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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Riccetto

Virtual Reality: Is the Future Now?

Last month, a few of our team members from Brash Inc. travelled down to Las Vegas to explore the newest innovations, trends, and industry buzz at the tech event of the year, CES. They did manage to come back in one piece from sin city, and took the rest of our team through the show's highlights. Some of these highlights include the next generation of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies, and we once again found ourselves asking, is it finally the time for VR/AR to take off?


The application for Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality has impressive potential to revolutionize many industries, from medical tech and education to retail, fitness, gaming, telecommunications, and more. However, skepticism towards VR/AR isn't unwarranted. Over the past three decades, we've seen enthusiastic predictions of VR's mainstream adoption, only to be met with intermittent disappointment.


Major players like Nintendo, Google, and Disney have all attempted to lead the VR revolution, with mixed results. Nintendo's Virtual Boy, Google's Daydream View, and Disney's DisneyQuest theme park all faced challenges such as high costs, low-quality graphics, and niche usage, ultimately falling short of expectations.


These are not small companies trying to make a name for themselves or operating out of their garage. These are corporate behemoths with cult followings, global recognition, and industry domination — but even the giants failed.


Generally speaking, VR/AR tech has faced similar overall challenges throughout the decades — undoubtedly with progress made — but still facing these same barriers to mass adoption:


  • Cost

  • Image quality

  • Heavy/Clunky hardware

  • Niche use

  • Limited supporting platforms

  • Motion sickness/ health concerns


Yet, despite past setbacks, recent advancements in VR/AR technology like the Apple Vision Pro VR headset offer renewed hope. Outside of the improved graphics, lighter hardware, and enhanced software functionalities, having a company like Apple jump on board suggests that VR/AR may finally be poised for real growth. Apple has huge leverage over consumer tech trends and often takes on the role of the pioneer, shepherding new innovations into the mainstream.


CES 2024 also offered glimpses of hope. There, our team got up close with the newest applications of VR/AR: from immersive sports experiences to educational simulations and healthcare innovations. While challenges like comfort, usability, and social integration persist, the potential for VR/AR to impact various industries is undeniable.


One such company is Interact from South Korea. Specializing in creating VR environments for B2B training purposes in often dangerous environments. The company offers no-code software that allows users to build their own scenarios, but only works right now with their custom hardware. At CES, our team tried out their demo, a simulation meant for firefighters complete with custom hardware of a fire hose nozzle to simulate water flow and pressure.





Another showstopper includes, Ocutrx Technologies, Inc. in the medical tech space. Their groundbreaking OcuLenzTM AR/XR headset designed to combat advanced macular degeneration (AMD) is driving advancements in visual aid technology by effectively addressing central vision loss caused by AMD by shifting images to peripheral vision and enhancing the user's visual perception and interaction with their surrounding environment.


In summary, while CES 2024 showcased exciting innovations in VR/AR technology, to answer our article's opening question: is it finally the year for VR/AR to take off?


The answer: No, not yet.


There are still significant barriers to mass adoption such as comfort, usability, and social integration that need to be addressed, as well as supporting infrastructure and price. However, with ongoing advancements and practical applications emerging across industries, we remain optimistic about the future of VR/AR. What we do see emerging though, is clear niche adoption for use cases like training and simulation — including in the medical field — in industries that typically invest largely in cutting-edge technology and are used to the big price tag that comes with such innovation.


As product developers and designers, we're eager to contribute to this evolving landscape and witness the transformative potential of VR/AR unfold. Regardless of your Virtual Reality ambitions, choosing a great partner for any kind of product who has been through the process goes a long way to help navigate the development landscape. You can always reach out to our team at letsgo@brashinc.com at any point in your product development journey.

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