U.S. Navy personnel using a VR parachute trainer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The creator of Oculus Rift, Palmer Luckey, is confident that his invention will soon be one of the must-have devices for the masses. He views this as an inevitable phenomenon that is a matter of "when" and not "if".
Virtual reality has been in existence for decades but although it has captured the imagination of the public, it has struggled to gain mainstream adoption due to a number of challenges. A lot of these can be attributed to technical issues that will have to be resolved before things can move forward.
Luckey is particularly hopeful that the hardware will become commoditized with numerous manufacturers creating their own VR products. The competition will result in rapid improvements and resolutions to technical problems. Companies will also need to make better applications and content to drive up the demand. These will sustain consumer interest over the long term.
Siggraph panelists were in agreement about the role of content. Professor Henry Fuchs of the University of Carolina-Chapel Hill is concerned that VR has not yet found the key application that will compel people to use it on a daily basis. Right now, the programs available are only of interest to a select few. More work and creativity is required to expand the audience to the order of millions.
Meanwhile, Columbia University's Steven Feiner is banking on entertainment to save the day. VR has an enormous potential when used as a platform for movies and other narrative content. Products could also be tailored to suit games and marketing content. Some prime examples can be found in events like Comic-Con where they were successfully deployed.
The bottom line is that virtually reality is still in the development stage where anything can happen. This presents a lot of opportunities for those who can harness the technology in a fun and meaningful way.