With Oculus Quest making news in the list of impressive VR hardware, virtual reality is not done yet. There is still so much more that’s coming our way. Here what’s got us most excited about VR:
Realistic Touch with Haptic Feedback
Grabbing something in VR and throwing it with empty hands would definitely feel more natural than gripping a controller or pushing buttons to do the same. For this type of hand-tracking, it’s necessary to have a camera or haptic gloves to track your hand movements. Companies such as HaptX have already started working on haptics technology and it would be no surprise if it becomes mass-market in near future.
Eye Tracking with Foveated Rendering
Our eyes have a central “fovea” with closely packed retinal cones which is why our eyesight is sharpest at center of FoV, whereas less sharp in peripheral vision. At present, a sharp image is rendered by VR headsets across their entire panels. With foveated rendering, a VR headset can focus on high-resolution rendering of the area your eyes are looking at and lower resolution rendering of things at your peripheral vision.
This creates a dramatic reduction of the amount of rendering headset needs to do, implying that ultra-high res experiences of VR could be created. Although “fixed foveated rendering” has been added by Oculus, eye tracking hardware is expected to deliver the best experience in VR.
Animate Yourself with Realistic Avatars
While VR offers immersion on an individual level, the social side of it is still a little behind. Avatars provide a fun way of interacting with others. However, currently these avatars don’t represent your realistic image. A lot of advancements and improvements have been made based on researching micro-expressions, and simulated eye and mouth movement. But the most exciting news about avatars was released at OC5 by Michael Abrash when he revealed realistic version of avatars live-animated through machine learning.
Imagine a virtual space where you could socialize online and see the other person as real-world human having realistic speech animations, facial expressions and movements. Although it’s in early stages at the moment, it would undoubtedly be a huge step forward for VR.
Better Immersion with Hardware Improvements
There’s no full stop to technology as it is always advancing. With lower latency comes high-res display panels, and standalone headsets are becoming more and more capable with more powerful mobile chipsets. Improving inside-out tracking could mean that you have a similar experience in both Rift and Quest without needing any external sensors to track you.
VR has become a burgeoning industry with its endless possibilities and current applications. The future of virtual reality appears to be very optimistic, one where you re not isolated from your surroundings but connected to others as a community.