4 Key Virtual Reality Applications
Virtual reality technology is growing at a rapid pace, making it more accessible than ever before. Because of this, virtual reality has become a beneficial application for a wide range of fields. VR technology works by immersing users in virtual environments, ranging from fictional and fantastical settings to real-world locales built up using digital photos and satellite imagery.
Some of the latest applications of VR technology include:
When people think of virtual reality, video games are often the first thing that comes to mind. While virtual reality is certainly opening up more possibilities for the gaming industry, it is also utilized for an increasing number of other media platforms.
Virtual reality brings the theater experience into the average person’s living room. With virtual reality helmets, VR technology allows viewers to see a movie as if it were on the widescreen of a theater. Virtual reality also allows for surround sound and special effects that would otherwise not be possible when viewed on a normal screen. Companies like Next VR are also using this technology to bring the experience of attending a sports arena or concert stadium to home viewers.
Theme parks are also experimenting with virtual reality technology. One such theme park is “The Void,” which recently opened to visitors. The Void seeks to change how theme parks operate by letting visitors experience virtual attractions that cannot be built in the physical world. The Void uses sensors and motion capture technology to create a type of first-person video game that visitors can experience in an actual physical space.
Virtual reality programs offer viewers the chance to travel the world without ever having to set foot in an airport. With virtual reality, viewers can tour a digital recreation of just about any physical location—like a far-off city, for instance—and they can “explore” these locales as if they were onsite. These VR tours can also be modified to present important information about each specific locale. Virtual museums, for example, have been developed to walk VR users through replicas of real-life museums. Virtual museums can also be designed with tour guides and other interactive features. Virtual museums can be highly beneficial for students, since it gives them access to educational tours of historical collections or sites. Students can also use VR to visit natural wonders, animal habitats, and take other virtual field trips in educational settings.
VR technology can also create “virtual” classrooms, so that students can have access to lessons taught by instructors in distant locations, as well as interact with other students.
Toyota is using VR headsets developed by Oculus for a new program called TeenDrive365, which provides driving lessons to teenagers and allows them to gain driving experience in a safe environment. TeenDrive365 incorporates virtual passengers, text messages, and other details to teach about the dangers of distracted driving.
Virtual reality has found several useful applications in the healthcare industry. VR technology can be used for creating virtual models of the human body for the purpose of diagnosing and treating patients. For example, these 3D models can be used to recreate the brain of a cancer patient, which can then be examined by doctors to find tumors and plan out complex surgeries before the actual procedures.
VR technology is also used for teaching medical students how to perform dangerous types of surgeries on virtual patients. The Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University, for example, has been using a new type of simulation technology called the NeuroTouch Cranium. Recognized as one of the most technically advanced medical programs, the NeuroTouch Cranium allows medical students to practice virtual surgery without the risks of harming an actual patient.
The VR technology used in the gaming industry has been adapted by the military for training purposes. First-person virtual reality games are used to recreate the actual environments and types of combat experienced by military soldiers. The virtual reality training simulators have also been designed with multiplayer functions, so solders can learn how to work with other members of their unit.
Unlike commercial video games, virtual reality programs designed for combat training can integrate real military weapons and other types of tactical equipment. Soldiers who have been trained with VR technology show more preparedness when entering training programs in real-life environments.
Developments in Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is rapidly growing as a viable form of technology with numerous applications. VR technology focusing on education, entertainment, health, and military programs are in constant development as companies discover more ways of integrating virtual reality into our daily lives.