Top Trends in Virtual and Augmented Reality

By Len WegnerNovember 23, 2016

Virtual and Augmented Reality, commonly referred to as AR & VR, are increasingly maturing into major trends that are proving to be notably useful and productive tools beyond the video gaming industry. The AR and VR technology are currently being deployed in visualizing 3D outputs for industrial purposes, promotion of goods, and to enhance the overall experience of gaming, broadcasting, and training.

IDC predicts, by 2017 nearly 40% of services managed by the IT infrastructure will convert into business services centralized around virtual and augmented experiences.

The Operating Architecture of Virtual and Augmented Reality

VR, usually enabled by a Head-Mounted Display (HMD), uses computer technology to simulate a real or imaginary environment in the virtual space. The technology, using a user's physical presence and sensory perceptions facilitate navigation in an artificially developed 3D environment with 360° interaction with objects.

While VR mimics the reality, AR, on the other hand, heightens reality by creating simulated objects in the real world. The real world is then augmented and magnified by computer-generated sensory input such as audio, video, graphics, and GPS data.

2016 perceives VR & AR as strong gaming interfaces, however, the year 2017 projects the emerging technology beyond consumer applications into the industrial domain. Listed below are a roundup of top trends that will have a terrific impact in recent years to come -

Breaking Away from Monitors is a Prime Benefit of VR

Charilaos Papadopoulos recently showcased The Reality Deck (RD), an immersive Gigapixel Display, in a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) setting. RD presents near about 1.5 Gpixel of display resolution in a 33×19×11-foot rectangular 360-degree enclosure. Reality Deck helps investigate visual analytics, enabling researchers with access to incredibly higher information density.

Altering the Physical Space with SAR System

Spatial augmented reality (SAR) is a process used to display augmented reality data through the application of projectors. The SAR system can be employed to alter a physical object’s visual features, including its texture, color, transparency, and geometry. Spatial user interfaces with Large-Scale Projector-Based Augmented Reality not only changes the user interaction for virtual information but also remodels the physical object being projected upon.

Mid-Air User Interfaces Implementing Particle Screens

Particle screens, also referred to as fog screens, generate a massive amount of reflective particles in midair, which can be projected onto. These screens allow viewing from multiple angles in public spaces. New research works on particle screens present an intriguing possibility of surrounding existing objects, enabling the augmentation to hover in mid-air encompassing the object.

Optical See-Through Head-Mounted Displays

The concept outlines an innovate method of creating photorealism. Rendering photorealistic virtual imagery with optical see-through displays is hugely challenging, but it offers exceptionally potential solutions to problems using the new color calibration method for head-worn displays.

Taking into account the upcoming trends, the future for virtual and augmented reality seems extremely promising. While the gaming and entertainment industry have been early adopters of AR and VR, their benefits will be strongly felt in many industry sectors including manufacturing where there’s enough room for automation, healthcare where AR/VR can help in areas ranging from training to recovery paths and diagnosing to situation simulation, and other sectors such as real estate and architecture. With richly immersive and personalized experiences, AR/VR could become a legitimate training and development tool, to be used in the fields of education and human resources.