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Many people have had some experience with virtual reality. Whether in a game, on the internet, or any other way to show information electronically, these are all just different ways of presenting the same information. Virtual reality is more than just a supplement to video games and the internet, though. Virtual reality is often getting funneled in alongside physical reality in a form called augmented reality. This means that features of both areas can be used and, taking the best from either, make something better as a whole.
Microsoft's Hololens is a prime example of the applications of this as a whole. While not wholly game-changing yet, the Hololens allow for information to be continuously fed to the wearer, giving them instant updates while keeping their hands free. While still illegal on the road due to interfering with driver eyesight, these devices are invaluable in places like wall street and on the trader's floor.
Having information on the fly is immensely helpful for making snap decisions. Several military companies have put forth ideas on possibly incorporating information into such a headset for soldiers to keep them up to date with information on the status of other squad members, supplies, and intel over enemies. At the same time, simple things that can be figured out by looking around, the snap decisions that these enable could gain a critical few seconds that may save lives.
Other possible uses include porting of games or other such entertainment into the real world. A proposed Minecraft version sees the real world overlaid with blocks and monsters, allowing players to play with their room as the landscape. An exciting development that stems has inspired this from digital environments from real-world stimuli. Some graphic artists and modelers have begun creating and using programs that make an augmented sculpture with the glasses they can use simple tools on in real-time. This process creates models that can be highly detailed as they are interacted with more realistically and naturally.
A unique instance of augmented reality recently released came from Castrol EDGE. According to their testimony of spending many long nights in empty parking lots with an old Mustang and an assortment of computer equipment, They were able to design an augmented reality game that overlays a parking lot with an assortment of obstacles to traverse in an attempt to "escape the world," as their objective was told to them.
The resulting commercial seems out of a science fiction movie. How well coordinated the augmented reality was for the driver. If you want to see the video, it is located here: http://www.engadget.com/2015/05/27/castrol-virtual-drift-vr/. There have been other notable versions of this technology stepping out onto the market, from the purely virtual reality-oriented Oculus Rift and Vive to Google's Cardboard' slide your phone in for some virtual reality box. While certainly not game-changing outside of their initial use, each headset has come with proving and pushing the point of a tricky aspect for virtual reality. From the fantastic fix to motion sickness from the Vive to the Cheaper start-up fees of the Oculus Rift, all are pushing boundaries and slowly bringing the virtual world closer to our world. Maybe there will be a point where most applications or software are run on a virtual platform feeding to some augmented reality glasses that let you work with them through motion gestures. As always, it will be interesting to see firsthand.
Written by Gavin Bluthe / May 29, 2015