Virtual Reality Technologies and Applications

Virtual reality technology allows one to experience an alternate reality. There are several price points, from the cheap cardboard version that fits over a smartphone to much more expensive options. One places the VR headset around their head and eyes and images are projected from two small lenses. The person in the VR headset can experience a multitude of virtual worlds from a relaxing beach to a bustling city. People can immerse themselves into their favorite game or movie. There are seeming unlimited uses for VR technology, some of the most promising are in military and health care industries. In this article, some VR applications for personal and business purposes will be discussed. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Personal Uses for Virtual Reality

  • Gaming – So far gaming remains the major use of VR technology. VR gives the game designers the ability to take the games further and give the gamers the experience of being a part of the virtual game world. VR also allows the gamers to interact with the virtual world more naturally without having to master control of a joystick.
  • Watching Videos and Concerts – VR can allow movie watchers to become immersed into the movie or to feel as if one is a part of the audience at a concert. Cameras specially designed to capture VR images are becoming more and more common, and tools to upload them and live stream are becoming more numerous.
  • Meditation – With VR one can immerse themselves into a relaxing environment such as a lush green forest or a peaceful beach at the end of a stressful day, all from their living rooms. Whether on is simply looking for an escape or to practice formal meditation, VR can help provide the perfect environment.

Virtual Reality in Business

  • Training Employees – More and more businesses are using VR to assist with employee training. For example, Walmart is using VR to give employees the virtual experience of a Christmas rush or cleaning up a mess in an aisle. Employees who learn using VR retain more of the knowledge presented when compared to those using video training only. Another company that is turning to VR for training is Honeygrow, which is a Philadelphia based Asian food chain. The employees at Honeygrow are learning their jobs through the virtual world without having to learn on the job, reducing the number of costly mistakes commonly made during the training process.
  • Real Estate Sales or Rental – One promising field that can benefit from VR technology is the real estate industry. This technology allows potential buyers to visit and walk through the house they are thinking of purchasing before they make the trip in person. So instead of wasting time looking at properties, they can visit only those which they are truly interested in purchasing, saving time for both the buyer and seller.
  • Health Care – VR technology is proving very useful to the health care industry in some interesting ways. Surgeons can stream operations to any location, allowing students to stand over the doctor's shoulder virtually. VR is also being used in hospitals and in dentist's offices to reduce patient stress and pain. A small study conducted at Georgia Tech has indicated that VR exposure therapy may also be helpful to soldiers suffering PTSD. Another medical use for VR is in the treatment of patients with Autism. Children and young adults with autism are learning social skills with the help of VR. Immersion therapy where they can learn in a safe environment.

VR is one of the most exciting and potentially beneficial new technologies on the market. The applications of VR seem endless, and it will change the way we play, teach, do business, and so many other things in the years to come.