The present growth in virtual reality can be attributed to the development of the Oculus Rift. Oculus has been a forerunner in the virtual reality space. However, the company hasn’t showed any interest in augmented reality, irrespective of the fact that they are almost similar in their potential applications.
According to Brendan Iribe, the CEO of Oculus, augmented reality hasn’t become so advanced yet that it can match what the company can do with VR. Oculus doesn’t even think that this will be possible for a long time. Iribe even said that AR technology is not compelling enough that consumers would want more of it.
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Augmented Reality- A Different Market
Iribe said augmented reality is a different market as it is a different user experience altogether. He said “You see the real world and [rendered models will] appear holographic for a long time, because matching the lighting of the real world through the glasses is incredibly difficult. You have an incredible perceptual system that can detect when things aren’t quite right.”
Iribe thinks that consumers might use something between augmented and virtual reality in the future. He said “I think you’ll see an in-between of augmented VR where you scan in the real world but it’s all rendered in 3D with non-transparent glasses with mounted sensors. It won’t show you video [via external cameras] because that won’t be comfortable, but it’ll scan in local space. There are people in our research group who worked on Kinect and now they’re working on 3D reconstruction of real-world space. You could put on your glasses and see it look very like the real world; you’d be able to see your hands, pick up objects or drink a bottle of water. You can interact with things naturally because they’re really there.”
Challenges Faced by Augmented Reality
The field of view is a challenge which needs to be overcome, for augmented reality to succeed. When compared to VR, controlling field of view for AR is tougher. For augmented reality, it is tough to try and layer your real world’s view with floating screens or holograms and ensure that everything remains in the same line while adjusting with your movements.
Iribe said “A small floating window breaks the feel of immersion in augmented reality today. As that unlocks, it’ll become a lot more popular.”
Another challenge is right at the heart of the technology. The AR headsets that are developed are not fashionable and consumers would not want to wear them. Iribe says about these AR headsets “Wearing cyborg glasses is going to be a social challenge because we’re self-conscious about what we look like so we want our glasses to look like the glasses people wear today, instead of walking around with computer glasses. They have to deliver an absolutely amazing experience to get people around that block — and they have to get a lot smaller. Big helmet visors aren’t going to be something people want to walk around with. In your own room it’s okay, so for VR it’s a non-issue, but to interact with the world you want something thinner and smaller.”
According to Iribe, the current condition of AR technology might change in the future but not right now. Oculus might not be interested in pursuing this technology but Microsoft is concentrating on AR by developing the HoloLens. It needs to be seen whether virtual reality will go mainstream once Oculus Rift released commercially in 2016.
What do you think?
Do you think VR is better than AR? Would you prefer exploring the world of virtual reality or augmented reality? Share your thoughts in the comments below.