Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is eagerly waiting for the day when he will wear a screen strapped to his head and watch a replay of his daughter’s first steps. This future will soon turn into reality, partly because of advancements in technology which have also gotten less expensive now.
Facebook making inroads in VR
Facebook’s CEO said virtual reality is the next major computing trend but added it will take time to catch on with consumers just like smartphones and tablets took a decade. “There’s a lot of hype, people are very excited. People say there are going to be millions of units. Look at smartphones to see that curve,” Facebook CEO said at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco.
With the purchase of Oculus, a virtual reality startup, for $2 billion last year, Facebook first drew the attention of the world to VR. Gear VR from Samsung is the first entrant in the VR field and has been created in partnership with Oculus. The device will be released in November and has been priced at $99.
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Facebook will release its Oculus Rift headset for PCs by March and has already started the research work for future advancements, including augmented reality. Apart from Facebook and Samsung, many other tech firms are also working on the technology, including Sony, HTC and Microsoft.
Smartphones making VR a reality
Zuckerberg is the latest tech icon to support virtual reality, which is a computer-generated world in which users can explore and learn. In augmented reality, computer information is layered on top of real-world images. The technology has become a popular tool for science fiction via movies like The Lawnmower Man and The Matrix. In the real world, the nascent technology has been in development for decades now.
Smartphones and tablets have played a crucial role in bringing vital changes to the virtual reality field. The ubiquity of these devices made it possible for the industry to create mobile devices that are more powerful than before and at the same time has led to the reduction in the manufacturing costs of parts like screens and sensors. Zuckerberg said that in 15 years, billions of units (VR gadgets) will be sold, but for now it will start with gamers and tech enthusiasts.