VR, “virtual reality” in short, is often considered the next big advancement in the current tech. It’s a new type of technology that would allow us to enjoy the experiences of the real world in a completely virtual environment, created and managed by clever programming and special hardware. It’s been a while since the early adoption of this technology and the field is booming rapidly.
Thanks to the advancement of virtual reality and associated technologies, we now are capable of enjoying more immersive VR experience. The power of VR is also now put into active usage in a plethora of scenarios.
Why VR matters?
There are plenty of reasons why virtual reality is something to look for. You can enjoy a completely different environment right from where you are. VR eliminates the necessity of getting the surrounding ready for the actual task. For example, you could be surfing around the infinite space sitting right into your room!
That’s why virtual reality matters. It’s possible to use VR in lots of situations. For example, it’s possible to train people in different skill sets (driving, surgery, etc.), offer more entertaining contents, educating complex topics and entertaining, etc. without performing them in real life! This truly opens the virtually infinite possibility of the application of VR.
Since its debut, VR has come a really long way. However, there are some health concerns going around. VR holds the potential for becoming a dangerous thing for our overall health, especially the brain. Check out the impact of VR on the brain and health.
Real-life VR implementations
VR is already at play in the industry. Hundreds of sectors already take advantage of currently available VR gadgets. Of course, current VR gadgets can’t offer 100% virtualization. But they’re pretty interesting and making a huge impact on the market.
Let’s check out all the VR examples that we currently have.
Playing games in the virtual environment are truly one of the most exciting ways one can enjoy VR. In fact, gaming VR is one of the leading forces that’s pushing the development of VR. It’s also a big test ground for research.
For the past years, VR in the gaming industry took a long ride. The VR for gaming is still growing at a tremendous rate. The beginning of VR was something fascinating and fantastic. However, the more realistic VR becomes, the more it is becoming the next “big thing”. It’s truer for the gaming industry.
There are already a good number of VR games for the gaming community. Of course, all of them requires special hardware to play. But is it worth the experience? According to many gamers, yes!
For example, Beat Saber is one of the most popular ones out there. In this game, the player has to cut down the incoming blocks with 2 virtual lightsabers. There are different color sabers and the game allows you to pick your own.
There are also other great VR games. For example, Seeking Dawn is one of my favorite ones for the awesome graphics and sci-fi shooting adventure.
How about Doom in VR? Welcome to the hell with Doom VFR!
Any Batman fan here? Batman Arkham VR is here!
The list can go on. In short, VR is a playground for all the top-notch and exciting games with a brand new way of enjoying the gameplay, the experience.
This is possibly the most important usage of VR. Instead of training in the real world, VR offers a new way of learning new stuff, experiencing the scenarios. With more efficiency, time saving and reduced cost for training, VR offers a whole new way of learning new skills.
Polishing one’s skill requires practicing the task again and again and again. The more one trains with a certain task, the more efficient and expert he/she becomes. However, in the real world, practicing a certain task comes at a cost. VR offers mitigation to that cost while letting the trainees experience the same process again and again and again.
VR is already extensively used for academic and military training for quite a long time. For example, military VR training includes flight simulation, vehicle simulation, virtual boot camp, medic training, and battlefield training, etc. In the medical field, VR is used for surgery training, visual anatomical tour and a lot more. For driving, nothing is probably more useful than VR. Instead of running cars out in the field and causing damages to properties, trainees can spend their time in the VR world, learn all the basics and advanced movement and then, train on the real world.
Why use VR for learning? I’m glad you asked.
The major benefit of using VR for training is the value it offers. VR offers more visual learning. Almost all the information passed through the VR headset is sent via visuals. We, humans, happen to be extremely fond of visual learning. Moreover, learning is more affordable. The real-world instruments and practices cost a lot. In contrast, the same VR training can be enjoyed again and again, without costing any additional price. VR also makes learning safer. There’s practically 0% chance of any physical damage happening to anybody.
VR is not only a tool for all the boring tasks in the world. How about boosting your creativity with it?
As devs and the hardware continues to progress forward, VR opens up more ways of enjoying the tech. The progress also pushes forward the ways it can be used. In the world of creativity, VR offers a game-changing way of how we perceive things.
Thanks to the power of VR, you can now expand your creativity into the virtual world! There are already some of the finest VR drawing tools out there. My personal favorite is Google’s Tilt Brush. This is where you turn your imagination into reality in the 3D virtual space! Yes, you don’t need the traditional pencil and paper with all the colors at your palette to create your favorite 3D art. Just like Google says, it’s a whole new perspective for painting!
VR is also changing the perspective of enjoying the music! Remember Beat Saber? It’s a nice blend of 3D “cutting and slicing” with all your favorite music. There are also some of the finest music videos out there that take the power of VR for transforming how the listeners should enjoy the music.
One of my most favorite VR music is Life Support by Taryn Southern. Not to mention that she’s one of the first adopters of VR.
It’s not as much popular as other VR implementations right now. However, VR is already on its way to transform the perspective of engineering!
Virtual reality can be used for designing complex machinery and tools. VR is the perfect playground with the initial concepts for building and implementing different mechanisms. The design can easily be assessed for faults, structural weakness, and other design issues.
The similar concept is already at use in Balfour Beatty Rail. This rail infrastructure contractor integrates the power of VR into the design process. It powers the planning, prototyping and constructing purposes while helping with the realization of the projects!
Another example is in the car design. The car itself is a complex design. There are lots of critical parts involved in the entire design of even the simplest cars. VR-assisted car design can improve the efficiency and productivity of the car design. JLR Virtual Reality Center in the UK takes advantage of VR and turns it into a piece of art! This service offers both semi-immersive and CAVE systems with projection and advanced tracking. Probably the biggest part is, this VR center is used for designing the next-gen Land Rovers!
This is, by far, one of the most potential implementations of VR. With the availability of VR, the field has already started adopting the new tech. The advantage of VR over the traditional method is, it allows interacting with each other in a 3D virtual environment while the educator presents complex data to all the participating students in both a fun and exciting way. Every single student in the virtual classroom can interact with the objects and discover more about them.
We already mentioned surgery simulation, right? Let’s check out this live example of VR in surgery training. It’s both a low-risk alternative while learning all the critical information about surgery.
Another potential usage of VR is in astronomy. Students can learn more about the solar system and its working method by engaging in a virtual representation. They’re also free to interact with the objects to learn more. This can successfully teach things like planets moving, comet progress tracking and visiting around stars and the most extreme environments of the cosmos. This visualization will show practical examples of how abstract concepts work in the real world.
The entertainment industry has always been one of the most enthusiastic advocates of VR. Entertainment includes gaming. However, this point is to discuss other parts of the entertainment industry.
VR is the most efficient way of engaging the audiences into the virtual world. There were already attempts to bringing VR into the entertainment industry. For example, did you watch any 3D movie at the theatre? Avatar or Gravity, anyone?
Ever heard of virtual museums? These are museums set into the virtual world that’s open to visiting anytime you want. This offers a new way of interacting with the history; the achievements of mankind in a brand new and exciting way. It seems like people are more apt to enjoy the information, better understand the significance when they’re able to interact with the related objects. Traditionally, you can’t touch or even take pictures of historical objects or monuments!
However, there’s no such rule with the virtual museums. You can interact with any of the objects on display, learn more about each object through detailed documentary and actually feel the significance the object bears. This kind of approach is more suitable for the tech-savvy generation, especially children. Children are, often times, harder to get attracted by a museum or a gallery as it’s boring for them. However, these virtual museums can be a pretty exciting way of bringing history to a new audience!
Challenges of VR implementation
Besides all these features, there are a lot of ways VR can be utilized. In fact, the possibility is infinite.
The main bottleneck of the current VR gadgets is the tech. To be honest, VR is relatively new and the userbase is still not big enough. Well, you can argue that it’s growing. Of course, it’s growing. But the tech requires a lot of hardware power to run. Moreover, the dev community is still picking up VR development. There need to be reliable SDKs for VR.
For all the advanced rendering, the hardware has to be powerful enough. If you’re willing to enjoy really good VR content, your system has to be attached to a powerful enough GPU and other associated hardware. Now, not all the users have that much money to put into powerful GPUs and everything else.
Moreover, the VR experience isn’t so realistic. At least, not yet. Almost all of it relies on the power of visuals. This can create a lot of confusion in the brain. For example, VR motion sickness is a real deal. This hampers the user experience and potentially, create a negative impression even on really good contents.
So, what needs to be done? Well, the tech needs to mature more. The good news is, with all the researches ongoing and top-tier hardware becoming more and more approachable, there are also some pretty insane VR content developments in the dev community. All it needs is just a little more time to mature. That’s all.
VR is, without a doubt, the next “big thing” of the tech. Just like smartphone became widespread pretty quickly, my assumption is, the same thing is about to happen to VR. Have you guys watched Ready Player One? Personally, I like the movie a lot. It shows the potential of VR from both the positive and negative perspective.
Just because VR holds so much power over the people, it also bears a great danger. If you overuse VR, there will surely be some unwanted, negative impacts on your mind, your body and your overall life. But does that mean we have to throw this awesome tech away? I think you have to figure it out by yourself.