Much has been discussed about recent innovations of the VR (virtual reality) industry. Both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have made a significant mark, capturing a lot of attention in different spheres, maybe even more than they deserve. Because VR is still in its infancy stage, at present, it is only targeted at gamers, and more specifically at a small subset consisting of PC (personal computing) gamers. This has led to a lot of people in the tech world questioning the legitimacy of its popularity as well as the exhaustive coverage it has received in the media. However, VR isn’t just about gaming; its applications are endless and every day we’re witnessing radical innovations that have untold potential. This article takes a look at the applications of VR that have the ability to change our lives.
VR can be applied to forms of entertainment besides video gaming. For instance, movies have become very immersive following the increasingly widespread nature of 3D technology, with every major movie studio churning out 3D films. VR is capable of taking immersion to the next level.
There is already video content available that makes the viewer feel as if they are inside the movie, right amidst the action and imagery. With the recent introduction of the Dolby Atmos Sound system, the immersion is no longer just visual. Furthermore, special cameras are being used to record concerts, plays, and sports, offering the feeling of a real life experience in the comfort of your home.
The health care industry is touted as one of the probable early adopters of virtual-reality technology. Some medical institutions are already using computer-generated images for diagnosis and treatment.
VR is used in combination with data from CAT scans and ultrasound scans to create 3D models of a patient’s anatomy. This helps doctors calculate and visualize the safest way to conduct a surgical procedure. It also enables the conducting of mock operations on a virtual body for training purposes.
Well-made documentaries are one of the best sources of information available to us. They give us access to knowledge across oceans, beneath them and way above them. Imagine being able to take a highly immersive trip of the Louvre Museum in Paris, or absorbing the magnificence of the Pyramids of Giza up-close, or walking down the streets of pre-WW2 Europe.
There are already universities and museums working on such content that will be freely accessible to everyone. At present, the most popular VR tour is of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. With the right VR setup, it can be easily accessed from anywhere in the world.
The human race has become very successful at sending objects into space. While mechanical and electronic objects work flawlessly when launched, human beings have trouble spending extended periods of time in space. Unfortunately, space agencies still require human input with some of these machines that are sent into space. Having the ability to do this remotely will make space exploration significantly easier. NASA has already experimented successfully with consumer-grade VR setups to control a robotic arm.
With further research and development, we’re looking at the possibility of space grade VR equipment that can be used to control instrumentation, rovers and other mobile equipment from millions of kilometers away. This will even make the exploration of Mars easier, with astronauts not having to set foot on the planet.
It is quite evident, especially through law enforcement television shows, that detectives have to constantly travel from one place to another to view and review evidence. Often, the climax of a show is associated with the missing of a vital clue and the detective having to revisit the crime scene before the evidence is tampered with.
VR will give investigators easy access to evidence and crime scenes while also making it easier for the courts and judges to review evidence remotely. It isn’t just an idea; researchers at the University of Zurich are already working on projects that will help calculate and simulate the events of a crime, offering an immersive and interactive virtual environment that allows for the studying and reviewing of cases.
VR is boundless. It has the potential to have a positive impact on almost any aspect of life. This article has only scratched the surface of its practical applications and what can be accomplished with the technology. As the technology evolves, so will its applications.