NVIDIA’s New Iray VR Technology Could Blur Line Between The Virtual and Reality

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a1This is the month in which virtual reality will begin to enter the mainstream.  With the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive shipping to customers, the gaming community seems to be ecstatic.  While virtual reality doesn’t quite rival reality in terms of graphics quite yet, the future looks incredibly bright.

Part of this optimism pertaining to where the VR industry will head next, has to do with NVIDIA’s new Iray VR technology that they revealed at their GTC Conference in Silicon Valley.  While NVIDIA is known for their high-powered graphics cards for gaming, the company is looking towards virtual reality as its next big frontier.  While gaming makes up a substantial part of the VR space at this time, it’s other areas, such as business, architecture  and simulations which has the company the most excited.  That’s where Iray technology comes into the picture.

“You’ll be able to look around the inside of a virtual car, a modern loft, or the interior of our still unfinished Silicon Valley campus with uncanny accuracy, explained NVIDIA’s CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang. An entire super computer is used to compute each and every frame meticulously. Like how it takes days and days to create a movie scene, this is no different, with Iray VR we are creating a scene, but the team created a brand new technology to do it.”

The best way to think about what Iray VR is capable of is to think of the incredibly realistic and precise renders from a Pixar movie, and then envisioning being able to walk around and interact with that movie within a virtual world, all in 4k.  While Iray VR requires a super computer in order to process all the information, allowing for the stitching together of hundreds of light probes, NVIDIA realizes that not everyone has access to such hardware.  This is why they have also revealed Iray Light.  While Iray Light may not have the incredibly realistic capabilities that Iray VR has, users can quickly and relatively easily just click a few buttons and have a ray-traced photosphere that they can walk around in with a VR headset.

NVIDIA realizes that the future will involve VR on multiple levels and thus has decided to jump into the space head-first.  Check out the video demo below of Iray VR, and let us know what you think in the NVIDIA Iray VR forum on VRTalk.com.