Marketing applications are also expanding, she says.
For example, low-cost head-mounted displays will allow retailers to replace their immersive CAVE environments which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up. Companies can use the technology to have focus groups walk through virtual stores, interact with different shelf layouts, or even try out new products.
"It would significantly lower costs, allow companies to do more of this, and allow them to do it in multiple locations," she says.
The second wave
One virtual reality wave has already come and gone, in the 1990s. Movies like "The Lawnmower Man," devices like Nintendo's Virtual Boy and virtual reality arcades made the technology hot, but by the time "The Matrix" came out at the end of the decade it was clear that virtual reality technology was too expensive and too bulky for widespread use. In addition, graphics quality was poor and high latency and poor head-tracking combined to make users nauseous.