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Techperts Predict Virtual Reality in Near Future

By Government Technology

January 14, 2014

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Virtual environments and virtual reality in coming years will transform education, entertainment, and scientific exploration as the technology rapidly advances and overcomes research and development challenges, according to experts participating in a recent White House Google Hangout and video blog.

Progress with virtual reality is clearing the path to breakthroughs in science, learning, and human interaction. In the next few years, the use of virtual reality will grow in virtual tourism, architectural walk-throughs, scientific research, and virtual training exercises in hands-on career fields, says Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey, whose company makes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset prototype.

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Labs (JPL) is using the Rift for virtual planetary space exploration of Mars, whereas in the past scientists were limited to video and panoramic photograph observation. Luckey says the technology also could be used for educational trips to the Egyptian pyramids; for example, transporting users through both space and time via an adjustable timeline.

Advanced Micro Devices' Mark Papermaster notes his company is developing a room that delivers a virtual reality experience without requiring users to wear any equipment.

Experts predict that virtual reality will benefit from the growing number of connected devices and that the technology will contribute to the success of massive open online courses.

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