This is certainly a time when we can start speaking of the virtual reality age; even if the very first VR headset that you can take and use in the confines and comfort of your home is not even yet released, virtual reality and experience is an element you clash with wherever you go. Companies are trying to adopt it, game developers believe it is the future. Tech giants are hurrying to hop on the bandwagon of developing their own take on virtual reality and finding VR solutions for virtually anything they can.
So whether we’re ready for it or not, the age of virtual reality is slowly being ushered in, and chances are it will develop much faster than one may expect. One of the reasons behind that is the fact that tech giants such as Facebook have been working on this kind of technology for years already. And chances are that once the VR technology hits the shelves and an appropriate number of individuals start adopting it, it will quickly be assimilated as a part of our lives.
After that, it will quickly advance right before our eyes.
In a matter of months, we will have several devices of this family in circulation, the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and the Google Cardboard – which has already been on sale as a budget VR alternative for a while – being a few of the names. But the Microsoft Hololens, the PlayStation VR and many more are still in the works, and each is attempting to come with a little more. Just recently, Google added a dedicated VR section to its Google Store which means that preparations are undergoing for aggressive expansion.
So all that being said, where is the world heading to as this age of virtual reality is just beginning to dawn on us?
For the amount of hype and excitement that is elicited from the public on the theme, there is an equal amount of concern regarding a world where virtual reality shares an equally large place with the actual reality. Health issues are being discussed by numerous individuals in either verbally expressed fears or the more light-hearted internet memes such as the photo of Mark Zuckerberg walking down the aisle in a room filled with people wearing virtual reality headsets.
It is already known that immediate effects of experiencing VR can include vertigo, confusion and even nausea, but the amount of experimentation that has been done so far in the field does not offer a proof of what the long term effects are. Numerous science fiction pieces or fantasy stories – Matrix and the anime series Sword Art Online to list a few – depict a world where we’re so heavily cut off from the real world that the physical and psychological effects are incredibly severe.
Eye strain and temporary disorientation are some of the effects already known and attempted to be handled by those designing VR devices. But in the absence of a study regarding long-term effects of experiencing virtual reality, are we treading into a dangerous and rather unknown territory?
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