Virtual Reality

What are Current Designs for Virtual Reality Devices

Virtual Reality is a computerized simulation of a 3D image or environment that can be interacted within a semi - real or physical way by someone who is using the various devices, like as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors. There are many designs by favored companies that have their own technology base fitted with features to the device. For example, Oculus Rift, which was bought off from Facebook for $2bn, has a sleek design that leads it more eye catching than the Vive(Lamkin). Equipped with light brace material, stretchy velcro bands for comfort and can be readjusted as needed. However, the HTC Vive isn’t much different. They are practically black boxes with straps. Being glasses friendly, it provides users who wear eyeglasses with the most comfort they can experience while wearing the headset(Roston). Since both brands promote good design, the Vive would win over comfort while the Rift would accomplish its sleek and lightweight design.

How is their technology impacting educational purposes

Education can be used in the classroom in a number of ways. The use of the virtual reality headsets and data gloves offer experiences that students can absorb through the technology. For example, the head mounted device can be offered in a history subject by taking people to a new part of the world just by putting on the device and seeing what it was like in Ancient Greece. They will be able to walk around a Greek city, e.g. Athens, and explore various aspects, often by using touch via the data glove(Virtual Reality). A pro to this technique would be that some students have enhanced learning experience through computerized programs than the old school method of teaching("Virtual Reality"). In other areas of education, many classes have used VR tools to collaboratively construct architectural models, recreations of historic or natural sites and other spatial renderings. Instructors also have used VR technology to engage students in topics related to literature, history and economics by offering a deeply immersive sense of place and time, whether historic or evolving(Reede). With the first hand virtual experience, we are capable of interacting with objects and functions which increases the understanding of the subject.

How is VR being used in the Medical field?

Virtual reality can be used for multiple situations in the medical field. It provides a variety of training exercises such as attempting surgeries, and complex operating room scenarios that can occur in the real world. With the 360 degree movement, it prepares future nurses, doctors and physicians for their later in life opportunities. They engage in training scenarios in which they have to interact with a patient but within a 3D environment only(Petechuk). It would also allow surgeons around the world to reach a whole new level of their career. The simulations that the VR offers include risky surgical situations to apply them to real world operations and react how their profession sees fit. A popular use of this technology is in robotic surgery. This is where surgery is performed by means of a robotic device – controlled by a human surgeon, which reduces time and risk of complications. Virtual reality has been also been used for training purposes and, in the field of remote telesurgery in which surgery is performed by the surgeon at a separate location to the patient(Petechuk). For patients, this device provides treatment like no other. It can be used to treat chronic long term pain by distracting the mind. More recently, clinics and hospitals are using virtual reality simulations of warfare akin to Iraq and Afghanistan to help veterans who are, in many ways, continually reliving the traumatic events they experienced. In a safe and controlled environment, they can learn how to deal with instances that might otherwise be triggers to behavior that could be destructive to themselves and others(Carson). Patients find it as an escape from reality and enter a new world. It brings hope to those who are troubled with finding it.

How much is being invested and spent on VR?

Ever since the year of 2010, there has been a report of almost $4 billion dollars poured into startups and kickstarters(Vinian). But it will be a while until the technology will be fully developed(Vinian). With creating the technology, there will be a number of features that are included for the consumer’s choosing, but those big companies need a way to make money from VR other than selling the devices, which go for an average of about $600 with the full kit. Because businesses are still working out ways to make money, it’s difficult for the report’s authors to predict pricing on products and estimate the market size(Vanian). PitchBook analysts said that there have been 119 VR-related deals totaling roughly $602 million in 2015. The report singles out a $65 million September funding round led by Disney in VR camera maker Jaunt as one of the year's top investments("Virtual Reality"). As more and more opportunities arise from the market, there are plenty of developers with their own ideas in making programs and games that are compatible with VR. The video games that are VR dependent, require a broad range of work put into them since this technology is still so new to programmers. Despite the high cost of just the headset itself, it depends on a powerful computer to be able to run the semi-real graphics to make it look life-like. Therefore, after purchasing your own VR devices, along with the games or applications and then the computer that is meant to be used for the VR can cost upward to no less than $1200 if money is not an object and truly have a passion for the technology.

What will the future look like for the VR and Who Has Access?

It is well known already that the future for VR is going to kickoff. These big companies who are producing the devices have guided the introduction to something worldwide. It seems it will be a little over a year once this technology gets a grip on things for official stable release. But the device’s deans can’t be left by themselves. The software engineers and designers along with testers play a huge role in the mass production to make the market more attractive to consumers. There needs to be a way for the devices to be compatible with almost everything, if that would mean that they could be connected using any smartphone, tablet or computerized equipment. The most common use for VR today is through gaming. Just 13 million PCs worldwide next year will have the graphics capabilities needed to run VR, according to an estimate by Nvidia, the largest maker of computer graphics chips(King). This requires a high-end PC to be able to run. Acquiring a powerful computer is not easy, in fact it’s very costly. Only 1% of the 1.43 billion PC’s in the world have the minimum requirements to run the software(King). In a few years time, hopefully the cost for VR compatible computers will go down in price.

Sources Citation:

"Jonathan Vanian" UXL Encyclopedia of Science, edited by Amy Hackney Blackwell and Elizabeth Manar, 3rd ed., UXL, 2015. Student Resources in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CV2644301003/SUIC?u=mnsminitex&xid=29ea6768. Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.

Petechuk, David. "Virtual reality." The Gale Encyclopedia of Science, edited by K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner, 5th ed., Gale, 2014. Student Resources in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CV2644032355/SUIC?u=mnsminitex&xid=aeb5f464. Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.

"Virtual reality." World of Invention, Gale, 2006. Student Resources in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CV1647500858/SUIC?u=mnsminitex&xid=a03b72ac. Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.

"Ian King" UXL Science, UXL, 2010. Student Resources in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CV2646000287/SUIC?u=mnsminitex&xid=89c71187. Accessed 24 Feb. 2017.

Credits:

Created with images by pestoverde - "HTC Vive Pre VR Consumer headset" • pestoverde - "Samsung Gear 360 and Gear VR headset" • Wokandapix - "classroom school desks" • Andri Koolme - "Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset (feat. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge+)" • xcorex - "Prop Cash" • kev-shine - "keybaord"

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