Do I want virtual reality?

Vive by HTC. An immersive artificial reality with a sprinkle of augmented reality so that you don't lose contact with the "real" world. Credit: HTC

Given my elderly age it goes without saying that I am not qualified to evaluate the probability of success of virtual reality goggles like the ones showcased at CES 2016 (Oculus Rift and Vive took the scene, both in the 500$ range).

I don't play Warcraft only chess and for that the wooden pieces are good enough.

However I can understand the explosive reactions of the 17 years old that experienced the Vive for the first time! Interestingly, Vive has embedded the possibility to keep looking around you, to see what is going on, letting you search for a chair or drink from a real glass without the need to remove the goggles.

As I was looking at him experiencing the marvel of full immersion, I started to consider that may be there could be something in this virtual reality stuff for me too...

I found myself wondering how much more engaging it could be to "browse" a (virtual) leaflet of potential vacation places if I were able to immerse myself in the location, looking around and actually feeling as if I were there.

Or having a talk with my son studying in another Country and seeing what he was actually seeing plus the ambient around him. 

Or how much more engaging the experience of a book could be if I had the opportunity of being transported in the place being described.

Possibly I would be willing to shell out 500 bucks to experience these things.

Clearly the issue become the accessibility of the content in a surround fashion. And part of it could be the possibility to create a content in an immersive way. I can see that a brand new slate of tools may be just round the corner. There are already a few 360 degrees cameras and there is software allowing the capture of 360 degree images.  In a few years it can be perfected, become seamless to use and popular.

It is no longer virtual reality but immersive reality. The devices needed may look alike and they may serve different consumer tastes... mine included.

Author - Roberto Saracco

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