Virtual reality has been promised for decades, but in many conversations with the top developers in the field, it quickly became clear that never before have so much money and talent bet on its imminent arrival. In virtual reality, you can be whomever and wherever you want. VR makes the unreal real, using computer software and hardware that responds to our body’s movements to immerse us in a convincing alternate existence. There’s plenty of space to roam. VR places can be huge. In Second Life, an early pioneer of virtual worlds, you can attend university, own a blimp, and have blue fur— whatever. It includes more than 600 square miles of otherworld existence.
But virtual reality has other applications in the real world, such as;
Virtual Reality in the Military
Virtual Reality has been adopted by the military – this includes all three services (army, navy and air force) – where it is used for training purposes. This is particularly useful for training soldiers for combat situations or other dangerous settings where they have to learn how to react in an appropriate manner.
Virtual Reality and Education
Education is another area which has adopted virtual reality for teaching and learning situations. The advantage of this is that it enables large groups of students to interact with each other as well as within a three dimensional environment.
It is able to present complex data in an accessible way to students which is both fun and easy to learn. Plus these students can interact with the objects in that environment in order to discover more about them.
Virtual Reality in Healthcare
Healthcare is one of the biggest adopters of virtual reality which encompasses surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training.
One of the advantages of this technology is that it allows healthcare professionals to learn new skills as well as refreshing existing ones in a safe environment. Plus it allows this without causing any danger to the patients.
Virtual Reality in Engineering
Virtual reality engineering includes the use of 3D modelling tools and visualisation techniques as part of the design process. This technology enables engineers to view their project in 3D and gain a greater understanding of how it works. Plus they can spot any flaws or potential risks before implementation.
This also allows the design team to observe their project within a safe environment and make changes as and where necessary. This saves both time and money.
What is important is the ability of virtual reality to depict fine grained details of an engineering product to maintain the illusion. This means high end graphics, video with a fast refresh rate and realistic sound and movement.
Virtual Reality in Film
Virtual reality is a very common theme in science fiction movies, where it is often used a way to turn the fantastical into something that seems totally real.
TRON, for instance, was one of the first movies to use virtual reality as a plot element. The main characters were taken from reality and transported into a virtual world inside a computer. This is not 100% like the virtual reality we know today but the concept of another reality inside of a computer reminds the same.
There are many more uses of VR than first realized which range from academic research through to engineering, design, business, the arts and entertainment.
But irrespective of the use, virtual reality produces a set of data which is then used to develop new models, training methods, communication and interaction. In many ways the possibilities are endless.