame. You can visit just about anyplace you can think of. You can fly around your favorite city or visit space or a distant planet and feel like you're actually there. You can sit in the pilot seat of a fighter jet or the driver seat of a stock car. The possibilities are endless. 

It's still very early days for VR and it's frustratingly primitive right now but within 10 years time it will such a part of our everyday life we will wonder how we ever got along without it. Much like cellphones and the Internet today. 

So I hope this helps to give you some idea of what virtual reality is and where it's headed. I love talking to people about it and getting people as excited about the technology as I am. Please leave me a comment and I'll answer you as soon as I can!