Immersive technology refers to technology that attempts to emulate a physical world through the means of a digital or simulated world by creating a surrounding sensory feeling, thereby creating a sense of immersion. Immersive technology enables mixed reality; which is a combination of Virtual reality and Augmented reality or a combination of physical and digital. in some uses, the term "immersive computing" is effectively synonymous with mixed reality as user interface.
A fully immersive, perceptually-real environment will consist of multiple components.
The following hardware technologies are developed to stimulate one or more of the five senses to create perceptually-real sensations.
These technologies provide the ability to interact and communicate with the virtual environment.
"Software interacts with the hardware technology to render the virtual environment and process the user input to provide dynamic, real-time response. To achieve this, software often integrates components of artificial intelligence and virtual worlds. This is done differently depending on the technology and environment; Whether the software needs to create a fully immersive environment or display a projection on the already existing environment the user is looking at.
Research and development
Many universities have programs that research and develop immersive technology. Examples are Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, USC's Computer Graphics and Immersive Technologies Lab, Iowa State Virtual Reality Applications Center, University of Buffalo's VR Lab, Teesside University's Intelligent Virtual Environments Lab and Liverpool John Moores University's Immersive Storylab. As well universities the video game industry has received a massive boost from immersive technology specifically Augmented reality. The company Epic games known for their popular game Fortnite generated 1.25 billion dollars in a round of investing in 2018 as they have a leading 3D development platform for AR apps. The U.S. Government requests information for immersive technology development and funds specific projects. This is for implementation in government branches in the future.
Immersive technology is applied in several areas, including retail and e-commerce, the adult industry, art, entertainment and video games and interactive storytelling, military, education, and medicine. It is also growing in the Non-profit industry in fields such as disaster relief and conservation due to its ability to put a user in a situation that would elicit more of a real world experience than just a picture giving them a stronger emotional connection to the situation they would be viewing. As immersive technology becomes more mainstream, it will likely pervade many other industries. Also with the legalization of cannabis happening worldwide the cannabis industry has seen large growth in the immersive technology market as to allow virtual tours of there facilities to engage potential customers and investors.
Concerns and ethics
The potential perils of immersive technology have often been portrayed in science fiction and entertainment. Movies such as eXistenZ, The Matrix, and the short film Play by David Kaplan and Eric Zimmerman, raise questions about what may happen if we are unable to distinguish the physical world from the digital world.As the world of immersive technology becomes deeper and more intense this will be a growing concern for consumers and governments alike as to how to regulate this industry. Because all these technology is immersive and therefor not taking place in real life the application and or problems that come with the developing industry are something to keep an eye on. For example, Legal systems debate on topics of Virtual crime, and whether it is ethical to permit illegal behavior such as rape in a simulated environment, this is relative to the adult industry, art, entertainment and video games industries.
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