Virtual reality is an alien concept to most people, as it's a new technology and has yet to go mainstream.
With a lot of people in the dark and still yet to understand what this new technology concept is all about, it's important to explain the main questions bugging people's minds about virtual reality and everything they've heard about it that they don't understand.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about virtual reality.
The Most Frequently Asked Virtual Reality Questions
- What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
- How Does Virtual Reality Work?
- What are the uses of virtual reality?
- What are the challenges of virtual reality?
- What are the advantages of virtual reality?
- What are the main types of virtual reality experiences?
- What are the Major Differences between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)?
- Does Virtual Reality Make People Sick?
- Do you need a VR headset for a VR experience?
- Which VR headset should you buy?
1. What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
In simple terms, virtual reality is an environment that is created on a computer and made available on the internet as the environment only exists digitally (just like NFTs) rather than in the real-world.
Virtual reality is a 3D artificial environment made with computer simulations that create images, audio, and videos that appear real to the user.
2. How Does Virtual Reality Work?
Virtual reality uses computer-generated artificial environments that consist of images, sounds, and videos that represent properties and appear real to the user.
While accessing a VR experience through the use of head-mounted displays, the user interacts with the computer-generated environment.
The head-mounted displays ensure a make-believe situation that fools the user's brain into believing they're present in their surroundings, which in reality is just a virtual environment.
3. What are the uses of virtual reality?
There are numerous uses of Virtual reality in human society. Here are some notable uses of virtual reality.
- It can be used for training in law enforcement, engineering, sports and education.
- VR has also been used to teach students and provide an alternative method of learning for them.
- In the gaming industry, VR has been used to improve user experience and social interaction among players.
- In the healthcare industry, VR technologies have been used to carry out diagnoses without causing pain to patients.
- In addition, surgery simulations to help students learn and implement what they learn and remote surgery are other areas of life that VR can be used for.
4. What Are the Challenges of Virtual Reality?
The current challenges of virtual reality come in different dimensions, from health challenges to privacy issues. Here are some challenges to virtual reality.
A Quality VR Experience is Expensive
Unlike augmented reality that you can access on your phone, you need sophisticated VR devices to enjoy an immersive VR experience.
VR devices such as headsets, glasses, and treadmills are not only expensive for users. Companies also find creating a quality immersive experience in virtual reality for users expensive.
Privacy and security challenges
VR devices can collect sensitive information about users through their biometric sensing features.
This can be intrusive as companies can use the information for their own selfish interests.
There are also the security concerns associated with hackers who can use users' accounts for impersonations and to create fake identities.
Currently, there are numerous health challenges associated with using VR technology, though companies are striving to eliminate these challenges.
VR can create an obsessive attachment to the virtual world as VR creates an immersive experience, which can be fatal at times when users get addicted.
The risks of addiction are especially high in young people and may harm their cognitive skills or lead to mental exhaustion and disconnection from society.
5. What are the advantages of virtual reality?
Despite all the disadvantages associated with virtual reality, VR still has a lot of benefits for human society. Here are some advantages to virtual reality.
VR makes life easier and more fun for users
VR makes watching movies, watching the news, and playing games more fun. Using a VR display to play games or watch movies makes the experience more realistic as you have the feeling of being part of the events.
VR allows users to create their own reality
In the real world, you don't get to mold all the events that happen in your life.
You might even feel dissatisfied with the life you live and the situation you find yourself in.
However, with VR environments, you can create your own reality. You decide what happens in your day-to-day activities while using VR.
Virtual experiments before real-life experience
Imagine you want to go on vacation to a wonderful city that you've never been to. You search online to learn about the wonderful place so you can do a background check on your destination.
Many people do background checks and still end up dissatisfied with their experience.
With VR environments, you can go on a virtual tour of your vacation destinations and find out whether your destination is really what you think it is.
Apart from tours, VR is also useful as an experimental tool for engineers, surgeons, and teachers, e.t.c.
With VR, users can experiment with a virtual experience before a real-world experience.
In the military and law enforcement, VR makes it possible for officers to train in a safe virtual environment without putting anyone or anything at risk.
6. What are the main types of virtual reality experiences?
There are three primary types of virtual reality experiences: fully-immersive virtual reality, semi-immersive virtual reality, and non-immersive virtual reality.
Fully-Immersive Virtual Reality
Fully immersive VR gives you a realistic experience of your virtual environment.
Due to the usage of sensory organs, detectors, and body connectors to interact with your virtual environment, you feel as if you're physically interacting with the virtual environment as your body participates in your movement.
Semi-Immersive Virtual Reality
Using your VR helmet, computer, or mobile device, you can interact with a semi-immersive VR environment without the need for sensors to detect your movement.
Virtual tours are a good example of semi-immersive VR as you only need to look while on a tour in a VR environment as opposed to when you need to kick, duck, and run while playing a VR game.
Non-Immersive Virtual Reality
Non-immersive VR is a VR experience that is already mainstream as it doesn't require special equipment.
In a non-immersive VR experience, you're not interacting with the artificial environment directly; the characters that you choose are the ones directly interacting with the artificial environment.
Games such as GTA and CODM are good examples of non-immersive VR as you only control the characters who are participating in the in-game events.
7. What are the major differences between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)?
Virtual reality is completely virtual, while augmented reality is both virtual and real-world.
In short, virtual reality creates a completely virtual environment (though it may be a replica of a real-world environment), while augmented reality overlays a real-world environment with virtual properties. AR only gives additional information about real-world properties by using the virtual information to augment the real-world properties.
In addition, while an AR user will always be fully aware of their physical environment, a VR user will not be aware of their physical environment, especially when it's a fully-immersive VR experience.
8. Does Virtual Reality Make People Sick?
Yes, though not everyone, VR does make some users sick. There have been reported cases of nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and eye strain during or after using VR technologies.
These are mostly symptoms of motion sickness, which, according to experts, isn't life-threatening and can be easily handled.
There are also reports of psychological risks and potential exposure to radiation while using VR.
9. Do You Need a VR Headset for a VR Experience?
No, you don't need VR headsets to access virtual reality environments.
When the metaverse goes mainstream, web-based VR will be available for users, which will enable users to enjoy virtual reality experiences on their phones or computers.
Sites like WebVR are already making efforts to make web-based virtual reality possible.
10. Which VR headset should you buy?
The VR headset you buy depends on a number of factors. First your budget and then what exactly you want to do with it. Some VR headsets are better for VR games, while others offer more in terms of all-round performance.
However, expert and user reviews suggest the Oculus Quest 2 is the best VR headset currently available on the market due to its affordability (for a VR headset) and quality.