Christopher Mims wrote a terrific piece in the Wall Street Journal today on how compelling and ultimately practical immersive real-time virtual reality will be in the very near future. But the thing that struck me was the answer to the "why now" question. After all, like many advanced technology miracles, the concept and promise is not new. But the idea of the "adjacent possible" provides a powerful argument.
All of this is possible because, like the PC and the smartphone, virtual reality isn’t so much a single technology as the happy coincidence of a bunch of related ones. Motion tracking, 3-D capture, ultra-high-resolution displays, fast graphics chips and a deep library of 3-D software developed for games and other applications are coming together at just the right time. Google, Facebook, Sony, HTC, Microsoft and countless smaller competitors have already made public their plans for VR, and given its hiring and patents in the area, it’s likely Apple is working on it too.
The rest off the article is a great read on the very practical applications that may be making their way to us very soon, like building walk-throughs, VR conference calls and other social business interaction possibilities.
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