February 1, 2012 04:42:26
Posted By Christine Longwell
I finally had a chance to spend some quality, one-on-one time with the Infinite Z this past week. Not the first time I got my hands on the stereoscopic glasses or the 3D stylus, but I notice a distinctly better user experience each time.
While it's fun to see grown men giggling like schoolgirls the first time they see the 3D images and interact with the objects, the question is always "but how can you use it?" It's a classic chicken or the egg scenario where the technology requires the development of specific applications, but the applications rely on the technology to create value. To a lesser extent, the same questions were asked about the iPad when it came out. "Sure, you can touch it, and that's cool. But, what does it do that is revolutionary?"
My opinion is that time will tell. The technology is available, and it is up to the application developers to make use of it. The Apple Ap store didn't fill up until the iPhone had been released for some time, and until then the iPhone had only limited value.
Ironically, the person least impressed by the technology was my 8 year old friend at work. He picked up the glasses, took the stylus, and interacted as if objects were actually on the desktop. No coaching needed. It was natural. On the other hand, several of the older design professionals took some time to realize that this is more than a digital drawing board, and they needed to adjust to the concept of depth and rotation.
Personally, if I ever lose my sanity again and decide to build a custom house I would hope that this type of technology would be available to me as a review feature. It would have seriously helped to avoid a few costly mistakes.
I could also see the application in a high end retail environment. The level of realism is so great that I could see retailers reducing their physical inventory by augmenting a showroom with a digital catalogue.
So, aside from being wicked cool, virtual reality is a technology that is ready for an application. I hope to see more in San Diego in a few weeks.