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How Virtual Reality tech products will kill the age of Smartphones

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By Isha Srivastva

On Monday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook revealed the details of long awaited Apple Watch. The smart watch performs all the functions which an iPhone does.

“Apple Watch is the most personal device we have created. It isn’t just with you, it’s on you,” Cook told his audience in California.

One might argue that the device is hardly liberating as it still needs the iPhone for connectivity, however, there is no doubt that smartphones in the near future may not be our permanent accessory after all!

Birth of Virtual Reality

Back in the 90s, virtual reality had a very clouded future. In early 2014, when Facebook bought the virtual reality company Oculus, it signalled a promising possibility for VR acolytes. VR is yet to fully permeate the markets and as of now, two giants stand ahead of the pack, Sony and Oculus (owned by Facebook).

At the Mobile World Conference this year, there was a plethora of VR technology products. Samsung (teamed with Facebook owned Oculus) revealed a new version of the Gear VR that can be powered by both the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the S6 Edge.

HTC’s VIVE VR headset (Very Immersive Visual Experience) also grabbed a lot of eyeballs during the MWC. It provides a ‘full room experience’ and comes with two wireless wand like controllers. Tracking sensors allow users to use your hands to create 3D art, and all of this without being connected to a smartphone.

The kind of leap into future technology that VR epitomises, is akin to 3D graphics technology. 3D graphics are omnipresent in so many areas like the web and the movies. Virtual Reality too, offers unlimited potential to be used for gaming, storytelling, or simply witnessing a historical event even at places you’re not physically present.

Let’s not forget that these are still prototypes and are not yet ready for public use. While Oculus is slated to arrive early next year, Sony Morpheus (which is releasing around the same time) promises to drive PS4 gaming to another level.

Computerised glasses, also called ‘augmented reality’ are rationally the next step in personal computing. The wearable tech market maybe at its nascent stage but Glass has already captured public’s imagination like no other.

 Will smartphones go modular?

Google is planning to launch its Project Ara (or Google Ara) some time in August 2015. The idea is fairly simple: you buy a basic Ara phone and parts of it can be pulled out and swapped as you please. It’s an extremely versatile computing platform which will allow you to upgrade to more powerful components, for example a better camera, from a dedicated hardware Google store. This even provides a good potential to startups for developing their own components specifically for the phone.

Smartphones may be ubiquitous for atleast a decade, but for tech enthusiasts, it is virtual reality that is already becoming an obsession. The headsets companies are still facing hurdles of position tracking, multi user experiences, social stigma and high prices before they fully penetrate domestic market.

However, It isn’t specifically about one VR headset, or an Apple Watch; these devices present the limitless nature of digital world building, almost akin to an art which will manifest itself in a new myriad of devices and technologies. The question is- what virtual worlds are we capable of creating, and how will we use this technology as a medium of progress?

 

 

 

 

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Irish Watchdog Opens Inquiry into Latest Privacy Breach of Facebook

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump's campaign

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Irish watchdog opens inquiry into latest Facebook privacy breach. Pixabay

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has announced a fresh investigation into Facebook, a day after the social networking giant admitted another security breach where nearly 6.8 million users risked their private photos being exposed to third-party apps.

Facebook, which is already facing a probe from the Irish watchdog for a previous privacy leak in September that affected 50 million people, may end up with fine of 4 per cent of its annual turnover – the highest fine under the new European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), The Independent reported on Saturday.

In Facebook’s case, the fine could amount to nearly 1.5 billion euros.

“The Irish DPC has received a number of breach notifications from Facebook since the introduction of the GDPR on May 25, 2018,” a spokesperson for the watchdog was quoted as saying.

The fresh move came after Facebook on Friday said more than 1,500 apps built by 876 developers may have also been affected by the bug that exposed users’ unshared photos during a 12-day-period from September 13 to 25.

Facebook, in a statement, said it has fixed the breach and will roll out next week “tools for app developers that will allow them to determine which people using their app might be impacted by this bug”.

“Currently, we believe this may have affected up to 6.8 million users and up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers. The only apps affected by this bug were ones that Facebook approved to access the photos API and that individuals had authorised to access their photos.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“We’re sorry this happened,” said Facebook, adding that it will also notify the people potentially impacted by this bug via an alert.

The disclosure is another example of Facebook’s failure to properly protect users’ privacy that may drew more criticism of its privacy policy.

Earlier this month, Italian regulators fined Facebook 10 million euros for selling users’ data without informing them.

The competition watchdog handed Facebook two fines totalling 10 million euros, “also for discouraging users from trying to limit how the company shares their data”.

The Irish watchdog, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, in October opened a formal investigation into a data breach which affected 50 million users.

Also Read- Prime Minister Narendra Modi Extends Condolences to France Terror Attack Victims

“The investigation will examine Facebook’s compliance with its obligation under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to ensure the security and safeguarding of the personal data it processes,” said the DPC.

The world’s largest social media network has been grilled over the past year for its mishandling of user data, including its involvement in a privacy scandal in March when Cambridge Analytica, a British political consultancy firm, was accused of illegally accessing the data of more than 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

The private information of Facebook users was alleged to be used to influence the US 2016 general elections in favour of President Donald Trump’s campaign. (IANS)