State of the Industry: A New Landscape of Virtual Experiences

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embodiment slider(Images courtesy: Microsoft © 2015, DAQRI LLC © 2015, Atheer Labs © 2015, GearVR © 2015)

A new landscape of virtual experiences is emerging as a renaissance in virtual reality technology brings renewed interest, investment, and people interested in making history through stepping into the future of immersive technology.

Professional as well as enthusiast development, and the support of consumers interested in owning their own systems are driving a new push for a future where virtual reality and physical reality blend seamlessly.

In February, xREZ VR researchers explored this new landscape of emerging virtual technology to find trends and gauge the state of the industry today.Our research revealed a promissory innovation space in which a narrative about hybrid physical-virtual spaces emerges as a powerful force in securing buy-in, both posing and begging exciting questions about design and development of the virtual.

Ruth West together with two students and a University of Tasmania collaborator published in the proceedings of the SPIE, The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2015. West presented the paper to an enthusiastic audience at the conference held in San Francisco Feb. 8-12, 2015, followed by a lively question-and-answer session.

The paper “Embodied Information Behavior, Mixed Reality and Big Data” is a snapshot of the current renaissance in virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality technology and the promissory contexts in which those systems are developed.

According to the study, the intersection of “embodied information behavior, mixed reality technology and big data” is presented as a seamless interaction of material reality and digital data, a vision of immersion on-demand, on-the-go and sensorial augmentation beyond that which is humanly possible. Hybrid virtual experiences consisting of ‘being there’ and ‘being here,’ mean that users are present in both physical reality and virtual reality at the same time – a state of constant data immersion.

We discussed the two sets of technology that are making VR big: the underlying technologies that make each device possible (like stereoscopic display, head tracking, positional tracking, gyroscopes, screen resolution, field of view, refresh rate, latency, accelerometers, etc.) and the technologies that make up the “Internet of Things, its computational and telecommunications backbone, and access to data in a variety of forms.”

More from the paper: “As data becomes as ubiquitous in our lives as the architecture we exist within or the air we breathe, a need arises to revisit the role of our bodies, our physical embodiment and senses, explicitly in relation to data or information.”

Ruth West, Max J. Parola, Amelia R. Jaycen and Christopher P. Lueg “Embodied information behavior, mixed reality and big data,” Proc. SPIE 9392, The Engineering Reality of Virtual Reality 2015, 93920E (March 17, 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2083519

Read more at the SPIE Digital Library.

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, focusing on “advancing an interdisciplinary approach to the science and application of light.”

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