Virtually Right Here

Arsha Mech Vikraman, I Year B.A. English

2017, or rather three-quarters of it, has been a time of newer and better gadgets, but more importantly, Virtual Reality or VR. For some of last year and a few years before, the Oculus Rift seemed like the only way of using VR, but now we are seeing a new wave of competition.

Now, VR is becoming more and more useful as the days pass. Trainee pilots, drivers and many others can use Virtual Reality and learn from the experience rather than damage actual, expensive planes and cars. This makes it a more convenient way to train more people in a shorter period of time. The relatively cheaper Google Cardboard uses a cardboard box-like structure where you can house your phone and use it as a screen. Similar to this is the Samsung Gear VR which looks slightly better but basically performs with the same function. The more expensive Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which have their own screens and gyroscopes, offer more movement.

If you want to see how far VR is actually progressing, you only need to look at Youtube. The platform is proving instrumental in helping Virtual Reality reach a widespread audience. On most (if not all) videos, there is an option to watch using Google Cardboard, and many channels like Vogue, Vevo and several artists are releasing videos in the 360 degrees format, which does require a lot of head turning and you will probably end up with a sore neck for days to come.

Virtual reality has also reached an already successful adult industry- the pornography industry. Several websites now feature a Virtual Reality category which requires users to have headsets. Even cameras have now come out with 360 degrees shooting to make those crazy videos.

A more mobile version called Augmented Reality is now entering the world. Apple’s recently announced iPhone X (pronounced iPhone ten) features this, which makes one reminiscent of Pokemon Go. Now, instead of using Pokemon Go to experience augmented reality, you will see the feature already integrated into the phone. It can be accessed through the camera and can be used with several games which are coming out later this year, making superb use of this feature.

Unfortunately, if you want a better experience than the Samsung Gear or the Google Cardboard, you’ll have to spend a pretty penny on the Oculus or the HTC which won’t be of much use if you don’t use Virtual Reality a lot.

Now for the foreseeable future, virtual reality seems to be headed in a great direction, but only time will tell whether the interest of the general public will rise or fade.

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