By | Bernard Marr | Internationally best-selling author, keynote speaker, futurist, and strategic business & technology advisor
You might think you’ve experienced VR, and you might have been pretty impressed. Particularly if you’re a gamer, there are some great experiences to be had out there (or rather, in there) today.
But over the next few years, in VR, as in all fields of technology, we’re going to see things that make what is cutting-edge today look like Space Invaders. And although the games will be amazing, the effects of this transformation will be far broader, touching on our work, education, and social lives.
Today’s most popular VR applications involve taking total control of a user’s senses (sight and hearing, particularly) to create a totally immersive experience that places the user in a fully virtual environment that feels pretty realistic.
Climb up something high and look down, and you’re likely to get a sense of vertigo. If you see an object moving quickly towards your head, you’ll feel an urge to duck out of the way.
Very soon, VR creators will extend this sensory hijacking to our other faculties – for example, touch and smell – to deepen that sense of immersion. At the same time, the devices we use to visit these virtual worlds will become cheaper and lighter, removing the friction that can currently be a barrier.
I believe extended reality (XR) – a term that covers virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) – will be one of the most transformative tech trends of the next five years. It will be enabled and augmented by other tech trends, including super-fast networking, that will let us experience VR as a cloud service just like we currently consume music and movies. And artificial intelligence (AI) will provide us with more personalized virtual worlds to explore, even giving us realistic virtual characters to share our experiences with.