Right now VR and AR are still in the curiosity phase, and gaming/entertainment is the main play. But this isn’t the long-term trajectory. “Serious verticals” will be the big growth area, and when asked “what area?” my answer is “all of them.” Healthcare, education, retail – you’ll see it. In fact, I think that some people will be spending 8 hours a day in VR/AR for their job. They will be working “remotely”, be it in collaboration spaces (think Facebook Social VR for biz) or controlling robotic devices.
One challenges/strength with VR is that you don’t have to obey the laws of time and physics. That can be great for a game or even for healthcare, but if you’re interfacing with physical-world object and systems, very careful design will be necessary in order to avoid weird human motor adaptation.
But what happens when you want to mess with physics? One could imagine that as a desired end state (e.g. moving large/heavy objects). If you create a “realistic” virtual space with augmented movements, how long does it take a human to adapt their motor skills to the virtual space? And then, how long does it take to re-adapt to the physical world? These are questions we’re looking at but most people aren’t even considering.
I see this as analogous to scuba diving. We know that the human body doesn’t tolerate increased pressure well, and when diving in deep waters you have to pay careful attention to time and depth, and come back to normal atmospheric pressure in a well codified process. Could it be that we’ll require the same for VR/AR immersion? Do we have to worry about “virtual nitrogen narcosis”?
The Bends can kill a diver. What will the virtual analogy do to humans?