Opening the doors on virtual worlds

Virtual Reality Is Coming: But What Will Make It Worth Visiting?

Morpheus, Gear, Rift, Vive—the list of prospective virtual reality devices is growing longer. And although this latest chapter in virtual reality was born in Oculus founder Palmer Luckey’s garage a few years ago, now the great powers of tech and gaming are vying to develop and control our portals on the virtual world. Oculus, owned by Facebook, hasn’t announced a date for a consumer Rift, but speculation pegs a release late this year or early next. Samsung, collaborating with Oculus, released its smartphone-based Gear headset in December. Valve recently showed off its HTC Vive VR system, due in 2015. And Sony is expected to release its Morpheus device in the first half of 2016. Each of these is loosely based on the Rift-inspired blueprint: A headmounted display split in two to give viewers the illusion of depth by parallax; sensors tracking head motion; and software smoothly tailoring the virtual world to fit. Differences include resolution per eye, display refresh rates, controllers, and body tracking. While there are alternatives to the VR model—augmented reality systems like Microsoft’s HoloLens and Magic Leap, for example—tech firms seem determined to open the door on immersive digital experiences. An increasingly pertinent question isn’t what these VR portals will look like: It’s what lurks beyond them. Where will we go and will it be worthwhile? ….[READ]


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