Access to Creating VR Content
What’s Available In Market
Google Street View – Free (with computer access)
Google Cardboard – Free – $30 (with smartphone access)
Oculus Rift (available March 28, 2016) – $599 (with smartphone access)
Microsoft HoloLens (early 2016) – $3000
Virtual Reality is a relatively young concept
Google Cardboard currently sells for $19.95 from the Apple website, but one could essentially buy a similar model on externals sites for as little as $2.99 or make one’s own. This low price and high accessibility for VR proves useful if we want to mass-distribute on a global level, perhaps with humanitarian cause. As of last week, Google announced that it had reached 5 million shipments in the Google cardboard. Just last night, the Google cardboard app surpassed 25 million downloads. This is a tremendous peak in popularity for a concept that under a decade ago, seemed virtually impossible. However, we should also recognise that accessing Google cardboard requires one to have a smartphone, and besides the various mock VR scenes or games one could play through Google cardboard, researchers are still dancing on the idea of using virtual reality for producing real humanitarian change. 25 million is a lot, but it is only a tiny representation of the world. When I went to rural India a couple years ago, kids didn’t even know such a thing as a camera even existed. It would take many more years for them to fathom the possibilities of virtual reality device.
Future Goals of VR: Engaging the senses
One of VR’s biggest questions is whether or not it can tap into other components of our sensory functions, and one day provide a rich multi-sensory VR experience. Image being able to experience sound in a 3-dimensional plan, or being able smell objects that you see in a headset. Perhaps we can one day even experience the same touch haptics as one experiences on the screen. Researchers are even in the talks of creating a brain-machine interface that taps directly into our nervous system.
Singularity: a way for our minds to separate from our bodies and, uploaded into a digital realm, live on even as our physical selves grow old and die.