I – Fully Immersive Vehicle Simulator
Virtual Reality training has been very successfully used as vehicle simulators. The Link flight simulator, introduced in 1929, is the oldest example of this technology. It was invented to help reduce costly accidents while training pilots in the early years of aviation.(Unknown, P.3). Currently, companies like Immersive Technologies, CMLabs and Xesa provide simulators for training merchant marine officers, crane and heavy equipment operators, pilots and for simulating automotive interiors and vehicle interfaces. For further information about Vehicle Simulators see Appendix 1 and Table 3.
II – CAVE (Cave Automated Virtual Environments)
Cave Automated Virtual Environments are technologically enhanced versions of Barker’s Panoramas from the 18th century (Boyle, 2013). Such immersive systems find continued use for architectural walk-throughs, design evaluations of large piping or engineering projects as well as simulation training for military, law enforcement and sports. For further information about CAVE see Appendix 1 and Table 3.
III – Tethered Headset VR
The Tethered Headset Personal Computer/Gaming Console Based category is a common baseline when consumers think of VR hardware. These rely on PCs or gaming consoles for the computationally intensive tasks of presenting rendered scenery to the user’s eyes in real time and in response to inputs from sensors indicating head position, head motion and eye gaze. Gaming applications dominate the market, and for good reasons. VR’s ability to create “presence” and a full immersion experience make many classical video game genres much more engaging and realistic. The only real question is how soon traditional console and screen based games are displaced by VR gaming.
The use of VR as a new medium for pornography has been well established since 2016. As with many new media, the porn industry is rapidly innovating in its uses for immersive VR with features such as “teledildonics” and live action, one to one, experiences. A leading indicator of dramatic growth in VR porn usage by end users with VR Immersive Headsets is reported in unflinching detail by industry data reference Pornhub Insights (Virtual reality porn, 2017). A leading indicator for other VR genres may be the spike in views of VR Porn content on Christmas day 2016 followed by a near doubling of viewership rates year to date 2017 over the same time span in 2016 (Virtual reality porn, 2017).
The psychology and therapeutic mental health professions are also applying immersive VR technology. The Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy system has been found effective for treating people with phobias and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (How virtual reality, 2017). It has also been shown effective as a tool to train for future stressful situations. This kind of training, known as Virtual Reality Stress Inoculation Training (VR-SIT) (Stez, 2008), has been used to train combat medics in stress management and relaxation techniques. For more information about Tethered VR Headsets see Appendix 1 and Table 3.
IV – Fully Immersive Mobile
This category encompasses the affordable end of the immersive VR technology market and employs software and low priced optics to readily available smartphones to create Immersive VR headsets.
This particular category is likely to combine with AR Mobile headsets when more smartphone companies introduce AR enabled features into their devices. Certainly, it offers the most accessible path for the most people to experience VR. Facebook and Google have both announced detailed strategies for transforming their social media platforms with VR features and content. This may likely represent the means for creating mass market popularization of VR technology. For more information about Fully Immersive Mobile see Appendix 1 and Table 3.