Hiking into the future of virtual reality

Virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses are finding new trails

Drawing of a girl with backpack and a virtual reality mask out on the trails
Using Virtual reality headsets when hiking

Drawing and text by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Hiking is not what it used to be, new gadgets, apps and innovations appear almost every day. Gadgets that in one way or another promise to connect or enhance hiking into a digital frame, even while we are out on the trails

One of the latest big new things you can buy for hiking, is what look like a kind of scuba-masks , where you can mount your smartphone in or stand alone systems that work in similar ways. These new digital reality gadgets can work in several ways when used for hiking here are two of the most discussed today:

Preparing for the hike by watching 360 degrees movies of the trail

The way to use virtual reality headsets most close to become reality today, is when hikers use the VR headsets to watch 360 degrees movies of the trails they are planning to take, to get familiar with the landmarks, resources, huts and difficult parts – before they even put on their boots.

Being guided by VR headsets out on the trails

The other way is to use the VR headsets ON the trails, and – like fighter plane pilots, get extra information about the trail in front of you, upcoming weather, emails and snap-chat messages as a layer of information and images, in front of your eyes.

How soon will this happen?

Not sure if this is something I look forward to meet out on the trails, but very soon ( 1-5 years ) we will be very likely to see the first hikers wearing these new gadgets when hiking, turning their heads as they stare into screens and navigate the landscapes. And you could be as likely to meet them either at home, in a train, on a flight –  or out in the terrain.

Actually by now ( summer 2016) more than a million people are already active and regular users of just one of these new VR systems ( the Samsung – Oculus system ) check it out here:

Link: Oculus.com

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