Some Interesting Uses for Virtual Reality
Even though virtual reality has been talked about for a long time, the practical applications have until recently remained elusive. But with a recent explosion in popular tech and more affordable gear, virtual reality, in the last year or so, seems to be making a push into the public eye.
This article aims to cover the wide range of practical uses for virtual reality that have been implemented and improved upon in recent years.
Exposure therapy has been used for years by therapists to treat anxiety problems. Psychologists have been known to treat phobias and PTSD by showing the patient the source of their anxiety or fear, with a view to making the anxiety to disappear on its own. That therapy, however, doesn’t work in war, but with virtual reality, military psychologists can simulate or even duplicate war scenarios to treat soldiers. Other therapeutic VR uses include, but are not limited to treating a fear of flying, fear of elevators and even a “virtual nicotine craving” simulator for smoking addiction.
Employers are using virtual reality to conduct training for their employees or simulate certain work conditions. The earliest examples of this were flight simulators, but virtual reality has gone beyond flight simulators. Police and military use virtual reality to prepare soldiers or officers for operations. Sales managers are using it too to train their staff on customer interaction. Other examples include counter-terrorism training, para-trooping, under-sea welding and mining.
The existence of separate virtual worlds, inhabited by avatars representing real world users, has become popular. These worlds are sometimes referred to as multiplayer online games, with the World of Warcraft being the largest virtual gaming world in use now with 11.5 million subscribers. The world of Second Life isn’t exactly classified as a game due to the fact that you have to interact with people like in the real world.
Take Charge of Your Television
The most successful relative of virtual reality from the previous generation on the market today is the Nintendo Wii which developed virtual reality components of the past to make its interaction concepts function. The controller works in much the same way that a virtual reality glove does. Both the Wiimote and the Wii Fit offer users a different way of interacting with their virtual environment without having to wear any bulky equipment on their heads.
Doctors can utilize virtual reality in many different ways. They can use a virtual system to perform procedures or to test surgical procedures on a realistic scale, and better yet, with realistic feedback. Surgeons have also started using virtual “twins” of their patients to practice for a surgical procedure before doing the actual procedure.
Controlling the Fun
The Xbox has launched a new piece of virtual reality technology. Project Natal gives users a brand new experience when interacting with games and computer systems. The system doesn’t need a keyboard or controller, rather, it requires a user’s voice and motions to serve as method for interacting with the system. The technology is yet to be completed and released. However, when it does get released, virtual reality will take another giant step toward total immersion and mainstream home usage.
Researchers have found ways to allow virtual reality systems to use multiple walls and more than one projector to immerse users in a complete world thus becoming a cave. When it was first built in 1992, it was a method of showing off scientific visualizations, but now, many universities have their own CAVE systems. The CAVE can be used for visualizing data, for demonstrating 3-D environments and for visually testing component parts of newly-developed engineering projects.
Get More Connected
Google, according to the Wall Street Journal, is developing a standalone, self-contained virtual reality headset which won’t need a computer or smartphone to run. The technology, if implemented, would take the middle ground between devices like Samsung’s Gear VR, which needs a smartphone for the display and processing power, and Facebook’s Oculus Rift, which must be connected to a high-end computer for it to work.