Many people are familiar with the term “virtual reality” but the only thing that comes in their mind when they hear this term is either the Oculus Rift or virtual reality gaming. Virtual Reality is not just being used in entertainment or video games, it is being used in a lot of different industries. Since its launch as a Kickstarter program, the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset has gotten mature and is being used in a lot of places like healthcare, education, tourism, military and law enforcement to name a few. Virtual reality technology can become a big solution for many real world problems and has a potential to change the way we see a lot of things. This article lists some of the real world applications of virtual reality which have been implemented in previous few years.
So Here are the Real World Applications of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality in Healthcare
Virtual Reality technology has a big place in healthcare and medicine. The health care industry has been developing virtual reality applications to be used in both the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Companies like Surgical Theater and Conquer Mobile have developed simulations which use a patient’s diagnostic images from CAT scans or ultrasounds to construct 3D models of their anatomy. Doctors and surgeons, both new and experienced can examine these models in virtual reality to plan surgeries and practice difficult procedures.
Virtual reality can be cost effective technology for the rehabilitation of stroke patients to regain the use of any affected limbs. Stroke patients in Europe are using MindMazeto virtual reality therapy which helps regain motor and cognitive function in affected limbs faster than a traditional physiotherapy. The virtual reality exercises motivate patients to practice activities everyday through games with real-time feedback.
Virtual Reality in Education
For students, virtual reality can be used for virtual field trips, educational games or teaching children with special needs. The students in an Irish town of Broughal created a virtual model on “Clonmacnoise”, which is a nearby site with historic ruins. This virtual model can be explored through an Oculus Rift.
Toyota is using Oculus Rift headsets for its TeenDrive365 campaign to educate teenagers and parents about distracted driving. Toyota says that this campaign can make cognitive learning faster for teenagers who are learning to drive. The Oculus headsets put a student in field trips and simulations of complicated driving situations.
Children these days are grown up and born into a technological advanced environment and unlike most grownups, they don’t show hesitation in using things like an Oculus Rift. So it makes sense to implement virtual reality in the education sector.
Virtual Reality in Tourism
Virtual reality can easily transport a person wearing a VR headset to the Rohtas Fort in Pakistan, the Acropolis in Athens or even the Roman Forum in Rome in a blink of an eye. A number of museums around the world have created virtual spaces where people can view the museum’s physical collection.
Destination British Columbia has launched a virtual reality app called “The Wild Within” for Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard in which a user can virtually experience British Columbia through a boat ride or a mountain hike. This app engages a traveller emotionally about why they should visit, says the marketing manager of Destination British Columbia.
Virtual Reality in Sports
Virtual reality applications developed for football and golf players can show them previous plays in a first-person perspective so that these players can practice these situations and improve their performance. StriVR Labs has developed such a virtual reality application to put players in a feeling that they are really in a match. Stanford University football quarterback has stated that this VR practice is invaluable.
Virtual Reality in Space
Scientists and astronauts at NASA have been using virtual reality for the training of difficult missions. Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory connected the Oculus Rift with a Kinect 2 and an Xbox One game console to control a robot arm with the user’s gestures. This could be used to control robots in space programs, for example, the rovers in Mars.
At CES, NASA was able to share what it’s like on a space station to visitors through virtual reality headsets.
These were some of the real world applications of virtual reality. Every day, researchers and scientists are coming up with new problems and new ways to solve these problems with virtual reality and only time can tell where this technology can lead us to. Currently, the Oculus Rift is probably the most advanced and user friendly headset to use and view virtual reality applications and it is getting better with time.