Written by IEEE | January 21, 2016 | Updated: March 30, 2017
Virtual reality (VR) was one of the hottest technologies at CES this year, alongside drones and the IoT. Major manufacturers flooded the showroom floor with new products and innovations, and the IEEE booth was no exception.
While passersby queued up to play our VR game — a Mars expedition where players worked together on a special mission — they were also able to demo other VR experiences thanks to IEEE member Todd Richmond and his team at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT). The ICT experience used viewers including Google Cardboard and Oculus Rift.
In addition to our hands-on VR experience, booth visitors were asked to fill out a survey that asked a range of questions regarding the future of AR/VR technology. The survey had 1,537 respondents, many of whom predict that VR headsets might not have the same staying power that is expected for virtual reality as a whole. In fact, 52% of respondents believed headsets could be phased out of immersive VR experiences by as early as 2030. Another 21% of respondents predicted this to be a reality by 2035, 15% by 2040 and 5% by 2045.
AR/VR Makes the Grade
Virtual reality has already made its mark on education, and 36% of show attendees surveyed predict that the benefit will grow as the technology continues to emerge.
“We are on the cusp of utilizing a technology that will have a profound effect on a variety of industries, such as education, healthcare and business,” shared Todd Richmond, director of advanced prototype development at the Institute of Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California. “Immersive capabilities such as AR, VR and mixed reality provide a whole new medium for communication and experience.Working in academia, I see endless possibilities to how augmented and virtual reality can enhance the learning experience by offering a more interactive element to information for students as well as act as another teaching tool for educators. It’s encouraging to see, based on the results of the survey, that consumers are able to align the value of this technology in other areas besides entertainment.”
What Happens Under the Knife, Stays Under the Knife
Despite the advantages of further integrating AR/VR in healthcare, the majority of survey respondents felt strongly against getting a “sneak preview” of surgical procedures through the advanced technology.
The Entertainment Factor
Virtual reality is inherently entertaining in that it can provide the experience of being practically anywhere, and with that in mind, we asked survey participants to rank where they would like to go first. Thirty percent of respondents chose the outer space as their primary destination, while time travel came as a close second at 19%, with sporting events (18%), a popular city (16%) and remote/secluded destinations (11%) trailing behind.
Virtual reality is still establishing itself across industries, and the majority (58%) of survey respondents predict that the US will be the first country to reach mass adoption, followed by Japan (21%), China (12%), with Brazil, India UK and “Other” (if desired country was not listed) as additional considerations, reflected in a small percentage of the results.
We’re excited to watch the world of VR continue to extend across industries, and hope that the predictions of our CES booth attendees hold true.