A short primer on Augmented and Virtual Reality
Reality has changed. It is no longer normal, but ‘augmented’ and ‘virtual’. If these emerging technologies existed only in the realm of cheezy 1980’s sci-fi movies, you could be quick to disregard the hype.
For me prior to last year, I was confused by a technology I didn’t understand. So how was I possibly going to talk about these technologies effectively?
The simple answer is to find the nearest genius, plug yourself into their matrix and learn. What I found blew my mind and I hope I can help inform the less-initiated and slightly intimidated. In the very least, the geniuses will have more people to talk to.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are very different animals.
Augmented Reality (AR) is a blend of Virtual Reality and Real Life. AR can come in various formats, for example, the recently popular Pokemon Go app for smart phones, or as passive devices you wear such as Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens. AR augments your view of the real world in order to make it more engaging, fun and informative.
Virtual Reality (VR) allows for a complete virtual environment to be created around you for total escapism. You experience the virtual world only by a device worn on your head.The real world is completely blocked out and the virtual world becomes your reality.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are also much the same.
At the moment, they both have a high cost to entry. 900 euro for a Vive and 2000 euro for a PC to drive the software is no small change for anyone. AR glasses can from Microsoft can cost 1500 euro upwards, if not more.
The industry is changing by the day and the cost is coming down by degree, but for the average consumer buying your AR or VR kit is a major investment.
It is very hard to explain VR or AR without actually experiencing them. To quote one of our designers, “it’s like your body is inside it!” People come to demos curious about the technology with next to no knowledge of the actual experience. To the last person everyone is blown away completely.
But any description we put towards it doesn't explain how it 'feels' to be inside a VR experience. This is turn makes it very tricky to market effectively.
The other hurdle is the talent required to orchestrate a good experience. To create a VR or AR app, the skill sets required are imposing for most companies. To be effective in this space you need to be: filmmakers, designers, motion capture specialists, programmers, script writers, and more.
Augmented and Virtual reality are different in a lot of ways, but often are much the same:
- There's a high cost to entry
- They need to be experienced to be believed
They are difficult to create for
In my studies, I feel I know enough to talk knowledgeably on the subject. So hopefully I have shed a bit of light on these two technologies and cut through the mist of the virtual and augmented reality hype. Many people are developing in this space, including us at Emagine, so watch this space.
Now go out and find that nerd and ask them to show you their toys and explain them to you. You will find they are enthusiastic to an almost evangelical level and will answer any questions you might have.
You will be amazed and blown away - guaranteed.