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Four Factors That Will Push VR Forward in 2016 (technologyreview.com) 64

At MIT Technology Review, Rachel Metz lists four factors she believes will mean great advancements for virtual reality in the next year. More and better games; wider adoption of specialized cameras for capturing the deep imagery that immersive worlds require; specialized presentation techniques that supplement VR with physical cues like temperature or direction; and availability of better viewing hardware. That better hardware seems poised to take off. According to the article, Facebook-owned Oculus’s first consumer headset, Rift, is slated for release in the first quarter of the year, while the HTC Vive—a headset created by smartphone maker HTC and video-game company Valve—is set to be available to consumers in April. Sony, meanwhile, is building its own headset, called PlayStation VR, which the company says will be released in the first half of the year.
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Four Factors That Will Push VR Forward in 2016

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  • Too late (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 28, 2015 @07:54AM (#51194499)

    There was a real chance to garner interest in VR for the second time. Too bad it was overhyped without anything to show for it and now everybody is tired of hearing about it.

    Maybe someone will get it right in another 10 or 15 years.

    • - also, apart from entertainment, is there a compelling reason that we need VR? Will business be better, more efficient, ... than what we have now? I can't see it myself; it might look cool, but that's about it.

      • There are tons of actual use cases if they can get it working well enough. Here are two obvious ones: Virtual Home Tours, Tank Drivers.
        • Each one is worth 1000lbs.
          While there may be a few useful features, for the most part I don't see too much good usage. VR Programming, where we build a 3d model of our code? Seems rather clumsy to me, Sure we can visualize a 3d Array a little cleaner, but so what. VR accounting?
          Also there is stuff that 3d visualized on a 2d screen that will do just as well. Unless you need a real 3d perspective and needs to know that the device is actually just small and levitating, vs a large object in the background, I

      • by Zobeid ( 314469 )

        - also, apart from tasting good, is there a compelling reason that we need ice cream? Will business be better, more efficient, ... than what we have now? I can't see it myself; it might be delicious, but that's about it. I guess ice cream is doomed to fail in the marketplace rather than become -- hypothetically -- a $14.5 billion per year industry in the USA alone.

        Seriously now. . . I don't understand the hand-wringing that I've seen in the blogosphere, repeatedly, over whether VR can "grow beyond the

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I am not a gamer but I'd like something somewhere between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. It occurred to me when I was back at the early part of my current wanderlust. I was in Buffalo and headed up the Skyway to Niagara. I realized that I'd like to have something that lets me look at the highway, find out when it was built, learn what the structural ratings are, see the typical throughput, learn about the construction workers, and see the construction process. I'd like to be able to look at a buildi

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Cheap accelerometers are too slow, this creates a nauseating lag, rendering it useless for many types of games. Presumably there are high grade sensors used in aviation and precision fabrication plants that will eventually come down to consumer level pricing.

      I would like to see VR done without the gamer in mind, just tech for the sake of it project to see what can be done had money not been a factor, like hypercars.

      • Cheap accelerometers are too slow, this creates a nauseating lag, rendering it useless for many types of games. Presumably there are high grade sensors used in aviation and precision fabrication plants that will eventually come down to consumer level pricing.

        I would like to see VR done without the gamer in mind, just tech for the sake of it project to see what can be done had money not been a factor, like hypercars.

        This is true, but a little misleading. It's not the analog part of the accelerometer that is slow, it's the digital part and the ADC.

        Cheap accelerometers often deliver sample rates of about 50-100 Hz, which means you get something like 20-10 Ms of latency right off the bat. Filters that you attach will add another 20 Ms or more depending on what sort of filters you use. If the signal runs through a software layer (Android, iOS, etc) you get additional latency on the order of 20 Ms. In the end you might end

    • It'll always be "overhyped" because VR is, ultimately, never going to live up to expectations.

      VR is supposed to be about an immersive environment that feels like RL. It takes about ten seconds with anything hyped as VR, be it 3D TV/movies, Doom/Quake/successors to the latter, a 3D headset, or whatever, to realize that you're nowhere near being in this immersive environment. All that's happened is someone has found a way to add depth perception and perhaps create a more innovative control system for how y

      • by Zobeid ( 314469 )

        I don't believe it. I have to wonder if you've even played a VR game in your life?

        To date, the only one I've played was Dactyl Nightmare in the arcade, back in the 1990s. Man, that was crude. . . Black void in the background, low-rez pixellated objects. . . It was like the Pong of VR. And to me, it was fun. However rough and limited it was, I was able to mentally put myself into that space. I was standing on my feet, and I had a gun (not a mouse) in my hand, and I was able to aim and shoot at the p

        • I didn't just say immersive, no. I said it has to be so immersive it feels like RL. There's plenty of immersive media - including books* - out there, but little or nothing that's so good you could think you're actually in the world being described.

          VR is sold as a level of immersion so good you could think it's real. That's an unattainable goal (at least, right now), which means it'll always disappoint as long as it's sold as VR. What's not unattainable is good immersion. Like I said, FPSes are pretty muc

          • Iracing+occuus+force feedback felt pretty darn real, since I've done trackdays on some of the same tracks that are present in i-racing (and I-racing laser scans the tracks they model so you feel all the same bumps).

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

            You got the sense of speed that you don't get when viewing the track on the display which made it way easier to judge turn in/apex/exits.

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              I watched your video and I've actually taken a number of on-track driving lessons and done some course work (driving is a passion of mine). I'm not sure how immersed one can become in things like that if they're familiar with the real thing. Can you sense the RPMs? Can you feel the difference in track conditions in the shade vs. where the Sun has been beating for hours? Can you place the sounds of traffic in the appropriate places? Can you hear the difference in tire noise to know when you're nearing the po

              • I've got the DK2, a G29 wheel, AssetoCorsa and an old M3 seat (no harness though, I chould put one in, knowing where there are a couple gathering dust as they are over NHRA's belt age limit. But that seems pointless to me.)

                It heel and toes well, not heel and toeing (if you turn off 'auto-blip') upsets the car's virtual suspension. It has a 'slushbox driver' mode for those who can't drive, so it all depends on how many 'assists' you turn off (I like to leave the ones on that are in the actual cars, use pa

    • I received a new View Master VR [view-master.com] for Xmas. It's impressed the hell out of everybody I've shown it to, a number of friends plan to pick one up soon.

      It uses your smart phone for the display so it's rather inexpensive - while the starter pack (viewer and a demo disk) has a list price of $29.99, Amazon has it for $20.95 [amazon.com]. It's compatible with apps written for Google Cardboard [google.com].

      I've written a blog entry [atariage.com] about it for anyone interested in more detail.

    • by Zobeid ( 314469 )

      Your attitude won't stop headsets from shipping in a few months, and your attitude won't stop people like me from buying one.

  • "Four Factors" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @08:50AM (#51194675) Journal

    All four of the factors are porn.

  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @08:51AM (#51194677) Homepage
    So I can use this along with the Kinect to play a hand full of games and demos after which it will sit gathering dust.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Once Apple "invents" VR with "iGlasses" after a year or 2 of commercial availability from other vendors, it'll make VR happen.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      And this will happen, not for your snarky reasons, but because Apple will figure out where the intersection is between functionality, cost and ease of use and people will buy it because it just works.

      Occulus and everyone else will be so busy making it perfect, with insane system requirements and high costs, that they will miss the everyman kind of user. I'm sure their system will tick off more technical achievements, but as we've seen time and again, that kind of accounting doesn't work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The one thing that makes VR headsets in development useless is the narrow (~ 100 degrees) viewing angle. To look behind, that means having to turn the head by >180-50/2 = 125 degrees. Instead of turning the head 90 degrees, in combination with an eye-movement of another 90 degrees.

    Of all the many different types being developed, only StarVR seems to care. Likely, others will sell more, and rule the market. Like VHS and Video2000.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @11:51AM (#51195491)

    I always assumed VR needed the absolute best hardware and software technology could make -- and I suppose it does, if re-creating insane framerate high end games is the goal.

    But when I got a free cardboard viewer with my NY Times I was blown away with how good even the most ghetto VR setup could be. The NY Times' video content was meh, but the quickie Google Cardboard app museum tours were immersive and I can't tell you how much time I wasted on the streetview cardboard view.

    I'm starting to think they could be doing decent if flawed VR *now*, and building up content, even if it is fairly tame still imagery. As a potential consumer, I could give a shit about gaming but I could easily see spending hours as a virtual tourist.

    I worry basically that they're making the perfect the enemy of the good, which means it arrives late, with high cost and a ton of flaws because they've baked too much into it.

    • The Samsung GearVR with it's additional IMUs is an order of magnitude better the Cardboard, the Rift and Vive with positional tracking and room scale is another order over that.

      VR has a very bright future in 2016.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        Everything is potentially better than the cardboard, but the point is, the cardboard works now and is pretty cool for what it is.

        And I'm not saying it should be the focus of anything in terms of development, but it's an example of how crude and simple actually working (with wide hardware support) beats "orders of magnitude better" with limited hardware support and much higher costs.

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