Virtual reality (VR) has been under intense discussion in the last few years. The rapid decision of companies to invest in this sector by exploring different devices and tools has also contributed to significant growth of VR. This paper seeks to examine the role of VR technology and associated impacts on peoples perception and cognition. The baggage for the topic on VR technology has viewed visual art and visual culture as mere common experiences, but after a close study of these concepts, there is a new understanding that visual culture has direct effects on people. Moreover, there is a high likelihood of change in the perception of life whereby people become more inclined to the virtual world than the real world. The reason is that it becomes very interesting to see the world in another dimension which enables to experience feelings or events not common for the real life.
The last decade has witnessed the proliferation of virtual reality (VR) research and devices, which has eventually resulted in an increase of experimental virtual world experiences. With virtual reality, one can literally experience anything at any time and in any location. It is, therefore, regarded as an immersive form of reality technology which works to convince the human brain of being in another place which differs from a real time location. The proliferation of VR is also related to an increase in the application of psychological researches on virtual culture owing to its advantages over traditional experimental approaches, such as creation of an ecologically acceptable presentation. As a result, a wide use of VR in the field of research on the various domains of virtual culture and virtual art has resulted in the swift evolution of VR technologies. VR technology has become so powerful that it is likely to change human perception of life in such a way that people will be deeply connected with the virtual world, hence becoming reluctant to embrace the real world.
Using the VR technology, people are able to enter a world of virtual experience in three-dimensional images; it significantly impacts human perception and cognition. According to Gilson and Glennerster (2012), technology is the ultimate platform that will change peoples attitude to the world. In fact, several renowned technology companies have invested substantial amount of money into developing VR gadget technologies, such as Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, HTC Vive, and Sony Morpheus. The relationship between human actions and the perceivable outcomes are under control of the laws of nature. Normally, any actions provoke the reaction of real objects which then respond in accordance with the laws of nature. This is a typical scenario of how virtual reality tools work; they simulate action-perception relationships in a seemingly real world but without involving real objects or events. For instance, the fashion world is a major sector that has adopted VR with varying degrees of success. To illustrate, fashion houses, such as Balenciaga and Dior, have commonly employed VR technology to ensure that they subject their viewers to front-row sitting experience during a catwalk show(Gilson &Glennerster, 2012). In this way, potential clients come into a close contact with their products, which influences their purchase choices.
There has been immense growth of virtual reality in the past decade. Moreover, the next five years will supposedly become the most fruitful period for this domain, increasing the rate at which technology is advancing. To understand the fast development pace of virtual reality, it is essential to introduce statistics. For instance, in early 2016, there were more than 40 exhibitors displaying diverse technologies of the virtual realities and gaming marketplace during the International Consumer Electronics Show that took place in Las Vegas. This was a 77% increase as compared to the previous years attendance. Since, VR sphere enormously thrives, the cutting-edge gadgets developed in this period include high powered headsets designed by Facebook, HTC, and Sony. Additionally, there is new breed of games alongside the virtual reality headsets developed by renowned companies, such as Ubisoft Entertainment. Ubisoft released the Eagle Flight game which in its 3-D format allows one to fly around Paris with the perspective of an eagle. However, virtual reality does not solely focus on computer based graphics; some developers managed to diversify it by making live content. Also, Nokia Company made spherical video cameras named Ozo designed to capture spherical 3-D videos. In essence, the virtual world advances visualization of the virtual reality features and when integrated with the new age technology, the outcome is an experiential experience that has a direct impact on human perception and cognition. Accordingly, it is a bridge between the real world and images that an individual visualizes when using a computer and a modernized headset.
The overall effect of these technological advancements is that it helps fully explore the process of visualization in spatial reasoning. This phenomenon occurs when the individuals interact with technology to provoke rethink processes of a design that positively impacts cognitive and psychological activities. This understanding introduces the concept of spatial intelligence an aspect of human computational capability which involves mental skills in solving spatial problems by allowing visualization of objects from diverse angles and assuming comprehensive conclusions from a 3D environment (Garrison, 2012).Therefore, using the VR headsets takes one to a world of cognitive representation and understanding of the space related entities, relations, and structures. Overall, this process is a form of internalization and reflection of space in thoughts by virtue of virtual technology.
Positive and Negative Effects of VR
Several years ago, VR was only a sci-fi concept until computer developers designed a virtual reality headset, which proved that there were many undiscovered phenomena. The baggage for this discussion is that visual art and culture are seemingly common aspects of a culture; however, after a further analysis of this topic, it is evident that virtual culture affects people positively and negatively. It is estimated that by 2018, there will be more than 170 million users of VR. It is, therefore, obvious that VR is becoming increasingly useful to human daily activities and different domains. There are various advantages of using the concept of VR as discussed. First and foremost, it helps explore different realities with alternate experiences. Using VR headsets, one is exposed to a world of high quality visualization, which can be conducive to learning. Secondly, the experience of VR technology itself is very interesting as it generates uncanny yet pleasant feelings and emotions that may never be achievable in real life. It is also an effective way of motivating users to learn new concepts related to the use of VR technology (Chessa&Solari, 2010). Thirdly, the whole process of applying headsets and watching the visualizations of routine activities may seem less tiresome, in contrast to the same actions performed in real life. In this way, using VR technology makes the process of learning or working more enjoyable and, hence, nullifies the negative experience associated with a certain activity. The general rule in this case is that one is likely to perform better when they do something they have more interest in. Lastly, VR technology is efficient in eliminating language barrier, because there is a possibility of utilizing all languages within the software.
On the other hand, VR technology has a number of drawbacks which society should address to prevent them from posing a threat to its users. The first disadvantage is that it lowers human connection owing to the idea that interaction is reduced to a person and software. Subsequently, it jeopardizes human relationships and communication. Secondly, using this form of advanced technology is usually very expensive (Gilson &Glennerster, 2012). The virtual environment may become another privilege for the rich, thereby amplifying inequality issues. Eventually, the use of VR devices and the whole experience of a virtual world have an addictive nature, which blurs the boundaries between the real world and an artificial version of a real life.
To understand the potential of VR in the future, one should view it from the perspective of an interface as opposed to being an industry. According to Peckmezian (2017), the era of desktops is long gone, the era of mobile computing is already on its exit way, and the next mainstream is VR technology. Although VR is still in its infancy, it holds a great potential that will change not only the world of technologies but also human lives in general. The exciting feature of VR is its immersiveness that is becomes possible by not only providing a platform for being in a whole new world but also by giving people an opportunity to be in other peoples shoes. Furthermore, VR technologies assist in understanding the processes that occur during human perception of sensory information. Particularly, large screens, motion simulator tools, and HMDs used together and in real time enable the individual to immerse themselves into a virtual world. Virtual reality makes an ordinary person capable of undergoing transformations, and the outcomes of the same activity are different in the simulated world as compared to the physical world. For example, being in US, a person can enjoy a tourists experience in Dubai through the use of VR application tools. As a result, the person feels as being a part of the city encountering diverse sensorial experiences (Garrison, 2012). Speaking of the further progress of the advanced technology supporting VR, it is projected to become pervasive in the next five years. Moreover, integration of VR tools with daily life activities exerts considerable impact on peoples outlook.
Upcoming Virtual Reality Technologies
The concept of virtual technology is becoming beneficial to many companies investing in discovering new trends to satisfy present day and future demands of their customers. An example of its incorporation is vSport games that employ VR technology to help people engage in social activities. Implementation of such reality technology in the form of the development of a software aims to bridge the existing gap between the new improved sport gaming and their old versions by merging traditional sports with digital technologies. Another potential future trend is formation of strategic alliances with powerful technology companies sharing their expertise to optimize their outcomes. For instance, some experts envisage the collaboration between Microsoft and Intel with for the purpose of enhancing various Windows-built device applications that Intel processor has (Peckmezian, 2017). Moreover, there is likely to be an exponential growth of the cinema experiences with incorporated virtual reality cinema shows. Specifically, early this year, Amsterdam opened a virtual reality cinema, which has already received positive feedback from its fans. Finally, there is a promising potential of a new shopping experience with virtual technology. Many buyers have already observed it in the operations of Alibaba although it still requires many efforts to make it a full VR shopping experience.
The origin of virtual reality stems from a research by Ivan Sutherland named the Ultimate Display highlighting the aspects of immersion and simulation, which form the basis for virtual reality. From the evolutionary perspective, VR is an ideal method for overcoming limitations concerning human-computer interface. According to Drummond and Steed (2013), the last decade has experienced remarkable advancements in computer tools and applications as per the nature of human activities. The human-computer interaction has prompted the initiation of friendlier interfaces, such as Xerox Parc for Macintosh users.
Revolutionary Perspective of VR
The concept of virtual reality offers more than the mere interaction with 3-D devices. The application of simulation in the form of user interface is an opportunity to perform specific tasks in the imaginary real world or a computer generated world. Some applications are considered more beneficial than others. However, it is important to note that a simulated world is not obliged to obey the natural laws of behavior. There are three major modes that define the revolutionary state of VR. The first involves the use of VR technology in designing virtual prototypes, which assist in improving an existing design with the hope of creating a multi-site collaboration. An example of virtual reality application is observable in architectural building. In this scenario, an architect applies virtual technology to communicate with the target client and clarify their detailed desideratum (Peckmezian, 2017). Furthermore, the processes of natural interactivity with digital mock-ups are more essential when conducting tests. In essence, while attempting to overcome the design limitations of Computer Aided Designs (CAD) systems, the related engineering projects have been prompted by the development of specialized virtual technology prototypes (Peckmezian, 2017). For instance, Rolls-Royce applied Virtual technology prototypes in its ISS VR Demonstrator tools to demonstrate the simplicity of building and maintaining an engine. Another example is Boeings 777 demonstration of its visualization system that is known for high performance.
The second sign of revolutionary presence of VR technologies is robotic remote control which simulates the presence of operators for remote controlled activities and supervision of tasks associated with instructing and directing robots. For the supervisory duty, creating a virtual reality interface is necessary, because if an operator has to deal with numerous viewpoints on a remote environment, it requires different configurations depending on the type of task at hand. For remote operations that robots cannot independently perform, the operator has the mandate of engaging the VR technology for which interactive control takes effect to ensure quality sensory feedback. Additionally, a critical component of VR is users exploitation of cognitive capabilities to enhance their interaction with the world. The knowledge gained from virtual environment is in most cases transferable to a real world scenario with the aim of profit making in simulator training systems (Peckmezian, 2017). Therefore, the common industrial application is designing driving and surgery simulators.
Virtual environment is a type of technology that has been developing for a long period of time. It offers simulation experiences to users in what has become an interface for the synthesized world. Virtual reality starts with an appreciation that humans are similarly capable of interaction in the virtual world just as they interact in the real world, which makes the contact look more natural. Also, a major advantage of VR is that it enables unlimited control over stimuli of varying levels. However, it is evident that there exist certain levels of complexities of VR and the obvious involvement of human factors. Nevertheless, the key to benefiting from VR lies in successful implementation of VR applications. There is a likelihood of experiencing major negative reactions because of thinking that VR is not real. With the right choice of application and mindset, VR solution is likely to bring positive results in many domains, including education and business.