Have you heard of Virtual Reality?

The Mobile World Conference 2016 in Barcelona was probably the decisive kick off for the technology. The picture of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, entering the conference room unnoticed by the audience has been spread all over the web.

MZuckerberg at MWC

In the picture one can see the audience focused in the virtual content in exhibition on their VR Headsets distracting them from the billionaire’s entrance. The release of this photo in the social webs generated the necessary buzz for Zuckerberg to transmit the message that virtual reality can become the biggest social platform in the near future (@ USA Today).

This statement adds Facebook to the group of tech giants (Google, Samsung, Microsoft and others) that have already placed their bets to make this technology accessible to everyone. Out of this group is still Apple that is believed to be developing a secret project nobody knows much about(@Financial Times).

What is Virtual Reality after all?

To put it in a very simple way, virtual reality can be understood as the use of technology to create in the user the illusion of being present in a computer-created environment.

Though it may seem, this is not a very modern subject. If we think of the first attempts to create the illusion of being present in a place, we will have to go back as far as the panoramic paintings of the 19th century.

Today, after one century of experiences and advances, virtual reality achieved an impressive progress. The so much vaunted VR Headsets are programmed to capture two of the human senses: sight and hearing.

What you see fully fills your field of vision and the gadget understands and reacts to all movements of your head. If you turn your neck to the left you see what is on your left, if you turn your neck to the right you see what is on your right. The same happens if you look up, down or back. You have a 360-degree vision of the created reality.

Captura de ecrã 2016-02-28, às 21.15.29

An easy way to understand how it works is to think of Google Street View. If you run the Google Street View and stand in Time Square you can use the mouse to move the image 360º, thus being able to see every ad or building of the famous square (Time Square 360º). Imagine that instead of being able to see only a 360º-motionless picture you can see people moving around and the famous yellow taxis passing by as all the sounds are recreated in your headsets, helping to create the sensation of really being in Time Square. That´s the illusion a VR headset will create. The city is in motion and you can watch everything that is going on, as if you were there.

Though it doesn’t allow to deeply explore the five human senses, the advances have been very interesting in the last years with the main aim of creating a sensation of being present and it is really overwhelming how realistic these experiences can be.

To see how Virtual Reality is changing the way we work check this link:

13 Activities Using Virtual Reality As a Tool

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