It’s mostly due to humanity’s uncanny obsession with technological innovation – from the invention of the wheel to the birth of the automobile or to the dawn of modern ways of communication such as television or the radio. Over the past decade, the pace of progress has quickened far faster than any of us could have predicted. Nearly every part of our business and daily lives have been improved through innovation and advances in technology. Today we live in an era where we have real-time, on-demand access to all the information the internet holds and to any products or services that we require. No matter where in the world we might be, our smartphones can easily grant us access to basically anything we need.
As we look back to the decades that have passed, it’s hard to imagine how others lived that came before us. It’s even harder to imagine the difficulties that they’ve faced during traveling – when we now have interactive maps in the palm of our hands, self-driving cars and global positioning satellites orbiting the earth, knowing our exact location. It’s clear that in the last 100 years, mankind has made more technological progress than it has in its entire history. So what’s next? What do the next 100 years hold for us? What about the next 10 years? – While some technologies are changing the way we live and work, others are revolutionizing our lives.
One of these promising technologies is VR – this technology will significantly alter the landscape of every industry – from the military to healthcare, entertainment, gaming, education, fashion and many more.
So what is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality is an immersive experience that will eventually include all sensory inputs. Virtual reality is so realistic that it can even trick the mind into thinking what it’s experiencing is real. The applications for immersive environments are endless, it can allow us to engage in dry runs in instances that might risk bodily or physical harm in some manner or the other. Let’s have a look at a couple of cases where Virtual reality is already making an impact:
The military in the UK and US have both adopted the use of virtual reality in their training as it allows them to undertake a huge range of simulations, which can be used in all branches of service. Virtual reality can put a soldier in training into a number of different situations , without the cadet having to leave the room. The military is using this technology in various simulations, such as flight simulators, battlefield simulators, medic training, vehicle simulation and virtual boot camps. One of the key benefits of using VR is the reduction of costs when it comes to training the cadets and the additional safety – trainees can learn how to fly aircraft, helicopter without actually having to get in one- this allows them to be put into dangerous training situations without any risks.
In some universities, medical students are using VR to practice surgeries and procedures, allowing them to practice in a consequence-free environment. Virtual patients are used allowing students to develop skills that can be later applied in the real world. In some cases, they are using virtual reality to conduct virtual surgeries where the surgeon can be thousands of miles away guiding real-world tools through the use of haptic feedback and other sensory inputs.
The sports industry is beginning to adopt VR for both players and viewers. Virtual reality is used as a training aid in many sports to help measure athletic performance and analyze techniques.
Virtual reality can be also used to enhance the viewer’s experience of a sporting event. Broadcasters can now stream games in virtual reality and the next step would be to one day sell “virtual tickets” to live games. This can allow viewers to fully experience a sporting event without having to leave the comfort of their home.
Virtual reality is now being adopted as an educational tool. It allows students to take virtual field trips for example to museums, they can take a tour of the solar system and they can easily go back in time to different eras – al through the magic of virtual reality. Students can interact with each other and the simulated three-dimensional environment – offering them a very immersive experience.
The future of virtual reality looks bright, there are over 36 million VR-ready PS4 consoles and all of the newer graphics cards are engineered to support VR links. This technology is becoming more and more accessible to the masses and it is being adopted by new users each day. Maybe one day we will go to work in a virtual environment completing virtual tasks, all from the comfort of our homes.