Computer Graphics World

March / April 2016

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m a r c h . a p r i l 2 0 1 6 c g w 3 5 from the '80s through now that demonstrate the possibilities of VR and show that people have known all along what VR can do. We just needed to see it work, with hardware and soware that can keep up. The literature should be used by all as a resource in creating VR now; it is right there at our fingertips. Even things like simulator/VR sickness and latency issues are becoming well understood, with research pointing to a combination of hardware display issues and also motion techniques as causing problems. Who is driving VR currently: professionals, consumers, or both? Today, it is still driven by professionals in academia and industry. People come from entertainment, medical, journalism, anthropolog- ical, artistic, and scientific backgrounds. It is incredibly diverse. VR is unique in that it fits into any discipline of literally any industry – so more than anything, industry is curious about what it can do. Very soon consumers will start to have requests, and we will find out which applications are starting to make the most commercial sense. Applications that make commercial sense oen make sense on an emotional level for consumers, and this suits VR progress well because VR is one of the most successful mediums at provoking empathy and engagement that we have ever known. What recent technologies have enabled the resurgence? The most obvious technology that helped pave the way for wider adoption of VR is the HMDs. Five years ago, one cost $40,000, and now we can order them for less than $500. Also, fast high-perfor- mance GPUs that allow high frame rates (over 60 frames per second and some even at 120 fps) in stereo 3D, which is key to delivering great VR experiences from a PC. What new technologies are needed to bring VR and AR to the next level? Beyond HMDs and high-performance GPUs, we are seeing an increase in equipment that can capture 360-degree content. This is key for live-action capture, of course. Photogrammetry and LIDAR also are becoming increasingly affordable techniques for creating VR works. More and more people are opting to try photogrammetry or LIDAR for the capture of 3D environments, something that is going to completely change the role of a cinematographer. What types of VR applications are prevalent today, and which will surge soon? The remarkable thing about VR is that its application is endless. While gaming appears to have driven the interest in VR, there are some really common, everyday practical applications that have made their way into our daily lives without much hype. One of my favorite apps for a mobile device is the common star gazer app that lets you use your device in augmented reality to identify constella- tions. It sure beats lugging a Starball globe around – remember when we had to use one of those? This is going to be the theme of VR; it is going to mix into our everyday lives without any kind of fanfare. The medical community is starting to adopt VR in really interesting ways also, everything from training tools for doctors and nurses to solutions for chronic and acute pain. What industry can benefit most from VR and AR? I am really encouraged by the work being done in journalism (see Nonny de la Pena of Emblematic Group's work) because a real human connection is being made there. People love stories, and the phenomenon that happens with VR is that the content reaches you on a whole new level. People end up really engaging with the things they experience in VR, and because they are so engaged, they end up caring about it. There are many reasons behind this that involve psychology, human cognition, and perception, as this area is extremely well researched. Because we can become so engaged within VR, we are able to connect to one another and the world around us in ways that tra- ditional media cannot provide. Other than journalism, I can see the communications industry really benefiting from the public embrac- ing VR. Telepresence is being adopted in our workplaces and also in our interactions with family and friends. I am interested in seeing the creative ways in which VR telepresence is utilized over the next couple of years. What do you see as the next step in VR and AR? It is going to be really important to get VR in the hands of as many people as possible, and keep it as a warm, welcoming community. Sometimes I meet people who describe themselves as 'imposters' in the VR community, who either come from other industries than gaming or haven't worked on a VR project yet. Truthfully, we've all been beginners, and the best thing for those curious in VR to do is get online, grab some tutorials, and start creating. We still don't have a lot of best practices and workflows in VR, so there will be more curriculum in universities/colleges (and, hopefully, also primary schools) covering VR and workshops targeted at industry once people become confident in the VR creation process. Do you see AR and VR as a trend that will fizzle soon, a la stereo 3D? There is always going to be a lot of fuss about catchphrases and

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