Online gaming and 2nd Life would be the biggest initial winners with this type of tech.
I agree that it is pretty much just a hardware issue at the moment, because already so many parts of the whole exist.
Gesture based technology has been around for a decade or more. This is the technology brought to screen in Minority Report. It is precursor
technology to the MS Kinect
. The ability to interact with a computer without the need for legacy input
devices (keyboard, mouse, pad, pen, etc) is progressing beyond just being used for exercising with your XBox.
3D has been around for decades to manipulate the auditory and visual sensations and block out the reality around you. In its current version, it
produces a very realistic 3D environment that you can almost walk through.
The next generation of this type of tech is Heliodisplay
, which is a holographic computer screen first
developed in 2004, and continues to be improved today. It is a virtual computer screen that can be interacted with at a touch.
Brain and body implants are constantly gaining ground in medical science to restore vision, hearing, and stimulate motor responses. As well, such
things as pacemakers have proven that even the heart can be regulated through this technology.
Mobile computing has reached a point that the cell phone you carry in your pocket now has more speed, power and connectivity than NASA had when it put
men into orbit and on the Moon.
With the pieces of tech running around in your house, job, pocket and what the military and gov't are using, it is not hard to see that it will
(hopefully) not be more than a decade before we are stepping out of reality and into VR.