Where is VR experience leading us?
Virtual reality experiences have caught the imagination of many daydreamers, gamers, and movie buffs across the world for decades now. The VR experience is finally making a mark on mainstream culture and media, in a small way. We start off by looking at probably the most advanced VR experience available in the market today – The FPS(first person shooter) gaming rig consisting of the Oculus Rift and the Virtuix Omni.
The Oculus Rift, a high-end VR experience headset costing $499 renders high-resolution display of the game, separately for each eye. The Virtuix Omni is a real-time tracking system that lets you replicate the player’s movement inside the game. The Omni lets you run, jog, and walk. To be able to use the omni, you need the main Omni unit, special shoes, tracking pods, boom stands, a VR harness, and a few others which would cost you totally about $500. If that wasn’t enough, you may need to spend another $1000 on getting your PC VR-ready. The WASD method of running inside a shooter means that your character is usually strafing left, right, and backwards while simultaneously dodging bullets and shooting enemies. Although The Verge’s review of the rig mentioned that it was an amazing VR experience, it also highlighted how cumbersome it was. This rig is definitely not for the faint of heart and the non-early adopters.
The evergreen concept of smart devices turning our lives one-device centric has made many technologists ponder over how far phones are gonna advance the VR revolution. Headsets like Google cardboard and Gear VR are bringing the VR experience to people who may not be brave enough to try out the Omni. Following are requirements for ‘comfortably’ using the Oculus Rift:
- NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
- Intel i5-4590 processor equivalent or greater
- 8GB+ RAM
- Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- 2 USB 3.0 ports
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer
It goes without saying that mobile based headsets aren’t going to be serious competition for headsets like the Oculus. But that’s something that could change. Imagine your smartphone’s camera doubling up like google glass, providing a full HUD based VR experience when placed inside the VR headset. The possibilities are endless here.
Everyone has had surreal experiences while watching movies. VR is pushing the boundaries of providing movie viewers an augmented perspective of watching a movie, making them feel like they are in the movie. Several movie production studios like Twentieth Century Fox, Lionsgate, Disney, Marvel, and Warner Brothers are spending big bucks to make a head start in the VR space. One of the main challenges filmmakers would face in this regard would be the increased autonomy viewers would have while exploring through a scene. Even now, complete movies cannot be rendered for viewing in a complete VR sense due to the changing scenes which would cause a continuity issue for viewers.
A world of challenges awaits VR engineers. Fortunately, they’re working on a technology that has captured the public’s imagination and is also well funded. I’m certainly waiting to watch a scene from Avatar using VR!
Pravir Ramasundaram is our in-house content writer at ContractIQ. Keep coming back to read more from him on mobility & latest technology.