Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Hey there! Glad you could stop by my site. If you’re here it means you were probably looking for something related to virtual reality (VR) or its two cousins – augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR).
If that’s the case then chances are you’ve come to exactly the right place. On my website I’ve created a variety of content that looks at all three of these technologies, their related topics, and a number of issues that you might not have thought were connected to them.
I’ve been passionate about VR technology since the 90s but, as you probably know, VR has just recently stepped out of obscurity and into the light of mainstream attention.
This is why I think now is the right time to put up a website that provides a place where people who are interested in VR can learn the most important information about the technology, without any prejudice or confusion.
I think it’s especially important, now that every company seems to be getting onto the VR hype train. I expect many of the people who visit my site would have never spared a thought for VR until they were exposed to the utter flood of marketing that seemed to have suddenly sprung up out of nowhere. Those of us in the technology world have, of course, been aware of the major revolution in virtual reality for a few years now. Mainstream media and technology sites really only started picking up it when consumer products were almost ready for sale.
Oddly enough, the roots of the present revolution in VR can really be traced back to smartphones such as the iPhone and all its competitors. The technology nestled in modern smartphones helped solve many of the technical hurdles that prevented VR from being an experience you endure as opposed to one that you enjoy.
While VR has failed to get traction a few times before, this time I really believe that VR will work. If you want to know what’s changed to make me so positive this time, you can check out the piece I wrote specifically to explain that position.
Who the Heck Am I?
I’m a pretty typical tech geek. You know, the kid who’d rather spend the weekend fiddling with his PC’s cooling system than step outside. I’m into a whole lot of stuff related to science and technology and my day job is in that sphere of things.
I’m a gamer, a reader, and an all-around nerd when it comes right down to it. Virtual reality has always been a part of my pantheon. It’s not just the technology, either. It’s the philosophy about the boundary between what’s real and what’s not. I’m obsessed with where our technologies are taking us as a society – how it’s changed our trajectory over the history of mankind and all the different ways it will continue to do that.
In a broad sense I’m a futurist, a transhumanist, and technology evangelist. A lot of the stuff on this site is written from that perspective. To put it simply, I’m very excited about technologies like VR and AR.
At the same time, I’ve become quite sober about the realities of technological development. So you don’t have to worry about another person who blindly believes VR will be a success regardless of what’s actually happening. I’d like to think that my writing on the subject will reflect that attitude, but of course that’s for you to decide!
The VR I Like
I think it’s worth giving some background on the sorts of VR I’m into. Right now I own two VR systems. I have a Samsung Gear VR powered by an S6 phone, as well as an Oculus Rift coupled with a VR-certified PC.
In terms of the actual VR content I personally enjoy, I’d have to say that space sims are my favorite, followed by various cockpit-based game experiences. I also really like educational content, which includes 360-degree video. VR concerts are also pretty amazing. Give me VR that let’s me float in space or explore the ocean and I’ll be there as well. I’ve had enough of VR roller coasters though.
I’ve tried a lot of VR stuff over the past two years and these are the ones I have enjoyed the most.
Where to Go from Here?
I haven’t designed the content on this site to be read in any particular order, but there are a few key articles I think most newcomers would want to read first. Obviously VR and AR – What are They and What’s the Difference? is a good place to start. In addition to that article I’d also strongly recommend What the Heck is Presence in VR?, Why VR Will Work This Time and How VR is Made. With those core topics under your belt all the other articles should make perfect sense, and it really doesn’t matter in what order you approach them.
Before you go on and delve into the world of VR and AR, I just want to thank you for visiting my site. I’ll be adding more content as time goes by or new major developments happen in the VR industry, so come back from time to time!
Is This Site For You?
I’ve written this site with a very specific type of person in mind. I think it’s only fair that I explain who my content is aimed at so that you know if there’s something for you here.
First of all, I don’t assume that you know anything about virtual reality at all. There’s plenty of stuff here that’s meant to introduce you to key concepts in VR, AR, and MR. So on the one hand I’m saying that total newbies to VR who only sort of know about it are going to find almost all of the content relevant here. If you’re already a VR fanatic and hoover up every bit of VR information that you can find, then there’s a lot here you already know.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t catered to anyone other than beginners! You see, my interest in VR goes beyond what’s trendy now. I also care about how this stuff works on a technical level. In the same way that I don’t necessarily know how to build a car or overhaul an engine, I know broadly how it all works and what the operating principles are. You’ll also find some non-technological philosophizing about these technologies in general. That brings me to my next point.
Structuring this site has been a process of back and forth like no other. Since so much of the information in the fields of VR and AR are connected and overlapping, to come up with a logical sorting system was pretty tricky. I’m not saying what you see here is perfect, but I think it should at least be clear, given that there’s some method to my particular madness.
My main informational pages are where most people should start. There I answer fundamental questions about VR and AR that you might be too afraid to ask in public. This is broad stuff about the technology and industry that surrounds it.
The rest of the categories are pretty straightforward. Under the banner of augmented reality I’ve split it into simply headsets and software. It’s the smaller part of the site at this point, but there’s still plenty to read.
When it comes to the VR categories I again decided to put VR headsets in their own class, given how important they are as VR devices. Other hardware is grouped together under the actual VR hardware label.
VR games and apps also has a category to itself. Here you’ll find things to actually do with your shiny VR system rather than just looking at it and wondering where all your money went.
The last category might seem a little out of place, but VR is playing an important part in treating people with various mental and physical issues. So I’ve created a VR and Health category to capture some of the amazing work that’s going on there.
Virtual Worlds; Real Consequences
VR is fun, fascinating, and is set to have a pretty important impact on the world. However, I think there’s also the potential for many unintended consequences, ranging from a form of VR addiction to mental health issues that could be worsened or even caused by VR.
There have been plenty of fictional stories that deal with issues of VR run amok. Shows like Sword Art Online depict a future situation where people are stuck in an advanced VR MMO with no way out. The classic film Lawnmower Man also shows horrifying consequences of VR, although I still don’t actually know what the heck that movie was supposed to be about.
VR and AR don’t stand in isolation; they interact with other major, disruptive cultural and technological developments. Social media, video games, artificial intelligence, and many more factors are going to turn VR and AR into something more than the mere sum of their parts. That’s something I really want to start capturing on this site – not only the simple facts about VR as a typical tech site, but also a reflection on VR as a technology and how it complements and contradicts us as humans.