This is part two of our The Future is Wireless series, where we explore new technologies that are removing cords, cables and wires. Today, we are looking at Virtual Reality.
It’s a phrase that we hear about almost every day. Either in the news where it is being applied to help surgeons or in the air used to train pilots. Games companies are building experiences into virtual spaces and content creators are filming videos in 360 degrees, so you can see all around you.
Except, VR headsets often have to be plugged-in to a powerful computer to be able to generate the graphics required to create an immersive experience. Oculus and HTC are industry leaders at creating consumer-focused VR products. But still, they can be expensive. The Oculus Rift starts at £399 for the headset, but you will need to buy a computer with the graphics power to be able to run VR games. Not only that, the cable between the headset and computer will mean you can only sit or stand near your computer- unless you want to try and wear it like a backpack.
For VR headsets to become more widely available, they need to be in a price range that most people can afford as well as being high-quality to create an experience that will be enjoyable. You wouldn’t want to spend hundreds of pounds on a headset that had poor graphics or was uncomfortable to wear.
The Future is Wireless
Introducing two new products from Oculus (the Facebook owned virtual reality company). First- the Oculus Go. A completely wireless virtual reality headset. No wires or powerful computer required. It is a completely standalone device.
The ‘Go’ might not be a replacement for a high-end device like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but it is £200 which is far lower than the more expensive devices which require a desktop with GPU to run them. For the price, you get an LCD screen with a higher resolution than the Rift, plus the ability to download apps and games from the Oculus Store. It’s also fully portable so you could wear it in bed, in the car, in a park or anywhere. But, unlike more expensive headsets, it doesn’t follow you in 3D space. Therefore, you can’t walk forwards or backwards with the device.
This is where Oculus’ recently-announced ‘Quest’ headset shines. It comes equipped with plenty of sensors to react to your position in real space and follow the two handheld touch controllers- this means you can move forwards, backwards or even look around object in virtual space (as long as you don’t walk into something in your room!) You can even use the two handsets to pick up objects and interact with the virtual world. The Oculus Quest is currently not available to buy, but it is expected to be in stores next year for an estimated £399.
That might be double the price of an Oculus Go, but you get so much more out of it.
Isn’t there plenty of VR headsets available already?
There are a number of alternatives, such as Google Cardboard, where you can put your smartphone in. These headsets are also relatively cheap. But will need a smartphone -one that can run VR games- which could easily be £500+. Even then, the VR experience will not be as good as a standalone headset. The lenses might need to be adjusted for each phone size for example. Both the Oculus Go and Quest have hardware that is designed for virtual reality.
At Correl8, we imagine in the future everything will be wireless. Devices will be powered with no cables; wireless internet will be fast enough to download movies in seconds and webpages will appear instantly like reading a book. Virtual reality is one of those technologies that we are passionate about. In fact, we have been working with industry professionals to explore how VR can be applied in different areas of work. One such idea includes recreating houses in 3d space with detail down to the millimetre. Imagine watching as the room around you morphs into a room from your dream home.
At the moment, virtual reality headsets are limited by the power of the processors that they’re connected to; but in reality, the worlds we can explore with them are only limited by our imagination.
You can read our article on The Smartphone That Can Wirelessly-Charge other Smartphones here.