What does the future hold for media? Collaboration? Communication? Two powerhouse companies, Microsoft and Facebook, are exploring a new frontier, and for them, the answer is: INTERACTIVE.
With Facebook’s Oculus and Microsoft’s HoloLens, Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR), tricks your eyes into thinking it is elsewhere, creating a virtual or augmented reality with incredible potential.
Virtual reality and augmented reality technology has the potential to revolutionize entire fields, from media and education, to travel and even healthcare. Imagine immersing yourself in a live concert from the comfort of your home, or creating virtual classrooms, accessible to students from around the world.
Other VR/AR innovators are working to create programs that simulate everything from surgeries for healthcare professionals, to therapeutic programs targeting autism and mental health disorders. As the AR/VR technology improves, it will become cheaper, more innovative, and increasingly seamless.
Oculus V. Hololens
Though the technologies have similarities, there are significant differences in the dueling products. With Facebook’s Oculus, which was purchased for $2 billion, the technology uses positional tracking, but uses an external reference point devoid of hand tracking, and you cannot see the “real world”.
Microsoft’s Hololens on the other hand, uses positional tracking with an overlay on the real world that has depth cues and primitive hand tracking, allowing you to augment the “real world” around you. The Hololens is not as immersive as Oculus, but as the technology continues to improve, the versatility of overlaying the “real world” with an augmented one will be valuable in its own right.
The Race is on
Both are technologies that can be used to simulate physical presence through sight, sound, and touch, having significant potential to alter the technical landscape forever, with their impact diffusing into countless other industries.
Facebook and Microsoft are not the only players entering the game. Increasingly, companies and individuals are taking up the AR/VR challenge, and will continue to do so. It seems that AR/VR technology will be just the beginning to a very exciting and innovative era.