Thanks to the creation and popularization of headsets and technology such as the HTC Vive, Cardboard, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, virtual reality (or VR) is finding its way into households across the globe. What once was seen as exaggerated gadgets of the far-off future can now be used in the middle of someone’s living room for gaming or other forms of entertainment. It’s exciting to think that this is only the beginning when it comes to where and how VR can be used to improve the human experience. While it may seem to be a technological gimmick all for fun and games, there is so much more that’s open to development in other fields or that’s already being used to progress the ways people handle specific situations and problems.
As mentioned before, gaming is a major area for virtual reality to explore at this point in time. Not only does it offer new forms of gameplay and experiences, developing video games for VR is a perfect field test for new technologies or advancements, allowing many different people around the world to try them out.
Furthermore, there are more ways VR can be used for entertainment beyond video games. Watching movies in a truly 3D world that you can experience could change the way we watch films forever. VR can also put viewers into the middle of the action for events such as sports games, concerts, and other live performances.
Already, VR offers ways to connect with people, no matter where they are. People around the world are able to spend time together. Perhaps two strangers who speak different languages meet in a virtual room to play a game. They can work together to find ways to communicate, breaking language barriers and learning more about each other.
Two long-distance friends can also meet in the same room, no matter the separation in the real world. They can communicate, catch up and even watch a movie or other videos together. In the future, there could be many other ways to connect with friends, such as attending shows together or doing a variety of virtual tasks in the same room.
One way that people can learn more with VR currently is by exploring virtual museums, filled with information and visuals to interact with. In the future, all museums could have a virtual version for people who are unable to travel to them. People are also able to explore the sea or deep space. Those who are disabled or housebound are able to experience the world in ways they couldn’t otherwise.
Training for specific professions could also be improved with VR. Surgeons could practice on interactive, virtual bodies, rather than cadavers or models, which then could be set to have specific injuries or ailments. Pilots could train in a safe virtual setting, putting them in the cockpit and allowing them to fly through emergency situations that would require quick thinking. VR could be used to train soldiers, police officers, and other people who may be put in dangerous situations, allowing them to train without risk while virtually using guns, defusing bombs, etc.
Touring and Design
Many construction workers and interior designers currently use programs that can put together their ideas in a visual, 3D space. However, they are still just small models that are being looked into from a limited screen. VR could recreate these buildings and rooms in a space that could actually be walked through by the designers, allowing them to see what it could look like when finished and make changes while within the rooms themselves.
This type of design could also be used when touring houses and apartments. Interested parties could explore these areas without having to leave their house. If someone is going to be visiting a large, complicated place, such as a campus or venue, they could explore in VR to have a better understanding of how to find their way around when they get there, easing their worries about getting lost.
Virtual reality really is making a change in the world even at this very moment. Technology is progressing, becoming more advanced and finding new ways to improve and benefit everyone. From gaming to training, VR is and will be able to make things better, safer and more inclusive. In reality, the only limitation is the human imagination.