We recently wrote about the potential of VR on digerati. VR has of course been around as a training tool for pilots in the form of flight simulators, for folks in the military, and so on.
And with the cost of VR equipment going down significantly over the past couple of decades, and especially in the past few years, we are now seeing wider adoption of the technology for training and entertainment purposes. And to be sure, a number of big names in the consumer facing space are investing heavily in VR, including Facebook, Samsung, Google, and many others. As we highlighted in the earlier article, VR in the enterprise also has tremendous potential, in sectors such as real estate, retail, medicine and healthcare, and more.
But a couple of recent posts serve as a sobering warning that VR tech still has a variety of problems in need of solving.
First, a post on Quora by Steve Baker highlights the various problems that VR tech in its present form suffers from.
Steve Baker’s post actually begins with a strong declaration. These VR devices, he says, should be banned. The reason is simple: VR devices can cause significant nausea problems in a large number of cases. Also, the effects of VR—motion sickness, disorientation, and nausea—can last for as long as eight hours or more after the use of VR, making activities such as driving highly risky.
The specific factors that cause these problems relate to how VR handles depth perception and momentum. I won’t go into the details here; it’s best that you read them directly from the Quora post.
This post did the rounds a couple of days ago, and of course served as a wake up call in the context of a lot of excitement around VR in recent years.
This was followed by a statement from Jen-Hsun Huang, the CEO of Nvidia:
VR displays are a little too cumbersome. It has to be much more elegant, being connected by a wire has to be solved. The resolution has to be a lot higher. The physical worlds do not behave according to the laws of physics. The environment you’re in isn’t beautiful enough. We’re going to be solving this problem for the next 20 years.
The Nvidia CEO weighing on this issue is great, because it looks as if these issues with VR will need the hardware—in particular, the chips that power VR—to become powerful and sophisticated enough to handle dynamic focal depth and possibly the use of eye tracking along with it—things that cannot simply be done in software.
Meantime, VR that is in circulation today will see adoption, and we’ll have time to test the various uses for VR while the hardware evolves enough to be problem free.