Virtual reality (VR) has dominated tech headlines in recent years with its ability to immerse its users in a virtual, yet safe, world. Gaming is one of the more well-known uses for VR but its potential doesn’t stop there. Here are some ways VR technology can be applied in other fields:
The military in the UK and the US have both adopted the use of virtual reality in their training as it allows them to undertake a huge range of simulations. This is used in all branches of service.
VR can put a trainee in a number of different situations, places and environments so the military are using it for flight simulations, battlefield simulations, medic training, vehicle simulation and virtual boot camp, among other things. A key benefit for the use of VR in the military is the reduction in costs for training. In addition to this, it can safely replicate dangerous training situations.
VR is revolutionising the sports industry for both players and viewers. It’s used as a training aid in many sports and to help measure athletic performance and analyse technique.
VR has also been used to enhance the viewer’s experience of a sporting event. Broadcasters are now streaming live games in virtual reality and preparing to one day sell “virtual tickets” to live games.
3. Mental Health
VR has become a primary method for treating post-traumatic stress. Using VR exposure therapy, a person enters a re-enactment of a traumatic event.
It has also been used to treat anxiety, phobias and depression. Virtual reality technology can provide a safe environment for patients to come into contact with things they fear, whilst remaining in a controlled and safe environment.
4. Medical Training
Medical and dental students use VR to practice surgeries and procedures, allowing for a consequence free learning environment. Virtual patients are used to allow students to develop skills which can later be applied in the real world.
Virtual reality has been adopted in education for teaching and learning situations. Students are able to interact with each other and within a three dimensional environment. Students can also be taken on virtual field trips, for example, to museums, taking tours of the solar system and going back in time to different eras.
Students with special needs, such as autism, are also using VR technology. Research has found that VR can be a motivating platform to safely practice social skills for children. A company called Floreo has developed virtual reality scenarios that allow children to learn and practice skills such as pointing, making eye contact and building social connections. Parents can also follow along and interact by using a linked tablet.
Here at FDM we’ve also been embracing VR. Last year we gave our Summer Intern team an exciting digital project to work on: creating a 360° virtual reality video that could be used at University recruitment fairs. The virtual reality headset enables students to immerse themselves in the FDM office and experience the organisation in the digital world. Click here to view the video they produced.
VR is still in its early stages, it will be interesting to see how it evolves in the years to come as the technology is becoming cheaper and more widespread.