March 9, 2015

Keeping an eye on Virtual Reality

by admin in News

In my career I’ve been an integral part of the launch teams for a range of innovative tech companies – many of whose products have made a significant impact to the consumer gadget territory. The great thing about working on Tech PR is that I do get a lot of perks from working closely with these giants and start-ups. I am often one of the first people to hear about new technologies before it becomes mainstream. Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I even get to experience them before launch.

I’m in the enviable position where I’m exposed to many innovative companies who are always on the forefront of pushing the boundaries – going where no man has ever gone before. While it’s absolutely fantastic to witness the rare opportunity of a revolutionary invention, but for the majority of the time, evolution is the name of the game. Tech companies are finding ways to make what used to be available to the one per cent more affordable and accessible to all.

Today I’m excited with the prospects of Virtual Reality (VR). Compared to the late 90s, Virtual Reality technology has come a long, long way. The once bulky headsets have shrunk in size and weight and the graphics have improved to a real, life-like quality. Even the speed of reaction and fluidity of movement is now near-perfect. HTC’s recent announcement of their HTC Vive signifies the broader market sitting up and taking notice of the huge potential of VR.

Last year, I was invited to test the Samsung Gear VR with my friends from Rapid VR, a full service production company that specialises in creating virtual reality and 360 degree film. I was transported into the deep blue sea, immersed underwater until a shark shows up and decides to swallow me whole. And let me tell you, being able to see 360 degrees behind a great white’s teeth and peer into his stomach was an experience I’ll never forget. Guess I’d never thought I would ever experience how  Pinocchio felt when he was swallowed by a whale!

Start-ups such as Reload Studios, Vantage.TV, SDK Lab, Psious and Australia’s own Triggar, are taking VR experiences to the next level, offering experiences that bring new life to work and play: entertainment, education, travel and the retail sector will never be the same again.

More importantly, many VR applications are now designed to help people solve real-world problems. VR applications are no longer just for watching cool videos and gaming, but is now a potential life changer.

According to Deepstream VR’s website, the company is pioneering virtual reality games to help relieve pain and improve quality of life. These games can now help me treat debilitating anxiety disorders and serious phobias. Fear of flying? Sorted. Need to meditate in a soothing environment? Done. Have a fear of public speaking? What about needles and spiders? Check, check, check. People suffering from post-traumatic stress, and even burn victims’ pain are now reportedly alleviated through VR.

As the price of VR tech continues to be more affordable, VR technology is becoming a reality to virtually (pardon the pun) everybody. And it’s a piece of tech worth keeping an eye on.

By Elizabeth McKenzie