So where are we now?
We're seeing the rise of new entrepreneurs and new product ideas. The VR community is proving itself to be an invaluable resource to enthusiasts and developers, and I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most friendly and productive people in the industry.
I work as a virtual reality developer at the aforementioned Pulse Design Group, a healthcare architecture firm based in Kansas City. We develop VR experiences using Leap Motion, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift. I also have the immense opportunity to introduce first-time users to virtual reality experiences. By using virtual reality as a communication and design tool, we're able to allow a user to walk through a proposed design before construction even begins. This allows us to make necessary changes and communicate design intent much earlier in the design process. As a result, clients have an unparalleled understanding of what their proposed space looks like, and there will be no chance for surprises when they enter a finished space that they previously viewed in VR.
What is currently going on behind the scenes in the industry?
Apple has acquired as many as 23 different VR and AR companies, all of whom are now completely silent about what they are currently developing. I think it is fair to assume that they are developing something, and that we'll hear something about it soon (also, that something will be white and chrome.) Google is continuing to develop their Google Tango system, which is a system that is able to track spaces and recreate them in VR with immense clarity. Magic Leap, a promising company that has raised more than $2.5 billion to create a new augmented reality product, has released little to no information about their product. We can expect to have a collective "whoa" moment as they begin releasing information in the coming years.
We're in the future. Buckle up.
Everyone in the virtual reality community is extremely friendly and welcoming. If you want to experience virtual reality for yourself and hear more about what is going on in your local community, find a local meetup group or get in touch with a local developer. Your best resource is the people around you. In Kansas City, I have the opportunity to co-organize the KCVR meetup group alongside Andrew London. As VR becomes the norm, I expect that communities like this will become breeding grounds for innovation, development, and collaboration. If you're ever in Kansas City, get in touch and check out our virtual reality lab. We would love to show you what we have been up to!