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Old Man Virtual Reality Bugbear

October 31, 2016

I remember the 1990s… back when Pterodactyls in 8 bit glory were rendered on incredibly heavy glasses at 10 frames per second, using Transputers to power this all and we all went wow… however we knew what we were looking at. We were looking at Virtual Reality – interacting with the environment into which we were placed.

Today we have improved the tech significantly and added new variations. Today we have Virtual Reality, Augmented (or mixed) Reality and 360 degree video. You don’t hear much about that last one because so many people mix it up with the first one. Many standards groups are now working on improving the tech to be used for deliverying video at sufficient detail level to high resolution glasses that a consumer would wear (sounds a lot like 3D…). However my bugbear is so many of these persons are mixing up things – they are not working on Virtual Reality (VR), they are working on immersive 360 degree video. Google/Youtube has this right, as their subsection of Youtube is called 360 Video and not Virtual Reality.

I cannot change the industry, but I can point it out – VR is about interaction with a virtual environment, not just watching something. AR is about interaction with virtual space overlaid on real life. And 360 Video is about watching something where you have full ability to rotate and look around. @vmccurley perfectly visualised this…

Victor Meldrew is alive in me.

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