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Monday, January 09, 2017

Why 2017 could be the year of virtual reality | The Week Magazine

"Virtual and augmented reality have been featured in sci-fi movies for decades, but it wasn't until 2016 that a lot those concepts actually became a reality and were placed in consumers' hands." continues The Week Magazine.

Photo: Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Samsung

Last year, we had a plethora of headsets that used virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), including the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear, Google's Day Dreamer, and Sony's PlayStation VR. But they were still mostly used by tech enthusiasts. In 2017, this technology might truly become more broadly adopted by the mass-market.

VR and AR, although similar, are distinct technologies with unique characteristics. VR lives strictly inside a headset and transports people to anywhere in real or imagined digital worlds. AR, on the other hand, layers digital objects on top of real-life settings. In 2016, the Pokémon Go app, for example, used the phone's camera to bring virtual monsters into the scene in front of you, but the same technology could be useful in varied workplace and educational settings. Forecaster Digi-Capital projected in early 2016 that AR would significantly surpass VR in market size over the next few years.

Still, VR technology broke far out of the gaming world last year. Marriott Hotels used VR to promote travel to exotic locales and preview their suits. Media companies like The New York Times have packaged stories in VR, and Pornhub has been developing 360-degree "experiences." Schools all over the world have used the Google Cardboard — which pairs to phones to enable viewing of VR media — to take kids on field trips around the world. Major brands such as Star Wars and Netflix have also started using Oculus Rift VR headset so people can watch movies in a virtual theater (bring your own popcorn).

These technologies are also picking up in the workplace. Tech Pro Research, a firm that looks closely into technology trends, recently conducted a survey to find out if companies have future plans of adopting AR and VR. More than a third of respondents said they were already using either or both, and, of those that are not already using it, 20 percent wanted to implement these technologies within the next 12 months.

In 2017, we may start to see the emergence of mixed reality, which combines AR and VR to completely immerse users into a world where they can summon holograms. An example of a mixed reality device being released in 2017 is Lenovo's VR headset, which promises to support holographic projections.
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Source: The Week Magazine