Virtual reality is now a reality. Already there are a fair amount of consumer market devices available enabling you to enter the virtual world, including; the Oculus rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR.
In parallel with the devices, new video games and applications are being developed to support the hardware specifications. Virtual reality (VR) is innovating at a rapid pace and is now at a surprisingly advanced stage. The rollercoaster, one of the first VR experience available to the public, is comparable to the first ever movie, Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat by the Lumiere Brothers. It had the same effect on innocent spectators: amazement, fear and excitement.
Unlike the famous Cinemas’ relatively slow evolution rate, VR is now at a stage that astounds and amazes us on every app/video game release.
We curiously strive to understand the possibilities of this astonishing technology.
What we expect from VR isn’t to be a mere spectator in a virtual world but to be an actor. Following the rollercoaster, several video games and simulations were released but unfortunately they were not quite what we expected from VR. In all these games and simulators, we were actors but here again something was missing from reality… We were not creators.
Virtual reality is not just about playing or watching media, it integrates a true reality inspiring more senses than just sound and vision. In order to approach reality, VR had to offer the power of creation not solely to developers but to each and everyone. There are now a few creative apps available on different VR devices but the one that caught the world’s attention and showed us the possibilities of this technology has just been released.
On April 5th 2016, Google amazed us once more by unveiling their new VR app: The Google Tilt Brush. The Google Tilt brush revolutionizes the definition of painting and pushes the boundaries of what VR can really represent. Thanks to a digital brush, users can draw or paint three-dimensional strokes of pretty much anything in a virtual environment. From art to designs the possibilities are infinite.
Advertising the app, Google said: ‘Your room is your canvas. Your palette is your imagination. The possibilities are endless.‘ Indeed it offers the possibility to paint with different textures such as fire, stars, light but also denim, silk, cotton or leather. The immersive space is therefore a playground for artists but also a workspace for designers who can create 3D models and circulate to inspect them from every possible angle.
In an interview last year, Olivier Demangel (professional designer and visualizer) argued that every designer or architect would soon be designing using 3D goggles and sending clients virtual models. We can imagine that app enhancements will be released in future updates, allowing the user to create objects using new textures such as wood, metal and rock. This would enable architects and product designers to implement and build 3D life-sized models.
Skillman & Hacket sold the application rights to Google in 2015. It is currently bundled with the HTC Vive exclusively but is expected to expand to other platforms in the future.
Kingspray is another creative app to recently hit the market. Although less surprising, it gives the user the opportunity to creatively paint street art on a life like brick wall without the fear of being arrested by police or succumbing the embarrassment of being labelled a beginner. Kingspray allows you to be the street artist you never dared to be in the real world.
Since innovation has allowed us to become creators of a virtual environment, dynamics of an online world are endless. We can expect in the future, development of apps, bringing users together in a virtual realm to perform collaborative activities such as drawing, architectural design, composing meetings, exercise and even socialising.
Interaction between humans in a virtual world raises concerns to the dangers that could occur. From addiction to abuse, controlling this environment seems an impossible task and we cannot help but think that there will be some sort of regulations in order to avoid a virtual chaos.