Virtual Reality: A 360° View of the Future

The future is here

What is the future of VR?

August 25, 2016: The future of virtual reality (VR) is already here. A quick Google News search will show you as much. With the introduction of the Samsung Gear VR in 2015 and this year’s unveiling of Facebook’s new 22,000-square-foot Area 404 hardware lab, VR is slowly but surely becoming a part of our everyday life.

VR is an exciting field that is growing exponentially. For this reason, we created (together with our sister site an infographic of the industry’s highlights, which you can view below.

How Far Have We Come?

Virtual reality is far from a new concept. Arguably, the first attempts at creating a virtual environment date back to the 12th century in China, when some of the first panoramic paintings were created.

Since then, humanity has created a plethora of media with the intention of creating an immersive experience or viewers. These have taken the form of stereoscopic photos, flight simulators, 4D films and VR video games.

We’ve come a long way since those previous technologies. If the amount of money being poured into VR technology is any indication, we will be going even further very soon.

Most recently, advancements in augmented reality (AR), a technology closely related to VR, have helped push it forward.

Who Are the VR Pioneers?

We can see the virtual reality hardware and software of today as a simple continuation of these previous efforts. Most modern consumer VR products are focused on video and sound through the use of head mounted displays (HMD) and are primarily intended for use in entertainment and gaming.

However, many experts predict that this will change very quickly, with new senses being added to virtual environments in the near future.

The current leaders in industry are arguably the big players like Youtube, Facebook, Samsung, Google and Apple. Each of these companies is searching for the next big breakthrough and are struggling to differentiate themselves from the crowd in what many predict will be a multi-billion-dollar industry by 2017.

Of course, we can’t forget Niantic Labs, maker of Pokémon Go, the world’s most popular augmented reality (AR) app.

Big Players Spending Millions

To date, these big players have already spent millions on the acquisition of VR technology and research, the most notable of which has been Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. Apple has spent millions on acquiring the VR companies Primesense ($345 million), Metaio ($32 million) and Faceshift (undisclosed).

Google and Youtube have been less active in terms of purchasing, but have been extremely active in developing their own VR capabilities.

Youtube has been focusing on content creation, namely 360° video, for use with virtual reality hardware. Google is busy developing affordable hardware like the Google Cardboard and will be coming out with the Daydream platform for high-quality mobile VR in Autumn 2016.

Interview with the Experts

Although VR is already a reality, the future holds many exciting promises. Based on Couponbox research and our exclusive interview with René Dünkler from the Fraunhofer Institute in Munich, Germany, the uses of virtual reality are almost limitless.

Dünkler is in charge of Technology Marketing for the Holodeck 4.0 project, which is a 44,000-square-meter virtual reality space, which allows users to walk around in a virtual environment with other users. The project is an advancement in VR technology and looks forward to including partners to push it even further.

How Far Will We Go?

Some of the future uses for VR that we discussed with Dünkler were oriented toward VR-learning and architecture design. Other uses we came across in our research were in the tourism, real estate and retail industries. VR users will one day be able to visit far-off locations, view potential properties and shop in virtual stores.

Many developers and startups are already thinking in terms creating a complete sensory environment where users can connect to a virtual world with all their senses. The goal, Dünkler said, is to feel “comfortable in the virtual world.”

The VR technology we already have is impressive and has been built upon the imagination and expertise of many generations of developers. If the predictions of experts like Dünkler are correct, consumer VR products will be as popular as smartphones sooner than we think.

View the full interview with René Dünkler here and the infographic of VR highlights below:

What is the future of VR?

To embed the infographic above on your website simply copy and paste the code below:

<p><img src="" title="Virtual Reality: A 360° View" /></p><p><a href="">Virtual Reality: A 360° View</a></p>

Steve Cuffari

Steve is a writer, researcher and avid traveler from NYC. His favorite products to save money on are travel, food and beverage and tech gear. If you have any questions or suggestions, just email him: