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Where is the Future of Virtual Reality?

The future of virtual reality headsets seems very bright, but numerous analysts agree that we have been waiting for a while for this technology to finally become materialized.

However, since Facebook Inc. is launching its own VR headset soon (called The Rift), the evolution of a new computing platform might be nearer than we think.

Virtual reality might sound like a sci-fi term, but numerous companies have been experimenting with this field for a few years now. It seems that Microsoft sparked interest in physical VR products when the company announced HoloLens, powered by Windows 10. However, the Windows-maker made a huge and bold statement with this announcement, but public wants to see the results immediately.

It might take a while until we get to see and use the HoloLens, but we’ll surely have a range of VR headsets to choose from at that point.
Facebook’s Oculus Rift is perhaps the most anticipated VR headset that will be launched in March, even though some sources are saying that we’ll have to wait until June for the product to be officially launched. However, Sony’s PlayStation VR is expected to arrive at that same time, along with HTC’s Vive.

HTC Vive?

In case you are curious about what is already on the market, you can take a look at Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR, which both bring 360-degree videos and other content.
Much of the excitement about VR comes from the gaming community. As expected, we should see a major breakthrough in the gaming industry as soon as VR headsets appear.

On the contrary, the future of this product category might not even be entirely in this field. For example, Google is running a project called Expeditions, allowing anyone to visit exotic locations around the world. Sony has been working with NASA to develop an experience of standing on Mars.
Could you just imagine what medical stuff and architects (to name a few examples) could do with this technology, as well as how it can help them learn better and perceive problems in a completely new way?

Oculus Rift

Interestingly enough, we can also take a look further and see what could be materialized in a few years from now. Google has recently acquired Thrive Audio, which is a company that specializes in spatial audio. This way, you can perceive your surroundings in a much more realistic way. For example, you can hear an animal approaching you.

Even further, smell could become an integral part of VR experiences. A couple of VR-related companies are interested in acquiring a company called Feelreal. This company has developed a mask that is able to release scents, which could enhance what you see in a headset.

Naturally, what we’ve discussed in this article is in an early stage, expecting for the products which will be launched in a couple of months.

However, we have proved that VR isn’t just for gamers, but it should also be perceived as a new method of computing. As Facebook’s CEO already said, a new computing platform usually appears every 10 years, so could this be the next major breakthrough?

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Novak Bozovic
Tech editor and architecture student. His stories have featured in numerous online publications covering hottest stories about IT-and tech trends.