While many dismissed both virtual reality and augmented reality as trends, with 2017 drawing to a close it looks as though both are gearing up to grow stronger and stronger. From free-roaming virtual reality headsets to augmented reality used to project furniture into spaces, the mediums are finding their use further afield than many had thought.
Many of the biggest trends have involved bringing in elements people expected into realms unexpected, or are finding clever new ways to bring newcomers into the current age of technology.
Free Roaming VR
One of the biggest issues virtual reality had was that it required a lot of dedicated space, and cables, to fully operate. Whilst many have gotten used to the idea in the home, others have found it a restrictive factor that has led many to delay investing in the kit.
Now companies like MSI have stepped up to make full backpacks that free players from the confines of cables, opening up the platform for more general use outside of intense gaming sessions, and making set up a lot easier for the average player.
The big race at the moment comes down to two factors. Weight and battery life. MSI’s VR One is currently the lightest on the market and has 1.5 hours of power before needing recharging, but others are looking to knock them off their throne.
The other side of Virtual reality being freed from the home desktop format is the increasing use of Google Cardboard and other mobile phone based VR solutions. Samsung has entered this arena with the Samsung Gear VR headsets, and independent app developers are also looking to see how far they can push the format on ever more powerful smartphones.
With VR becoming more and more familiar, making it lighter and longer lasting is a trend we’re not seeing die down anytime soon.
Augmented Reality At Home
Augmented reality’s greatest strength is the pure utility of the platform. Being able to see things that are not really there gives app developers a lot of opportunities to bring something interesting to the table.
Augmented reality has found a lot of use within the home environment, with companies like Ikea stepping up to develop Ikea Place. The app lets you scan your room, and then hold the camera up to spaces where you want to see their products in place. A real-time 3d model projects on the screen, showing exactly how it would look.
The utility goes without saying. The app gives shoppers a lot more power in their purchases, adding an element of fun into interior design as people can try designs and furniture out without having to drop the money first.
Other app developers have not let this go without notice, too. AR Measurekit follows the trend by giving users a measuring tool that is always in their pocket. The free version of the app gives a ruler function, and the full version comes with AR marker pins to fully measure a space in three dimensions.
For more fun uses, apps like Holo let people place funny objects into pictures to then share on social media, cementing the use of augmented reality into many people’s minds as both for house sorting and fun times.
Exhibitions Going Virtual
It’s no surprise that both Virtual and Augmented Reality have made strides into the events scene. 2017 has seen an explosion across the board, from HTC Vives next to PlayStation VR at gaming shows, to augmented reality taking point at booths for food and drink shows.
Brands are looking for more odd and unusual ways of building press interest, such as the Boursin VR experience, which places viewers inside a fridge alongside the product. A surreal experience that was displayed at shows, and now viewable at any time, but one that has generated a lot of media buzz.
Augmented reality is making its way into the events world too, with many early adopters using it primarily as a catalogue for now. Some shows are playing with the idea of having fully augmented signposts, where attendees can get further information about subjects or locations showing at the event itself.
Due to the continuing development of both mediums, many companies have been looking to hire virtual reality and augmented reality for events instead of making a direct purchase. This, in turn, has helped spread both formats across the scene as experts arise for hiring the headsets and developing the apps.
As 2017 comes to a close, and 2018 is on the horizon, the next wave of trends is due to set in. With both augmented and virtual reality settled and ready, this is an exciting time to see just what will become popular in the future, and how far the trail will blaze behind them.