Virtual Reality

During the Mobile World Congress (Barcelona), Samsung released its new flagship : The Galaxy S7 ; this phone is bundled with a Virtual Reality headset which enables new applications and experience for games or videos.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was invited on stage, following his recent acquisition of Oculus, a company specialized in Virtual Reality Headsets and that co-develops the Samsung product. He said that VR is the “most social platform”, as its development will be boosted by users themselves, by replacing selfies by 360 degrees immersive photos.

But how do those headsets work ?

Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that he feels like he is in a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two senses: sight and sound.

Nowadays, me mostly find Virtual Reality headsets, such as for instance the Oculus Rift that I’ve already mentioned. Those products are built by assembling circular lenses in front of a high-resolution screen that is a few centimeters away from your eyes. The goal is to immerse the user into a virtual world. Some sensors are embedded in the headset to detect head movements in order to adapt the content displayed on the screen.

Another way to do it is with a smartphone. Recently, Google released a cardboard that folds up into kinds of glasses. The main advantage is that it is very cheap.

Samsung’s concept is a mix between those two solutions, as it needs a smartphone as a screen but provides additional sensors and buttons.

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What are the usages of Virtual Reality ?

There are numerous ways virtual reality can be used. It applies to differents fields such as : Gaming, Education, Healthcare, and so on ! Let me give you a few examples.

First of all, immersiveness is really great in first-person games, as we see through the player’s eyes. It’s sometimes combined with a sort of platform where you can actually walk, go different directions, to copy players’ movements in the game. Not to mention that similar system are being used by military forces to train.

For entertainment purposes, it is possible to play 3D movies with those headset. It gives you the impression to be in front of a huge TV ! The problem is … the limitation to one user at a time. Another usage is with 360 degrees videos. YouTube offers it since a couple of month, it works great with a mice or with a smartphone, but it’ll be better with a VR compatible product.

Virtual reality could also serve as a tool for rehabilitation. Stroke and brain injury victims can now use an immersive virtual-reality therapy. The virtual exercises and real-time feedback are made to feel like games, helping to motivate patients to practise everyday activities.

Last but not least, VR is being used in museums or classes to teach history. In fact, it is possible to recreate in 3 dimensions some parts of the world as they used to be in the past and to discover them as if we’re here ! Exciting isn’t it ?

Future of virtual reality

We may assume that 2016 will be the year of Virtual Reality. It’s going to be a mainstream technology by the end of the year or so. Yet the prices are still pretty high, but with the demand, it’s going to decrease.

Are you willing to get yourself a VR Headset ? Let a comment in the section bellow !

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