Virtual reality (VR) technology is becoming more and more popular but it’s mostly known about as being a gaming experience. The Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset has come a long way since its Kickstarter campaign that was released in 2012. It was popular even from its first appearance and generated over a million dollars on Kickstarter within 3 days. When it first came out, YouTube gamer star PewDiePie filmed himself gaming with the VR and generated millions of views creating buzz within the gaming community.
But what else can virtual reality be used for, other than gaming?
It can teach medical students how to conduct surgery by watching surgery take place up close through their headset as though they were doing it. It can be tricky to watch surgery over someone’s shoulder during the procedure but being able to put on a virtual reality headset can give students the opportunity to see every detail ensuring they do not miss any steps.
MindMazeto use VR to help rehabilitate stroke and brain injury patients through virtual reality therapy by helping them to regain motor and cognitive functions faster than with traditional physical therapy. The virtual exercises feel like games which motivates patients to keep going with their therapy.
VR can train soldiers before they take to real world situations. Non-commercial games like Battlespace 2 are used to prepare soldiers for combat in team work situations and life like environments in a controlled safe situation. It introduces the dangers without causing physical harm.
Museums are already in talks with virtual reality designers about giving their visitors a virtual experience of their collections. It would be like seeing the museum’s fossils come to life as you’re transported back to the age of dinosaurs with the headset.
Science Museum in London has a VR experience in space with British astronaut Tim Peak as your guide. It includes a 360° tour inside a Soyuz capsule and visitors get the chance to be an astronaut as they descend from the ISS to Earth. This experience only costs £7.
Entire model line-ups can be displayed for customers and they can do this wherever they want as long as they have a headset. Additionally, people can try out new cars before buying them by using VR and can ask for changes or customisation. It could easily become a case of try out a new car from your sofa and get it delivered to your door tomorrow!
Audi created a device which allows customers to view and try a car before buying it. People can walk around the car and even sit in the driver and passenger seats.
VR can be used for watching films/TV. You would be surrounded by pictures and sounds that go beyond your field of vision. And Netflix’s virtual reality app does just that by allowing users to be immersed in their favourite films.
LiveLike VR have created a virtual stadium which means on game days people can watch it from their own sofa as if they were there!
Gone will be the days of rushing through crowded shops trying to find an item you like but giving up because you’re annoyed, warm and exhausted. Trillenium are a virtual reality app who have already caught the attention of ASOS who announced in a press release that they are a shareholder. Shoppers can have a real-time experience in the store, even with their friends while wearing their VR headsets.
Virtual reality could set up 3D crime scenes or events for jury members to analyse instead of 2D photos. Researchers at the University of Zurich found that the use of VR made it easier for people to understand case details, thus being able to decide if a suspect is guilty.
Putting on a VR headset can allow users to become immersed in a relaxing environment reducing stress from people’s days. A study found that those with PTSD from military trauma that used VR meditation treatment had a significant improvement in their symptoms after a six-session virtual reality treatment. See the Vimeo video below for an idea of what it is like, but keep in mind the VR headset would be worn so you are surrounded with relaxation.