Virtual Reality (VR) and similar technologies
In this workshop, we were told all about Virtual and Augmented Reality, and shown in detail how they both could be used for purposes such as tourism. Virtual Reality is more about the creation of a virtual world that the users can interact with, one where they find it difficult to distinguish whether it's real or not as it appears so realistic. VR usually requires a headset of some sort, such as the Oculus Rift and VIVE. Augmented reality is where Virtual Reality meets real life, as users are able to interact with virtual contents in the real world. With AR, the users continue to be in touch with the real world, but can interact with virtual objects around them.
I really enjoyed trying out the VR headsets, as I'd never used them before and had no idea what to expect, so I found the actual experience very surreal but fun. When I was using the VIVE headset, I wrote out a message using the controllers, yet when I moved, the writing stuck to the air. Therefore it felt as thought I had to duck to avoid walking through the lines (which obviously weren't actually there). It was really fun, and I wouldn't hesitate to try them out again.
We then went on to look at Aurasma and Leap motion, and had the chance to try out both. Aurasma was really easy to download and use, and was probably the most easily accessible piece of equipment we were shown. Although the options of "animations" on it were slightly limited, it was still a really interesting piece of software and I'll be sure to have a play on it again on my phone now I've downloaded it. Leap motion was also really fun to play with, and it was so fascinating watching the image of your hands move as you moved your actual hands. The technology wasn't as precise as a more advanced piece of equipment probably would be, as it couldn't always detect your hands and therefore became quite difficult near the end.
Like we discussed in the workshop, I can see AR being used for tourism purposes in the future, such as for tours (both scenic and novelty, such as ghost tours). This is because it's an interactive (and potentially informative) way for users to entertain themselves and show themselves around a location, just by using the AR, which is probably more convenient than having literal tour guides trying to talk to groups of 20 people.
The VR, on the other hand, I can see being used as the next big gaming thing, in order to create a more realistic experience for the user. The downsides, however, are that it feels incredibly real when you have the headset on, and therefore there are probably many safety issues surrounding it, as the user could walk around and lose their bearings whilst playing. Additionally, I can also see this sort of technology being used for cinema/film viewing, as it would give the viewer a surround-sound type of experience, but with the film location surrounding them too and therefore making them feel as though they are in the film.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend this workshop, and therefore I missed out on being able to test out the gadgets myself. I did however research the technology that the workshop focussed on in order to get an understanding on everything.