Virtual reality, or just VR for short, has been a buzzword for the past few years, albeit a piece of tech that hasn’t taken off as much as developers and investors have hoped. However, that seems to be about to change, and 2018 may well be the year that VR starts taking off in a big way.

Numerous recent consumer electronics shows have showcased VR in ways we haven’t seen before, and this may change the face and adoption of VR in the mainstream. These are some of the VR innovations we have seen recently.

Get fit while you game

The past few years have seen a change from traditional ways of getting in shape. Gone are the days of just jogging or going to the gym – today things like pole dancing and CrossFit as alternative training methods have gained great popularity. Black Box is the latest addition to these unorthodox training methods, but it is different in a very significant way: it incorporates VR and specifically VR gaming into its training offering.

The principle is one that will appeal to fitness and gaming buffs alike. High-intensity cardio, resistance training and gaming principles are combined with virtual reality to give users an experience that is wholly different from anything we’ve seen before.

Released at the recently held Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Black Box was created by Ryan DeLuca and Preston Lewis, who are also the founders of bodybuilding.com. There are plans to open flagship gyms incorporating the technology in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, before expanding to other locations.

Immerse yourself in a world of your choice

Another popular release at CES was the Teslasuit, a full-body, thermo-controlled, haptic feedback (this is touch-based feedback, like the little vibration your phone has when you type), motion capture suit. It is the combination of all these factors that make the Teslasuit a revolutionary piece of technology. Motion capturing means there’s two-way communication between the real world and the VR world, and climate control ability means users are immersed even to the point of the temperature they experience.

The Teslasuit is completely wireless, and its current focus market is gamers, although the possibilities that the suit has in real life are almost endless.

At CES, Dimitri Mikhalchuk, CEO of the Teslasuit project, explained, “We wanted the Teslasuit to erase the difference between the virtual and the real worlds. The gaming market, entertainment and enterprise in VR and AR are currently the natural applications for this technology. Also, as this is smart clothing, it will work well for day to day life and well-being, for example in sports training and fitness. But, we see its potential future use in a variety of different sectors including manufacturing, automotive, healthcare and medical fields in particular for use in rehabilitation, biometric data set building, collection and data management.”

The future

VR will probably increasingly penetrate the Internet of Things, and there is talk of it being incorporated into everything from manufacturing to equipment training. VR is slowly starting to gain footing, but the kicker in terms of the adoption of this technology, according to experts, is a combination of bringing down the cost and streamlining the design into something users feel comfortable with.

You may think that virtual reality is a technology that will fail to appeal to the masses, but with things like Facebook Spaces also planning to use it in their service offerings, chances are that VR will infiltrate our daily lives much sooner than you expect.

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