Metaverse, virtual and augmented reality, are some of the terms that in recent months have gained more and more strength and it is not for less, practically all companies that are dedicated to technology have these concepts in mind, since they have been cataloged as the techniques of the future and more and more firms are joining the development of products focused on this.
Its origins, in the Second World War.
The origin of virtual reality dates back to the years of World War II, when the United States sought the creation of a flight simulator to train bomber pilots. However, it was not until 1962 when they began to develop systems as such of virtual reality -although the term did not exist- with the Sensorama, a machine that showed three-dimensional images and that included stereo sound, wind effects, aromas and mobile seat.
From there followed some other products that would mark the technology such as Sword of Damocles, which incorporated a helmet to show images or the Aspen Movie Map, a project that gave the user the ability to «walk» the streets of Aspen through real recordings of the area and could even interact with buildings.
Between 80s and 90s, the commercial use of VR was detonated.
The 80s arrived and with them, technology similar to how we now know it began to be defined and that aims to «immerse» the user in an environment developed by computer and that simulates reality through the use of some accessories, whether hearing aids, lenses or even suits.
On a large scale, one of the first uses of the technology was made at Baltimore’s Six Flags, with a 4D movie theater called The Sensorium. Similarly, it continued its use for entertainment, with companies such as Nintendo, which launched the Famicom 3D System in 1987 or Sega’s Master System, these two devices were virtual reality headsets with glasses.
Interestingly, it was these two companies that mainly focused on this technology, since subsequently, Sega announced the launch of the Sega VR, which would supposedly include a helmet with LCD screen and arcade headphones, although it ended up not being commercialized. What was sold was the Sega VR-1, which was a motion simulator also with a helmet and three-dimensional graphics, which was able to follow the movements that the player made with the head. Nintendo did not want to be left behind and announced the Virtual Boy, which had a monochrome screen.
Another of the pioneering products was the Cave Assisted Virtual Environment or known simply as Cave, which was created in 1991 and consisted of an immersive system through a room and projections, which were made from the back. In addition, the user had to wear special glasses to see the 3D graphics that were generated, although because it was not such an accessible technology, it was not popularized to a large extent.
From 2 thousand to date.
A fact is that in the early years of the twenty-first century (from 2000 to 2006) there was a kind of vacuum in terms of virtual reality products, although everything began to be resumed from 2007, when one of the giants of our generation, Google, incorporated the Street View function, through which you could see some points of the planet and that until 2022, it already allows you to travel a large number of streets and places in the world.
Oculus was another of the products that revolutionized this technology, since, launched in 2010 through a crowdfounding campaign, a prototype was built based on different virtual reality headsets and which in these times is a reference on VR products. This firm had a kind of growth to such an extent that facebook ended up buying it, for an amount close to 2 billion dollars.
Faced with this success, different companies did not want to be left behind and began to develop their own virtual reality technology, as in the case of Samsung, with its Samsung Gear VR; Sony, with Morpheus; Google, with Cardboard; HTC with HTC Vive SteamV, among many others and whose penetration has reached such a, that the visors of this technology are increasingly affordable and which can be connected even to a cell phone.
The Metaverse, the next step of virtual reality?
In October of last year Facebook -as a company, not as a social network- announced its name change to Meta, while the founder, Mark Zuckerberg, made some special announcements unveiled a new initiative that drives the firm and that aims to change work, social coexistence, exercise and life in general as we know it: the metaverse.
To paraphrase the founder of Facebook, the metaverse has as its main objective to change the way in which you have an experience, because they want to go from «seeing it» to «being inside», all without having to leave from the comfort of your home, or your workplace.
According to what Meta showed us at last year’s Facebook Connect, the metaverse is a virtual experience where users enter a virtual reality universe and where they find everything they could want and carry out in real life.
This includes being able to be at a concert, in a virtual meeting with colleagues, to exercise, among other activities, which are «unlimited» according to Facebook, was even cataloged by Zuckerberg as «the next chapter for the internet» and the «next for your company».
However, so far the Metaverse has brought nothing but losses to Facebook, since its presentation, it has become a capital flight for Meta, only in the last quarter of 2021, it lost 10 billion dollars derived from the division in charge of its development, a fact that was repeated with the first quarter of 2022 with a loss of 2 thousand 960 million dollars.
However, because the Metaverse as it is a bet for the future, meta is expected to continue in the development and promotion of this concept by launching products and other necessary additions to make this a reality. Even Mark Zuckerberg himself acknowledged that he is in the process of «laying the foundations», and hopes that by 2030 there will be a boom in this.
Even this has already reached the sale of cryptocurrencies, where there are even several types of digital currency projects, among which Descentraland based on the Ethereum network stands out, and which has Land and Mana, the latter allows you to buy items as currency and the second is a type of NFT that can be used in the metaverse.
However, there are also other projects such as Metahero, Sandbox, Hedera, among others. Although, as it is, like Zuckerberg’s prediction, it is expected that in these years the metaverse will begin to take off little by little, until it is established and popularized definitively in the next decade. Time to time.