I don’t really think Virtual Reality is doomed. Quite the opposite actually. I think it is going to be huge. I think VR, AR and the Internet of Things are going to change the way we live. But to look at some of the headlines and quotes that are floating around in regards to VR you would think the sky is falling.
“VR made me nauseated.”
“I couldn’t see my hands.”
“I couldn’t walk around.”
“I got tangled in wires.”
“Facebook drops headset prices, again!”
“VR sales figures disappoint.”
“The technology just isn’t there.”
Holy crap. Enough.
VR, AR, and MR are new.
Yes, we’ve seen many iterations throughout the years. One of the very first examples dates back to 1962 with Morton Heligs Sensorama. A device predating computers and using mechanical means to encompass all the senses, drawing the viewer into the onscreen activity. Helig produced five short films to be displayed in the Sensorama. All of them designed to engage multiple senses (sight, sound, smell, and touch).
It was a big clunky device, but an amazing experience in 1962. And a step in the right direction.
As journalists, we seek news to celebrate or perceived failures to write about. Mind blowing breakthroughs and colossal blunders make compelling content.
Writing about VR’s misses is de rigueur right now. People enjoy cutting the giant down.
Let’s go back in time and take a look at some technologies that have completely changed the way we live.
Everything had to start somewhere.
The first car, the Benz Patent Motor Car, had .75 horsepower and the average adult could outrun it. A base level Honda Civic LX has 158 horsepower and can hit 130 mph. It has a more powerful computer in it than the world’s best desktop computer from fifteen years ago.
The Wright Brothers first flight lasted 12 seconds at a speed of 6.8 mph. Virgin Galatic is aiming to provide suborbital space flights to tourists. Tourists! Elon Musk has visions of Mars.
Bathrooms used to be outside of the house. Enough said.
IBM priced its first PC at $1565.00 in 1981. Around $5000.00 today adjusted for inflation. You can buy a new laptop today for $175.00.
Things change, technology evolves. Let’s take a moment and realize how fortunate we are to be on the cusp of something that will be revolutionary. Something that will change the way we learn, interact and have fun.
“Virtual reality was once the dream of science fiction. But the internet was also once a dream, and so were computers and smartphones. The future is coming.” -Mark Zuckerberg
Let’s enjoy it for what it is. Have faith in the amazing group of people trying their best to make something incredible. Between them and Moore’s Law, VR will be just fine.
One day when VR resembles the Oasis from Ernest Clines Ready Player One we will look back and laugh at the uncomfortable and nauseating headsets we had to wear.
Then we can complain that the robots don’t do a good job cleaning the bathroom.
by Craig Stanland