Virtual Reality now moving Towards Real-Life Scenarios

By Saurabh Durgapal

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Virtual reality (VR) allows experiences from a very different perspective than we are used to. According to a user, “You come to a place that is controllable and not defined by so many unknowns.”

Molly Fosco, in an article published on www.summit.com, explains her experience of summiting Everest as, “It is an immersive VR experience that makes you feel like you are actually climbing the highest mountain in the world.” The capability to transform your surroundings just by putting on a pair of goggles and headphones to escape into the new surroundings has seen a lot of changes over the past couple of years.

God at the top of the world.

Available for Oculus Rift and Touch and HTC Vive, Everest VR simulation is an immersive VR experience that has an intriguing feature added recently. The God mode allowed Fosco to shrink or grow to any size and to teleport to other spots in the mountain range. It is almost funny how, in a God-created world, man has created a world away from this world. However, being God comes with its own set of rules.

Pic 1: Augmented reality in Pokemon Go

VR affecting health

As per a Google DayDream tester, the experience starts to get on your nerves after the initial half an hour. Sore eyes, tiredness, headaches, stiff necks and eye strain are some known side effects among long-term VR headset users. Taking this into consideration, an easily-ignored warning comes with the headset, which advises you to take a 10- to 15-minute break after about 30 minutes and not to use the device if there are any mental health issues. But as stated earlier, it is easily ignored.

Another common issue is reduction in multi-tasking capabilities post usage, which could lead to increased risk in the real world.

Researchers have also found cases of nausea and disorientation caused by the vergence-accommodation conflict. Presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year, Relief band has turned out to be a quick solution for gamers. The bracelet is worn on the underside of the wrist. It balances the pulses using neuro-modulation to treat motion sickness.

These problems might make VR look like a monster. But taken in moderation, it could be a great learning experience for a wide range of fields.

A ray of hope.

Doctors can move from cadavers to VR, for instance, and engineers could learn the basics of product development by performing in the virtual world. In both cases, there is no harm done, and beginners can make mistakes without any fear. King’s College Hospital in London is already using VR to make magnetic resonance imaging experience less scary for children.

Somewhere down the line, we could move from watching the news to living it via live streaming VR. VR is already advancing rapidly in gaming, and it is only natural to branch out to other fields.

Pic 2: Cardboard cutout allows for virtual reality experience through smartphones

Advancing standards of VR

As per reports, Everest VR experience uses more than 30,000 high-resolution photographs and creates a computer-generated 3D imagery model using Stereo photo-grammetry. It involves estimating the 3D coordinates of points on an object and employing measurements made in two or more photographic images taken from different positions.
The advertisements about VR do not do any justice to the capabilities of VR. The best way to appreciate is to experience it first hand, no holds barred. At least, the experience of hitting your head on the walls of your room while wearing the VR headset could be something you would remember for a long time.

If experiencing a whole different world that you might not be able to visit anytime soon was not incentive enough, VR is expected to help with peaceful sleep as well. Medical device maker Fisher Wallace is all set to improve VR experiences by manipulating chemicals inside the human brain. Kortex, a VR headset accessory for stress management, attaches to the VR headset strap and helps the brain in producing endorphins and serotonin for mood balance. It also helps lower stress hormone Cortisol and increases melatonin production for a good night’s sleep.

VR moving towards visual clarity and acuity.

Ever since the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook, VR has gained the much-needed impetus. Oculus Rift VR device, combined with the touch interface provided in the form of Oculus Touch, provides an experience to look forward to. Oculus Rift is user friendly, and it completely immerses you inside virtual worlds.

However, there are still some tracking glitches that need to be taken care of before the virtual world begins to feel like the real world. And the biggest problem of understanding the design of the real room and involving that into the virtual world is something to look out for. This could move more into the domain of augmented reality (AR), which seems to be developing at its own pace.

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