What is VR!?

Virtual reality is a technology that allows you to be anyone, do anything or go anywhere you can possibly imagine. It’s a digital technology that allows you to step inside of a piece of content, inside of a video game, or be part of a film. A lot of times VR is also grouped with augmented reality or AR, and 360 video. Those are a little bit different, and we’ll talk about those in more detail later, but today we’re going to stay focused on virtual reality.

a young woman sitting into a VR experience

There are three key components that are required to create a good VR experience. You need the hardware. You need to have trackability, which we’ll talk about in a second, and also interactivity. The hardware part is pretty straight forward. You need a VR headset. Most VR headsets have two lenses and a digital screen inside.

Oculus Quest with controllers on table

The second part is that trackability. You have to be able to move around in the VR experience, and that’s really what makes it an immersive experience compared to a video game or film. On one side note real quick, early VR headsets had a delay in the trackability of the headset which caused nausea. So if you haven’t tried VR in awhile or the first time you try it, it made you sick, I definitely recommend you give it a try again because things have changed.  

All right so the third component is interactivity. Using controllers or even your hands in some fancier systems, you actually have the ability to do things inside of a VR experience. That interactivity is key in helping create the presence and sense of immersion inside of a VR experience. Some modern headsets have even eliminated the need for controllers and can now track your hands!

women demonstrating oculus quest hand tracking

So where did VR get started? VR has been around since the 1960s believe it or not. People have been working on this technology for a really long time. However, it wasn’t until 2015, when Facebook bought a little company called Oculus and that really pushed this technology into the public domain. However, just in the last two or three years, the technology has improved massively! You don’t need a big heavy-duty $2,000 computer anymore or hang a bunch of crazy sensors around your room. All you need a headset, a couple of controllers and plenty of times to lose yourself in the amazing experiences that are available on these headsets. 

Palmer Lucky on the cover of Time magazine

What are some good use cases for the technology? The first one that most people think about is gaming. Step inside of a video game is a pretty cool thing to do. Another great use case for this stuff, where we are seeing it save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the real world is training and simulation. UPS is using this technology to train their drivers. The military has been using this for years to train soldiers, pilots and the like. Training and simulation, great, great use case for this technology.

man using vr to train as UPS driver

It also has huge benefits as a sales and marketing tool. Let’s say you’re an architect and you want to show someone what the inside of your new building looks like. Well, that’s hard to do until you actually build the building. With VR you can now do that. Another great use case for this technology is around the travel, medication and also in the healthcare space. We are seeing this technology being used to help diagnose concussions. Let’s say you sit in traffic for an hour, you get to work you’re all stressed out, “Hey man, pop on your VR headset and go sit on the beach for a few minutes and breathe”…you’ll have a much better day. 

That’s it for this episode. Be sure to leave any comments or questions below and we’ll be sure to get those answers for yah. 

As always, stay hungry!

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