Immersive Technology has been around for a while. Yet, it has made powerful strides in the last few decades. Today, various industries are using or exploring virtual and augmented reality. These benefit from improved production, increased user engagement, and saving costs. With the metaverse getting closer, we decided it was time to dive into Immersive Techs. This article will explain Immersive Technology and its types and applications. We'll also give you a bit of history and cover the benefits of this type of tech. Are you ready to join the virtual world?
What is Immersive Technology?
Immersive Technology encompasses techs that create experiences that enhance or simulate reality. It integrates virtual content with our physical environment. In turn, users can engage with this blended reality.
Who invented Immersive Technology?
There is no one person we can credit with the invention of immersive Technology. Yet, we can say that simulated reality attempts started in the 50s with Morton Heilig's Sensorama. This device combined video, scent, and touch.
Later, the 60s brought the first head-mounted display (Philco Corporation’s Headsight). It also carried flight simulators and head-mounted AR/VR (Sword of Damocles). More devices arise in the 70s and 80s. Further, films like Tron made the public hungry for Immersive Technologies.
In 1987, John Lanier coined the term Virtual Reality. Since then, this industry has not stopped growing. The Oculus Rift VR headset appeared in 2012, and Pokémon GO gave us all a taste of augmented reality in 2016. Since then, immersive Technology has expanded far and wide.
Types of Immersive Technology
1. 360º Immersive Tech
Remember when we started getting videos that moved as we moved our phones? It might pale compared to current technology. This simple Immersive Tech made Google Street View and Virtual Tours possible.
2. Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality replaces users' surroundings with a digital environment. To do so, it combines head-mounted displays (HMDs) with input devices. You may be familiar with Virtual Reality headsets. Once a rarity, they can now be findable in countless people's homes. It has many uses, like learning, museum exhibitions, and even treating phobias! Other devices used in VR are joysticks, data gloves, and smelling devices.
There are three main types of Virtual Reality: non-immersive, semi-immersive, and immersive VR. The types mainly depend on the level of awareness the user maintains. Also, it involves how many senses take part in the experience.
3. Augmented Reality
If you've played Pokémon GO or used a Snapchat filter, you have used Augmented Reality (AR)! AR adds to our existing surroundings, blending reality with the virtual world. It appears in marketing, entertainment, fashion, education, and logistics, to name a few.
Within it, there are two types: marker-based AR and markerless AR. QR codes are an example of marker-based AR. Markerless AR has three subtypes: superimposition-based, projection-based, and location-based AR. Markerless AR is particularly popular in the gaming and interior design industries.
4. Mixed Reality
Also known as Hybrid Reality, Mixed Reality combines the real and virtual worlds. Here, users can interact with objects contained within the digital world. Examples of MR applications include holograms, remote work, and medical training.
5. Extended Reality
Extended Reality (XR) is a relatively recent umbrella term that covers VR, AR, and MR. It covers all the different ways we interact with technology and information.
6. Haptic Technology
Also called 3D touch or kinaesthetic interaction, haptics simulates touch through sensors. These allow users to feel interactions through pressure, vibrations, and movements. Haptic Tech increases realism and improves User Experience.
Although this tech might seem cutting-edge, we've had it for quite a while. Think about the buzzing and vibrations on our mobile phones. These can mean different things, like a message, a phone call, or an email. Haptics is also significant for the Metaverse, space exploration, aviation, and healthcare.
Real-Life Examples of Immersive Technology
Immersive Technology has countless applications. We'll cover some industries' examples: gaming, education, healthcare, marketing, and the military.
Gaming has seen the most investment and application of immersive technology. Virtual Reality immerses players in the game. In turn, it improves the UX and increases user engagement.
Immersive Tech can do wonders for education. Before the pandemic, it followed gaming in its application. Since then, Immersive Tech in this sector has grown extensively. Thanks to Immersive technology, students can reap the benefits of training with 3D Tech, VR, and AR. Primary and secondary scholars can learn how nature and the world around them work. Also, medical students can learn to operate. It can also benefit training in tourism, art, and history.
Another critical application area for Immersive Tech is healthcare. Like education, it has seen a surge during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, Immersive Technology can train doctors to perform surgeries through simulations. Further, people with low vision can seek aid from VR headsets. These experiences can also help patients with chronic conditions or help relieve pain.
Marketing and Advertising have benefited from Immersive Technology. Some apps allow consumers to try clothes, glasses, or other products. These immersive ads help companies improve their user experiences. You can find examples of VR apps to try clothes on and tremendous immersive ads.
VR and AR have myriad uses in space exploration. Some of these enclose robot control, astronaut training, and space education. Moreover, NASA uses these technologies in the International Space Station. Not only do VR and AR assist with maintenance. These also help astronauts handle objects and control microgravity movements.
The military uses Virtual Reality for specialized combat training. It also uses VR to train medical personnel. Not to mention, VR uses flight simulation and ground vehicle simulation. VR is also helpful in getting personnel familiarized with specific equipment. There are many examples of its uses for military and defense purposes!
Immersive Technology in Business Strategy
Immersive technology is finding its way into every nook and cranny of our lives. We use it to find Pokémon, buy Ikea furniture, and take virtual tours of locations we can't access. But what are the benefits of Immersive Technology? Beyond the prior applications, here are five reasons to invest in Immersive Tech.
● Better Engagement. The digital era has changed consumer habits and how people interact with products. And we know keeping customers happy is a big part of success in any business. Embracing new techs will ease connecting to target markets and maintain engagement.
● Better Accessibility. Immersive Technology is quite improving accessibility to information, education, and entertainment. Not only does it give access to people with disabilities or restrictions. Also, it increases your target demographic.
● Faster Development. Tech developments are constantly helping reduce time-to-market. In this context, Immersive Technologies are no different. They can provide solutions to reduce design and dev times in virtually any industry. Ii can also simplify the Product Development cycle's ideation and prototyping stages. And, with reduced constraints, R&D teams have more freedom to innovate.
● Smoother Work. Virtual workplaces are a cost-effective alternative to traditional office spaces. Considering the large number of people looking for remote positions, it's highly beneficial. Also, it does wonders for teams spread out around the globe.
● Improved Training. Virtual training is becoming more common and has proven to be effective. The training processes expedite, and knowledge retention increases. New employees will be ready to work sooner, reducing downtime. They will also be more skilled and efficient by the end of their training.
Immersive Technologies can bring about extraordinary improvements to our lives and businesses. They are way more than an excellent tool to improve entertainment experiences. Immersive Tech can take us to the next level in education and healthcare. It can also improve working conditions and make business more profitable and efficient. We hope this article has given you the lowdown on immersive technology. Are you as curious as we are about what other developments it has up its sleeves?