Recently, the keyword ‘industrial revolution 4.0’ is widely mentioned in the social media. In this revolution, according to the writer, VR, AR may not play a key role but an important support, not only for ordinary users but also for production. The following article will show the writer’s perspective (concept, behavior, meaning, role, future orientation) on VR / AR as well as some suggestions for developers interested in this technology.
Overview of AR / VR
For beginners to have simple concepts as well as be able to distinguish VR AR, the writer will introduce some simple concepts as well as examples to make it easier for the reader to approach these two technologies and MR – Mixed Reality, a technology that combines virtual reality and augmented reality.
VR – Virtual reality
It can be generally understood that the technology creates a virtual world where users can use the senses to feel like in the real world, even interacting with that virtual world.
VR’s goal is to make it possible for users to experience the “virtual world” in the most “real” way, allowing users to be immersed into that virtual world and forget about the real world around them. For example, experiencing the feeling of standing in the cliffs or taking a speedboat in the virtual world, the users may feel their hair stand on end despite them standing (or sitting in a chair) in the office. VR affects as many senses as possible (visual, auditory, olfactory, even tactile, etc.), and allows humans to interact with the virtual world in the most convenient way.
VR in a smartphone is convenient but it’s a bit limited in performance. Thus, for the best experience, users need to use dedicated devices (VR lens).
AR – Augmented Reality
AR is the technology that brings virtual things into the real world, enabling users to see, feel and interact with those virtual objects in the real world.
A good example of this technology is the current game of PokemonGO, but currently, game developers have not created a world combining both virtual and real world as in the video trailer below.
The goal of AR is to make the virtual things (brought into the real world) become the most real. For example, when you see a Pikachu appearing on the street, coming closer to see it more clearly, even seeing it’s shade on the road, then we can interact, using our hand to stroke its head.
AR can acknowledge how the real world be like, from which it builds up a part of the real world (the ground, the wall, the subjects, the light …) in its virtual world, and the virtual objects will interact with the virtual world created. As a result, users will feel virtual objects as they are interacting with the real world that we live in.
AR is the most popular on smartphone and is increasingly improved.
MR – Mixed Reality
Imagine, the virtual world of VR captures the image of the user and part of the real space in this world, then that world would be extremely complex but no less interesting. Meanwhile, if you are fully aware of the real world, along with the virtual world – which is now Microsoft’s Hololens or Google Tango – the Hololens version on smartphone has done, it is gonna be extremely interesting.
VR / AR in the industrial revolution 4.0
As mentioned in the introduction, the writer argues that in this revolution, VR, AR or MR do not play a key role but provide important support, not just for ordinary users. , but also for production.
The highlight of VR is creating virtual things, virtual environments in an extremely real way. This will help to depict what was already there, or to demonstrate what is expected to be produced. Obviously the analysis and decision making will be more intuitive, more accurate and time-saving. Having a virtual environment means that people can meet, work, exchange tasks directly in all parts of the world. Creating virtual environments also facilitates remote control, creating more capacities for production. When there are more possibilities to reach, then obviously the chances for further development will be more.
Meanwhile, AR has the advantage of bringing more virtual things into the real world. Then the production will become much more convenient because looking at any machinery and equipment, we can always see all the details, status, how to upgrade … This is very convenient, saves time and increases accuracy rate for work.
From AR / VR to MR, we can also have virtual things (far, or none) more visually, more real (similar to the virtual world in AR, but it is displayed right in the real world), and obviously there are many positive effects.
Actual development of AR / VR today
Currently, to experience VR applications, there are some popular devices such as:
- GoogleCardboard: Price varies from $5 to $60-70. You just need a smartphone attached to it. It is simple but can give you an experience of a 360 degree viewing span with what you see and hear as real. This is available in both Android and iOS stores. We can watch the strong video360, or get lost in the galaxy with Deep Space Battle VR.
- GearVR: Samsung’s exclusive VR experience. Price range is over $100. Basically, it resembles GoogleCardboard, but is better regarding the quality of display, view, interaction. In particular, there is also an external controller. GearVR has its own store, and when worn, it is also in the Gear VR world, we can manipulate, go in and out the world of each game, app which is very convenient. From GearVR lobby, we can open TempleRun, then exit, switch to 3D movies, or switch to travel app ….
- HTC Vive (HTC and Valve combined) and OculusRift (Facebook Oculus) and PlayStationVR (Sony): allow for a much more realistic VR experience. How users move in the real world will be the same as in the virtual world, with two more controllers as your 2 hands. Playing shooter VR online, poking head and then indent, leaning to avoid, throwing grenades which feels very good. Game and app system is diverse but a bit pricey. The cheapest is PSVR at about $300, Oculus Rift $400, HTC Vive $600. Both the HTC Vive and the OculusRift also need to be connected to a PC (high profile) so it’s a bit tiring. However, in Vietnam there are also some virtual reality game rooms that can be experienced (available in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City).
- There is also GoogleDayDream, OculusGo (announced at Oculus Connect 4, hopefully by the end of 2017) and many more.
Most ARs are currently attached to the Smartphone. Available on Android and iOS stores. Especially now those who have iPhone A9 chips (6S and 5SE and above) and use iOS11 or above can download the games and apps using ARKit, especially AR Dragon. Google is also developing ARCore, hoping to release soon for the people to use. Currently, search AR on Google Play also includes a not small number of games, app AR can also be experienced (PokemonGo for example).
If you have a chance, read and try it out with Hololens. By the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 is the amalgamation of a variety of Windows Mixed Reality devices that are not too expensive, and worth a try.
Future of VR/AR
In the future, VR / AR / MR will probably be more productive, educational and entertaining, and it will be the products that have a direct impact on people’s lives, on each family, each office, school, …. accompanying with people, bringing the convenience and the best experience.
In the short term, it is hoped that devices that can deliver a more realistic feel and will impact the senses with better quality.
In addition, there will be significant improvement in handling. Real world recognition of Mobile will be better (ArCore, ArKit). Hand-recognition face recognition, and human identification algorithms will also be developed so that people can use their hands, feet (even the body) to interact with VR, AR naturally, and effectively no less than the use of supporting hardware as present.
Maybe in 1-2 years the AR games and apps will be spreading extensively on both Android and iOS ecosystem, which is a potential market for many game and mobile app developers.
Where to start with VR / AR?
Now, to start, the writer thinks the dev should go from the smartphone, as almost everyone has it and it’s also the simplest, easiest, most intuitive ARR. With this device, you can do VR applications with GoogleVR (Cardboard), or AR application with ArCore (for Android) and ArKit (for iOS).
Development Tools: Should use Unity as it has a huge community, support, update very quickly, tutorial is also fully guaranteed, following all can make a simple game or app run. Problems if addressed in the forum can get answers in a few hours.
Link tutorial and forum:
- GoogleVR: https://developers.google.com/vr/unity/
- Android ArCore: https://developers.google.com/ar/develop/unity/getting-started
- iOS ArKit: https://blogs.unity3d.com/2017/09/12/get-ready-to-launch-your-arkit-app-on-ios11/
- Forum: https://forum.unity.com/forums/ar-vr-xr-discussion.80/
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