It seems like it was just yesterday that the whole world woke up to the emergence of Virtual Reality (VR). However, this technology that literally takes you to a surreal world created by super Artificial Intelligence (AI) has being in existence for more than 30 years now.
Since the time VPL Research founder, Jaron Lanier first introduced the then revolutionary VR gloves and goggles, there has been no limit to the imagination of VIrtual Reality technology inventors. Indeed over the years the VR System has moved from being a military secret project to being a technology that is integral to a variety of mainstream use case.
Today virtual reality has become an affordable technology and can be found in our places of work to enhance productivity and for entertainment in our homes.
The KAT VR is a good example of a functioning VR in the home. KAT VR is an exercise treadmill that enables users to achieve their exercise goals by walking in a virtual environment. They can change their virtual space at will and workout without actually leaving their homes.
But while a VR System is now accessible all over the world, from the U.S to England and from Japan to Australia, the technology as we know it today is constantly evolving.
Virtual Reality looks set to turn the page and move on to the next chapter of its revolution as one immersive technology that one day will be essential to our daily needs.
Virtual Reality by 2021
Already VR is being put to good use by many industries, such as; the video gaming, aviation and healthcare industries. Video games that use one VR System or another, have dazzled gamers for years now.
The aviation industry has been training pilots with the use of this technology for quite a while and with the help of VR, pilots with better reaction times and decision making capabilities have emerged. This is also the case with healthcare where virtual reality is a tool used in surgical training along with the traditional method of dissecting cadavers.
In 2021, it is expected that both virtual reality and augmented reality will be incorporated into one immersive technology for a much more holistic and ultra-realistic user experience.
As a matter of fact, the chief scientist of Oculus, Michael Abrash had predicted that the two realities will converge to become one reality operating in the real world to help mainstream society to accomplish a myriad of use cases. The idea is to create a virtual world that would be no different from the real world and one that would leave people guessing which is actually real.
With the COVID-19 pandemic that has made the whole world rethink how citizens should socialise, communicate and work. The emergence of a new technology that merges AR and VR will go a long way in improving people's working, learning, socialising and entertainment experience.
Space - the Final Frontier!
As we enter into the year 2030, it is expected that virtual reality would have been a way of life for the next generation. Just as smart phones are for this generation, VR is expected to be used in providing the next generation with a vivid idea of how life is for astronauts in outer space and colonists on planets within our solar system.
Mars is one planet that has more than caught the attention of NASA and other space agencies around the world. Earth's twin planet is considered to be one that can be habitable and it is expected that the first batch of colonists would have boarded a flight to the planet by 2030.
However, while not everyone on earth would be able to savour the actual experience of traveling to Mars on a spaceship, it is expected that virtually everyone would be able to visit Mars and other planets without actually setting a foot on the planets.
Virtual Reality is expected to play a major role in giving billions of people a first-hand virtual experience of life on other planetary bodies. The cost or price of a ticket to Mars may be out of the reach of a majority of people, but by this time, the virtual experience with the help of advanced AI technology, will more than make up for a lack of travel funds.
Advancements in Medical Science
As mentioned earlier, VR is already being used in healthcare especially in the training of doctors and surgeons. It is expected that by 2030 patients would be able to use the technology on combating a number of physiological and mental health issues.
Phobias is one mental health condition that will benefit tremendously from the merger of AR and VR. People with one phobia or another would be able to face their fear head on in a virtual space as a form of therapy.
With a VR System designed specifically for medical use, patients will also be able to have virtual appointments with Artificial Intelligence (AI) doctors right in their homes.
Ailments would be diagnosed and medications will be prescribed with the drug(s) delivered to the patient without them visiting a clinic, hospital or pharmacy.
Virtual Reality Beyond 2030
Imagination is a beautiful thing and there is a saying that - 'if it can be thought of, it can be done!'
This rings true when it comes to Virtual Reality. It is expected that beyond 2030, this technology will be useful in virtually every industry. People would be able to attend meetings, go to work and shop completely in Virtual Reality driven worlds, but with decisions, milestones, and shopping items purchased in the virtual space being reflected in the real world.
So dependent will we be on VR technology that many people may find it hard to separate it from reality. In fact by the year 2050, humanity would be so reliant on this immersive technology that people may choose to live most of their lives as avatars in a virtual world.
There is no limit to what can be achieved with Virtual Reality as it continues to improve with advanced AI technology. Even the way online stores will go about selling their wares would be completely different, with these stores being able to offer customers a virtual buying and using experience. One that will help to enhance sales while at the same time, improving customer trust, user experience and satisfaction.