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The Quest For Seamless, High-Quality Virtual Reality

By The Atlantic

June 28, 2013

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New virtual-reality (VR) peripherals are garnering attention as they enable users to feel truly present in a VR environment by addressing the challenge of movement.

VR adoption has been restrained by hardware costs and the challenge of developing seamless, high-quality VR. VR presence is easily disrupted, resulting in "break in presence" (BIP), and many effects that offer advances result in more frequent BIP. However, movement is the greatest VR obstacle, due to the difficulty of correlating the virtual room to the live room.

New peripherals such as the Omni and WizDish provide a stationary grooved dish and harness to let VR users walk and run, while always returning to their original position. However, the devices still restrict movement, with the Omni's harness, for example, preventing actions such as crawling.

Another device, the VirtuSphere, enables natural walking in any direction, but users cannot position themselves near other players.

However, the feeling of presence in VR does not require perfection, experts say. "If you can simplify things so that your mind thinks they're happening, your brain seems to be very plastic and very able to accept it," says WizDish inventor Julian Williams.

Jaron Lanier says VR has the potential to convince users not only of being in another place, but also of possessing a different self.

From The Atlantic
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