Augmented Virtual Reality Has Arrived

Growing up in the 60s and 70s I was fascinated by what futurists had in store for us on the next millennium. The Jetsons promised personal space ships that would enable us to commute to school or work in minutes. Star Trek envisioned a device that would deconstruct us into our essential elements and transport us seamlessly through space to then reconstruct us aboard the Starship Enterprise.

Growing up in the 60s and 70s I was fascinated by what futurists had in store for us on the next millennium. The Jetsons promised personal space ships that would enable us to commute to school or work in minutes. Star Trek envisioned a device that would deconstruct us into our essential elements and transport us seamlessly through space to then reconstruct us aboard the Starship Enterprise.  Of course the Jetsons and Star Trek were both brought to us by a technology that only 30 years earlier would have been considered magic – delivering moving images directly to our living rooms over miles of thin air

Although transportation technology hasn’t evolved much in the last 40 years, the technology that brought those visions of the future into our homes has developed at “warp speed”.  Recent advances in computing speed, sensor technology and video processing will soon bring truly immersive experiences of new worlds, both imagined and far away, right to our desktops, phones and virtual reality goggles (yes “goggles”).

By now, most of us have seen 3D movies like Avitar at least once.  Avid video gamers regularly explore virtual 3D fantasy worlds through popular games like World of Warcraft. Affordable 3D modeling and visual rendering tools like Unity 3D have made these virtual worlds much more accessible and realistic as in this amazing lifelike tour of a virtual mansion, which will soon be a commonplace marketing tool for high end real estate brokers.

Virtual Mansion Tour

The company Oculus VR has taken the virtual reality experience to the next level with its Oculus Rift goggles.  Using a suite of sophisticated, yet low cost technologies including stereo monitors, accelerometers, and powerful microprocessors, the Rift puts the user inside the virtual world with a 360 degree view of his/her surroundings visible by simply turning one’s head.  The Youtube video pictured below does an excellent job demonstrating the how the Oculus Rift user (bottom center) controls his point of view in the virtual world by just looking around.

Oculus Rift Demo

Oculus Rift enthusiasts around the world have been creating even richer virtual experiences by integrating the Rift with other technologies.  William Steptoe is one such pioneer at University College London.  William has integrated stereo video cameras, and a spacial positioning system to create a virtual augmented reality experience where 3D avatars like the one pictured below can be inserted into a stereo view of the real world.

Oculus Rift and Augmented Reality

Software Development Resources is now representing a talented NYC based team of programmers that is bringing these technologies to life for a handful of clients on the cutting edge of marketing technology.  Call or email me if you would like to learn more about this amazing team.