Where will human passion for creation lead us to? Which areas of research can VR/AR companies invest on?
Humans are creating an alternate world for themselves. This process of engendering an alternate universe is not incipient. We had been playing with our environment for long enough now. In an endeavor to be GOD ourselves, we have created things which we had earlier only seen occur naturally and wondered. Creating things is not just a passion for us but it is addictive for the ones who have achieved at least a decent amount of prosperity in the process. This addiction or zealousness leads us to do astonishing things, break the so-called rules of nature or even sometimes define our own rules.
When I think about most of the technologies that we have developed in the last 100 years, I feel there are 2 main themes. The 1st one being advances in the way we move, technologies that have taken us to various places (cars/planes/trains etc). The other one being technologies which have transformed the way we feel, things that have been able to prompt signals to activate our brains. I have been fortuitous to be involved with the later line of technology, both by being a contributor and an observer.
Human brains are exposed to external stimuli through our 5 rudimentary sense organs. (there are of course other senses beyond these 5 basic ones like feeling rejected or loved). And by being able to transmit signals that can interact with just 2 of our sense organs (eyes and ears), we have been able to reach so far. Since light and sound can be easily transmitted over electrical signals it has played a pivotal role in most of the technological advances we have made so far. With these basic advances we have been able to craft a virtual reality which feels so proximate to authenticity or even been able to augment reality to make us feel as if we interacting with things that subsist only in our senses. I’m absolutely sure that these 2 kinds of technology will develop in the next 5 years and produce experiences, which will seem just like authentic. But, what’s next? What else can we do to engender authentic-like experiences? To answer this question we will have to answer what is reality? How do we define real? In the words of Morpheus from Matrix, “If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.”
Imagine if we can create the other 3 senses, smell, taste and touch and transmit them electronically or by utilizing quantum techniques? At present times, we are in fact making progress in developing the above technologies and they may be an authenticity sooner than we can think of.
Out of the above 3, I feel sense of touch would be perhaps easier than others to re-create electrically. We have a past history of developing sizably voluminous working electro-mechanical systems. Only if we can amend their precision, we will be all set. Current examples where we have made consequential progress in this field include long distance sex toys (for eternity, our primal instincts to mate have been the 1st industry which experienced application of technological advances and this is true again!)If you don’t know it yet, you will be astounded to learn about some of the instruments available in these links: http://www.lovense.com/long-distance-sex-toys , https://www.lovepalz.com/zeus-s-hera-s/ . You can even raise money for them here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lovense-long-distance-love-toys
Afore we get too distracted, my point here is that we have made progress in this field and if we can perpetuate to develop, soon we will have this technology in mainstream products and perhaps be able to integrate a layer to our virtual reality.
The next 2 senses are difficult to recreate because it requires us to deal at a space where electrons and chemicals interact with each other. We have not been great in this field. Perhaps development in quantum techniques will avail in solving this problem. Digital scent is a fairly moderately explored field at present. A recent company to have made decent progress in this field is oPhone. Here is an article published recently on CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/17/tech/innovation/the-ophone-phone-lets-you-send-smells/ We will soon learn more about this technology. Our last one, sense of taste, has also been created electronically. Read about electronic lollipops here: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/11/23/get-your-chocolate-fine-tune-without-the-guilt-electronic-lollipop-can-simulate-any-taste/
As you can see, we are capable of creating our 5 fundamental senses electronically. The amounts of possibilities when all these technologies will work simultaneously in sync enhancing each other are simply outrageous. If some of the AR/VR companies start making right amount of investment in these technologies we will have a fantastic future.
Before I end, I would encourage my readers to ponder, what if this was done in the past? Are we one of its kinds or are we a result of all the progress (we are making now) that was already made long back in time?