A great example of the expected future of VR can be found in the form of the Virtual Reality Oasis in the movie and novel Ready Player One. It is a MMORPG which started as a game and slowly grew to incorporate most of the world’s population on a daily basis. In the future where the Virtual Reality Oasis is available to even the most impoverished of users, it is depicted mostly of a form of escapism. The movie is set in 2045 in Columbus, Ohio, a city with a growing technology and startup business sector. The question is, how close are we to creating the Virtual Reality OASIS in Ready Player One?
The short answer to the question is not close at all. Of course, that is the whole point, the movie takes place in a dystopian future, not the present. We have a lot of technological advances we need to overcome before we can create a virtual reality environment and hardware similar to Ready Player One. Technology is always evolving and sometimes it happens at breakneck speeds, but in order for it to happen, there usually needs to be a lot of capital involved. Companies such as facebook are investing in the future of Virtual Reality, but until they start pouring in large amounts of capital consistently, the hardware and software needed to create such an advanced system will just not happen.
Viveport actually created a game, “OASIS Beta” based off of the movie. See the video below:
OASIS is an acronym for Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation. Thats quite a mouthful so lets break that down to each component:
Ontological – The philosophical study of being. It is the study of being, existence and reality.
Anthropocentric – The belief that human beings are the most important entity in the universe.
Sensory – Physical sense. Everything around you that the human body senses.
Immersive – The perception of being physically present within a virtual environment.
Simulation – An imitation of an actual scenario or situation.
Software and Hardware Components Hurdles:
Zero Latency & Huge Bandwidth – Zero latency means that data will transfer in real time with no delays or “ping”. Latency is measured using milliseconds. In reality completely zero latency may be close to impossible because data itself needs time to actually transfer. Luckily with fiber optic backbones and new generation of cellular data transfer such a 5G, we are slowly but surely moving closer to extremely low latency. The amount of data that can be transferred in many cases is almost as important as the delay on how fast it moves. This is often termed bandwidth and with the evolution of new technology for data transfer, the “pipeline” is also increasing.
Haptic Feedback Equipment – The use of touch to communicate with the end user of hardware. The most advanced haptic feedback equipment would allow users to feel the sense of touch as naturally as they would in the real world. An example is that if you were thrown a basketball in virtual reality, you would actually feel like you are catching something. Some companies are actually working on creating this technology for the use of training. An example I found from searching was Teslasuit.
More advanced Virtual Reality Equipment – Last but not least, we would need significantly more advanced Virtual reality equipment in order to get the level of immersion we say in the Virtual Reality OASIS in Ready Player One. A short example of the kind of advancement I am referring to would be in the form of screen resolution. With new sources saying that the human eye sees as many as 576 megapixels, we are obviously pretty far from the capability of completely tricking the human eye. A 4k virtual reality screen is really only equivalent to 8.5 Megapixel. That means that we need to increase Virtual Reality resolution by over 67x for full immersion.