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Friday, May 26, 2017

Virtual-Reality Tech Keeps Getting Better

Gaming and educational applications are expected to increase the use of virtual-reality (VR) devices by 85% over the next five years, according to a report from technology market intelligence firm ABI Research.  The market for those devices is changing, with technology such as headsets and 365-degree cameras becoming more affordable and effective.

“Education is on the cusp of a profound change in the way we use VR technology,” said Emory Craig, director of e-learning at the College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY. “People are starting to use it in higher ed even though the tech is very fluid at the moment.”

Headsets for high-quality equipment can cost close to $2,000 per setup, but technology firms are developing devices that work with lower-end desktop computers for the more affordable price of $299. Newer 365-degree cameras have more user-friendly features, making it easier to introduce video content into course materials. VR hand controllers are also improving to provide full-motion interactive experiences.

Content developers are experimenting with new ways to create virtual medical simulations, as well as creating applications that allow users to manipulate VR content. At the same time, Facebook is working on ways for users to connect and collaborate virtually.

“We can expect to see certain trends in VR to move forward, while others will disappear,” said Maya Georgieva, tech strategist and co-founder of the consulting group Digital Bodies. “As devices continue to shrink, we will see the development of augmented- and mixed-reality experiences that will power compelling visualizations, immersive storytelling, gamified simulations, and learning experiences.”

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