Whiteboard / 06 28, 2017
Virtual & Augmented Reality — You Are Here Now.
The idea of Virtual Reality as we understand it today is not anything new and in fact, was conceived in the late 80s. For the first time since its creation – it seems to be making an impact.
By Kat Korwes
As of mid 2017, the 4 main consumer VR platforms that are available in the market are:
- Oculus Rift (owned by Facebook)
- HTC Vive (in tandem with the Steam gaming & app platform)
- Samsung Gear VR (a more mobile VR experience)
- PlayStation VR (goes with Sony’s PS4 console)
Oculus Rift and HTC Vive utilize VR technology as thoroughly as possible right now and require a powerful PC to run them. With relatively high resolution panels (but still not enough to make the VR illusion believable) and their own respective controllers, they attract mostly hardcore gamers and early adopters.
Samsung Gear VR and PlayStation VR’s features are a subset of compromises made for the sake of accommodating more users. PlayStation VR needs a PS4, an inexpensive piece of equipment these days. Samsung Gear VR only requires an able smartphone.
All of those things considered, VR is regarded as a novelty by consumers. However, manufacturers do not consider it as novelty anymore because there are 4 of them hitting the mainstream markets heavily.
How is AR different from VR?
Augmented Reality is more applicable toward everyday life. While VR is building a 3D experience from scratch and substituting your entire field of view with a brand new image, AR is overlaying digital images over what we can actually see.
It’s everywhere around us already, as we use our smartphones: Snapchat filters, Pokémon Go!, Facebook Messenger/Live are only some of the most prominent examples. The AR era has already started and it seems like it will only progress faster and faster as new AI, 3D/2D rendering & camera algorithms are being developed.
image credit: Intel
Should I sell my smartphone and/or close my traditional app business?
The short answer is – not just yet.
NVIDIA – a leading manufacturer of graphics processors, which are at the very core of proper VR & AR – is not expecting VR to reach human eye quality imagery for the next 20 years. At the same time other notable platforms such as: Microsoft HoloLens, the open source OSVR, and a brand new player – Varjo, are picking up the pace and starting to offer new solutions to VR’s most prominent problems. Varjo promises more resolution and crisper images than current competitors. Microsoft HoloLens provides unparalleled reality tracking features. OSVR provides an open platform. There is also a brand new player that just joined the AR market – Apple. Their early demos deliver excellent reality tracking and rendering quality for an OS that was – until now – completely devoid of any serious AR/VR experience. That opens up another big market.
Everything, from UI, through data input, to sound design, is going to change when developing apps for VR & AR. It’s very important to have your finger on the pulse of these new platforms.
Kat Korwes is a Senior Designer at Haneke Design. Mistakenly born in cold Poland, she spent her school years leveling up on her design skills, and watching 8 hours of American TV a day. This led her to finish her Master’s degree at Indiana University. She then moved to warm Florida, and when she’s not designing, she’s playing video games and spending time with her husband and three ferrets.