Virtual Reality

Will consumers embrace the emerging technology?


Technology that immerses users in artificial, but strikingly realistic, experiences is poised to move beyond flight simulators and other specialized training applications into games, health care, education and mental health therapy, to name a few uses. Improvements in the technologies that drive virtual reality — computing power for creating virtual worlds, cameras that track and analyze users' movements, sensor-rich devices for processing touch and software allowing multiple users to interact — are behind the advances. Programmers can now create an array of lifelike sensations: flying like a bird, fighting off predators, riding a roller coaster or climbing a mountain. But experts are concerned that virtual reality also could cause disturbing physical or psychological reactions, such as paralyzing terror, motion sickness or injuries caused by disorientation. ...

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