The future of Virtual Reality

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sai Prasanth C, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur


Philip is the creator of the virtual world Second Life. In his talk at the CTO Forum on the future of Virtual Reality (VR), he spoke about the next steps for VR, and the baby steps that are needed to get us there. He is a summary of what Phil said. With VR we can achieve 18 degrees of continuous freedom (six on each hand & six on the head), and this allows us to see and manipulate the things we are working on. Therefore, the interface in our computer will become a natural interface.

If we can transmit data from these new devices across the network, we can create not only the interface, but completely life-like communication. However, there are problems in doing that, but if we can transmit the information with less than 1/10th of a second delay, we will be soon using this technique to achieve face-to-face interaction. VR will therefore, have a disruptive impact on human communication. What is different now is that VR devices are becoming affordable. The same aggressive competition which helped build the smartphone market is now being used to create VR screens, giros etc. This hardware has become so cheap that today’s high level VR devices are becoming $500 devices. Therefore, 1st generation devices will be at the price-point of smartphones.

If VR climbs the adoption ramp, like the smartphone did, it could literally be less than a decade before VR becomes widely adopted. In the past, the Internet infrastructure (for VR in a shared context) in a space other than gaming and entertainment, required fast capabilities. Today we have achieved that after the Netflix explosion in service (reciprocal property with very low ping delays).We have now achieved less than 100 milliseconds in connection speed between the US and Singapore (1/2 way around the world). Therefore, the speed with which data can be transmitted is now below the 2003 ITU recommended level required to ‘feel in conversational connection’ with someone. When you bring all of these factors together, you create an opportunity to essentially put two people in a room together. Virtual Reality (VR) will be as trans-formative for our society as the Internet and smartphone before it.



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