Virtual reality (VR) is one of the fastest growing technology in our modern world. Here are seven interesting facts about virtual reality!
1. VR has been around for decades
Many people think that virtual reality is a new technology that has never been around before. Contrary to those beliefs, VR has first been introduced in the early 1920’s; it just wasn’t available to the general public. Indeed, the first flight simulator was built in 1927, which was the closest thing to today’s virtual reality. In the 1950’s, a cinematographer, Morton Heilig, came up with the Sensorama. The Sensorama was a concept that included an arcade-style theatre cabinet, which featured a stereoscopic 3D display, fans and smell generators, stereo speakers as well as vibrating chairs. The idea was to fully immerse a person into a film-like experience.
2. VR devices can be affordable
A big misconception about virtual reality that most people have is that VR devices are extremely expensive. Some of the top line gaming oriented VR devices, such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are really expensive and can cost anywhere between $600 and $800, without including the graphics that the computer needs to run games. But what most people don’t know, is that there are affordable mobile VR devices available in the market. These devices are headsets, such as Google cardboard headsets, Samsung gear VR and Homido, that you can connect to your smartphone or tablet. Their prices are usually under $100 and can go as low as $20.
3. VR is not just for gaming
A lot of emphasis is put on the impact that virtual reality has on the gaming industry. But gaming represents only a small fraction of what VR can be used for. Many industries are now using virtual reality as a way to connect with their customers or to educate students. For instance, a lot of medical schools are using virtual reality, to train students for surgeries without having to actually operate on a real cadaver. And as VR headsets are becoming cheaper, a lot of companies, such as traveling agencies, are giving their customers the opportunity to experience virtual reality tours of places they may want to visit.
4. The Government is investing in VR
The U.S. Government has been investing more and more into virtual reality. For example, NASA uses VR technology to try to connect astronauts with the devices they send into space, as a way to train them beforehand. These astronauts are therefore prepared for things like maintenance, once they are in space.
The U.S. military has also been using VR, as a way to train its soldiers before they actually get deployed. The training soldiers are put into simulated scenarios, which provide opportunities for teams to work together in immersive, realistic environments, to better prepare them for the trauma and chaos of combat.
5. Major companies are investing in VR
As mentioned before, more and more companies are investing into virtual reality, as a way to connect with consumers. About 75% of Forbes most powerful brands, such as BMW, Honda, HSBC, Tommy Hilfiger, are now using VR or augmented reality.
6. VR has a positive ROI (return on investment)
When businesses decide whether or not to invest in VR they want to make sure that they will get a positive ROI. Well good news, VR has been proven to provide a positive ROI for most companies. One good example is the British travel agency, Thomas Cook, which offered its potential customers the opportunity to experience a virtual tour of New York city in their stores. They experienced a 190% increase in bookings to New York city after this marketing campaign.
7. No single person invented VR
Even though VR has been around for decades, no one can point out a single person that is responsible for the creation of VR, since many people contributed to it. Some of them are Morton Heilig, the cinematographer previously mentioned, Jaron Lanier, is credited as the person who coined the term virtual reality, Douglas Engelbart, created the computer mouse, Ivan Sutherland, the creator of the first head mounted display and lastly but not least, Myron Krueger, who worked with computer graphics and audio in the form of a video projections, which surrounded a person within a designated space.