AR /VR and some challenges for the developers creating immersive experiences

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Virtual reality is a simulated experience that can be like or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality can include entertainment and educational purposes. Other, distinct types of VR style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality, sometimes referred to as extended reality or XR.

One method by which virtual reality can be realized is simulation-based virtual reality. Driving simulators, for example, give the driver on board the impression of actually driving an actual vehicle by predicting vehicular motion caused by driver input and feeding back corresponding visual, motion, and audio cues to the driver.

With avatar image-based virtual reality, people can join the virtual environment in the form of real video as well as an avatar. We can participate in the 3D distributed virtual environment as a form of either a conventional avatar or a real video. Users can select their own type of participation based on the system's capability.

In projector-based virtual reality, modeling of the real environment plays a vital role in various virtual reality applications, such as robot navigation, construction modeling, and airplane simulation. Image-based virtual reality systems have been gaining popularity in computer graphics and computer vision communities. In generating realistic models, it is essential to accurately register acquired 3D data; usually, a camera is used for modeling small objects at a short distance.

Currently, standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds, and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using virtual reality equipment can look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Virtual reality typically incorporates auditory and video feedback but may also allow other types of sensory and force feedback through haptic technology.

Mixed reality is the merging of the real world and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time.

Cyberspace is sometimes defined as a networked virtual reality.

Simulated reality is a hypothetical virtual reality as truly immersive as the actual reality, enabling an advanced lifelike experience or even virtual eternity.

There is a long and careful path that developers must follow, since exists a very large field still unexplored and of which we still do not have full visibility in terms of consequences that may arise, below I quote some that seem to be more relevant in this larger field:

Harassment issues will migrate from social media platforms to virtual interactions and will carry the same weight as in real life.

At present we live in such an aggressive world not only in the physical field but also that it has moved exponentially to virtual relationships. We must recognize that harassment in virtual reality can be pervasive and have a significant emotional impact on users. In other words, this harassment is possible and is transferred to homes permanently.

For the moment, our current university and IT policies may be able to address cases that parallel harassment and racism in real life. But as VR evolves and virtual environments are populated with avatars that we “own,” our policies may be forced to deal with futuristic scenarios such as the appropriation of another’s avatar or transforming its appearance or actions in negative ways. In a future scenario, augmented and mixed reality (MR) may be able to associate digital information and objects with our physical bodies and identities without our knowledge or consent. These developments may lead to some students becoming reluctant to participate in advanced virtual environments and even asking to opt-out. With VR, AR, and MR impacting human experience on the most fundamental levels, the issues will be both unanticipated and complex.

This is one of the great challenges, these devices should be accessible to all audiences regardless of the resources each person, if we think at the macro level governments should implement in educational centers, colleges, air universities focused on digital education and with departments to provide this equipment so that they were available to any student. Likewise, the development and learning of these platforms is essential for the evolution of augmented realities.

The long-term consequences of deep immersion experiences on a person are still unknown, and informed consent for virtual reality research studies must include an explicit statement that immersion experiences may have a lasting influence on behavior. This field is critical to understand since it directly impacts people’s behavior and their conscience.

  • Interactions with VR environments may lead to more fundamental changes, not only on a psychological but also on a biological level.
  • The comprehensive character of VR plus the potential for the global control of experiential content introduces opportunities for new and especially powerful forms of both mental and behavioral manipulation, especially when commercial, political, religious, or governmental interests are behind the creation and maintenance of the virtual worlds.
  • Virtual reality technology targets directly the mechanism by which human beings phenomenologically identify with the content of their self-model.
  • After an intense and emotional experience in virtual reality, you remove the headphones, and you are suddenly in a very different real world. We are not good at fast-setting the rule of behavior and emotion. Re-entry into the real world, especially after repeated exposure to virtual reality, could lead to disturbances of various kinds: cognitive (did something happen in XR or in real life?), Emotional (the cause of non-emotions is real?), for example, a fictional virtual character insulted his avatar), and behavior: for example, actions validated in XR cannot be socially validated in the real world).
  • Social isolation is the other outstanding delivery on paper. “It is possible that some people can use XR to such an extent that they lose face-to-face social contact with other people so that people withdraw from society
  • Some other installments they warn against were data privacy and the dangers of identity personification.
  • Believe repeated exposure to real-life and to entertainment violence could alter cognitive, affective, and behavioral processes, possibly leading to desensitization. The study showed a relationship between real-life and media violence exposure and desensitization as reflected in related characteristics. One-hundred-fifty fourth and fifth graders completed measures of real-life violence exposure, media violence exposure, empathy, and attitudes towards violence. Regression analyses indicated that only exposure to video game violence was associated with (lower) empathy. Both video game and movie violence exposure were associated with stronger pro-violence attitudes. The active nature of playing video games, intense engagement, and the tendency to be translated into fantasy play may explain the negative impact, though causality was not investigated in the present design.

Conclusion

There has been and continues to be rapid growth in Virtual Reality technologies. It is estimated that there will be 300+ million VR users worldwide by 2020. There remains room for debate around the topic of ethical responsibilities for these technologies. While it can be argued that makers cannot be held 100% responsible for their designs, each company and individual designer should demonstrate reasonable caution, through monitored trials and testing. Designers should not ignore possible mental health and safety issues, or physiological impacts, or social and ethical factors. Steps to address these issues might include interactive testing using human and automated users.

It is advisable adding additional investigation and analysis testing stages to the development of virtual reality technologies in efforts to protect the public. These tests might not focus on physical health and safety concerns, but rather on physiological and social influences. Currently, no such trials related to physiological or social factors are required, monitored, or enforced. But a large number of virtual reality applications are already on the market, suggesting that technological and economic forces may overrun efforts to protect the public good. The fact that VR is already available does not mean there is no need to address this issue, and it should not be left until it is too late.

The growth of VR technologies leads to an increase in new products and accelerated development of VR in industries such as education, healthcare, household management, tourism, and video games, impacting social and economic sectors. On one hand, there will be huge opportunities for new and innovative VR applications, beyond entertainment uses. On the other hand, there are numerous challenges and ethical issues that need to be addressed. More research needs to be done to investigate the psychological impact of VR, especially on young children, both in the short and long term. However, if the VR economy is to continue to grow while maintaining sustainable healthy new developments, it must be supported by scientific research to investigate the social and ethical issues around these technologies.

It is important to take into account and be informed of these facts that will surely influence our lives and on the other hand, it is also very important that adequate strategies and policies are developed that allow us to exploit all the benefits of these new developments in order to benefit humanity in all possible fields without stigmatizing new technologies.

Systems Engineer with a huge experience working on IT infrastructure projects and passionate about software development, AR/VR, Big Data, and Machine Learning.