The last couple of years have brought us a lot of amazing promises about the future of VR! However, are they really looking at what is important? How VR will improve people lives, how can it enhance the way we are communicating and getting access to information? How will VR help us making sense of the overwhelming amount of data produced today?
To reach the mass market, the “useful argument” is fundamental. The first mobile phone (Motorola, 1973) was a gigantic device we could barely carry around, however, it served a purpose that would reach millions of people, it improved vastly the way people communicate.
New technologies never started with some shiny and all perfect experiences. The first widely available video game (1971), “Galaxy Game” was displaying just a bunch of squares on a screen. Though the gameplay was fun. Same thing with Minecraft, it doesn’t have to be hyper realistic to bring millions of people building beautiful art pieces with cubes. Of course, games don’t seem to be useful, although there are fundamental in the way humans learn and communicate with each other.
My take on this matter is that to have a mass adoption of VR, it has to propose the next huge leap to improve communication. For that, it has to happen online, accessible freely to anyone independently of hardware and software. WebVR seems to be the perfect fit for such a revolution.
This idea is nothing new. Jaron Lanier (next post on his recent London talk) was dreaming about this in the 70s when he coined the words “Virtual Reality”. Then William Gibson came up with the “Cyberspace” term in his fiction “Neuromancer” (1984). Today, some are using the term “Metaverse”, thanks to Niel Stephenson’s novel, “Snow Crash” (1992). The main idea is to propose an interconnected persistent computer generated online world within which anyone could potentially access any data and render them in a meaningful manner to him (and everybody else).
In other words, an open source webVR has just that potential: the ability to grab all sort of information from anywhere on the internet and pull it in a VR experience without any system boundaries.
Looking forward to an open webVR for the future of education.
Follows a collection of articles and tools on webVR: