Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) currently have fairly limited uses. We mainly use VR for games, while we use AR for games and for adding effects to our selfies. VR is also limited because of hardware restrictions, the headsets are expensive and most of them still require a mess of cables to run. As this technology becomes cheaper and more widespread, the entry-level for VR will diminish.

Real estate and interior decorating

Once wireless VR is available cheaply, then it will quickly become part of everyday life. It will transform the process of house hunting. Virtual reality tours of houses will become commonplace. Some will even have live feeds so you can see what the neighbourhood is like at different times of the day. These will combine with AR so that while you explore a potential new home, you can swap out the existing furniture for your own, or for products available to purchase. This way, you can explore a house and see it exactly as you would want it. The same technology will be used for looking at hotels before you book.

If you’re not buying a new home, but just looking to redecorate, AR is already available to use. Companies like IKEA have apps available so you can see what furniture would look like in your home. The available apps still need some refining but within a few years, this technology will be commonplace. It won’t just be for furniture, you’ll be able to look at the walls of your house through the screen of your smartphone and then see them painted any colour you wish. This technology will scale and be applied to large engineering and architecture projects.

Bespoke clothing

As AR becomes more prominent, it will change the way we buy clothes and shoes. Several apps are being tested where you can view yourself in your smartphone and apply different clothing items to see how you look in them. These apps will perform body scans to advise you on the best size for the perfect fit. Shoe sizes might cease to exist, as the app will measure your feet and create bespoke shoes on the fly with 3d printing!

Photo: Virtual Reality Demonstrations by UTKnightCenter licensed under Creative Commons 4.0