The Emergence of VR and AR – What does it Mean?

It’s finally here.

Photo via Flickr User Stuart Newsom

Photo via Flickr User Stuart Newsom

I’ve been captivated by virtual reality from the moment I tried Ride the Comix, a ride at Orlando’s DisneyQuest, many years ago. It was a fairly crude implementation of VR, but one that nonetheless left me exceptionally curious about the potential for the immersive nature of virtual worlds. Similarly, I recall the excitement I felt when I first tried Wikitude, an early augmented reality app from almost a decade ago. The wonder of having contextual information overlaid on top of a live view of the world seemed to open unlimited possibilities.

The challenge with both of these examples was that the mainstream technology available to run the applications wasn’t really up to the task of bringing these ideas to their full potential. We needed computers with faster processing power, and sensors that could better track and measure movement, in order to build truly immersive realtime VR and AR experiences.

And now we have them.

While our smartphones are an integral part of our daily lives today, a decade ago the appearance of the iPhone was a disruptive novelty. That’s similar to where we are with VR, AR, and mixed realities today.

Virtual, augmented, and mixed reality applications are poised to explode into the consumer market. That explosion will bring with it the mainstreaming of this technology that transforms how we look at content, opening new opportunities not only for how we entertain ourselves but also for how we connect, share, and learn.

CaptureThe pending emergence of these technologies has inspired our latest eLearning Guild eBook, AR, VR, and Enhanced Realities: Seven Perspectives on the Potential and Risks for Learning.

For this eBook, we’ve reached out to members of The eLearning Guild community who are already exploring these new technologies. The book contains a collection of seven different perspectives examining the possibilities and implications these emerging technologies have for learning and performance.

Each contribution to the eBook is unique, reflecting the perspective of the author. You’ll notice some shared opinions, as well as areas where the authors do not agree. You’ll be challenged with questions that we, as an industry, need to consider as we look to harness the potential of VR, AR, and mixed realities for learning.

The eBook is completely free and available via the eLearning Guild website.

NOTE: This post is an adaption of the introduction I wrote for the eBook.

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