The term Virtual Reality or VR is no longer kept for the world of Dr Who and science fiction. VR is quickly becoming a technology that will be common place in all of our lives sooner rather than later. Here are our top 5 ways that VR is going to revolutionise the world.
Possibly one of the most exciting areas of VR development in recent years would have to be healthcare. Surgeons and doctors are now able to virtually perform complex surgeries on artificial, virtual patients using this technology. The benefits of the technology are easy to see, developments in VR have meant so many more potential surgeons get access to realistic training opportunities using VR.
“According to the Lancet commission on global surgery, the surgical workforce would have to double to meet the needs of basic surgical care for the developing world by 2030. Dr. Ahmed imagines being able to train thousands of surgeons simultaneously in virtual reality.”
Everyone has seen people with huge goggles on flailing their arms around killing virtual zombies, the gaming industry may be able to create a whole new industry of active gaming. For years gaming has been getting bad press for making our children (and adults) fatter and fatter. Now is a perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between gaming and physical activity.
We will now be able to feel textures and experience virtual touch through the development of haptic technology.
“the use of technology that stimulates the senses of touch and motion, especially to reproduce in remote operation or computer simulation the sensations that would be felt by a user interacting directly with physical objects.”
One of the most criticised elements of gaming has often been the sedantry lifestyle that follows it, well that is no more with the inclusion of omnidirectional treadmills into your VR hardware. No more slouching about on the couch, you truly are immersed in a gaming experience chasing after villains and running away from zombies using this cutting edge tech. What a great way to get your daily step count up! Oh and don’t worry they’re not like the treadmills you see in the gym!
Get to visit iconic places around the globe all within seconds with the power of Virtual Reality. Travel to the Grand Canyon, the Pyramids of Giza then off to the Eiffel Tower, all on the same day. As well as being able to experience wonders of the world you may never have be able to travel to, it also opens up these travel hotspots accessible to disabled visitors who may not ever be able to visit in person due to their inaccessible nature.
However I do think we can all learn from wildly popular Incan settlement of Machu Picchu which has now claimed is fully accessible for wheelchair users. If they can achieve that surely we can make all railway stations accessible?
In the same way Virtual Reality is making bucket list destinations and tourist attractions more accessible to everyone, iRoam aims to make everyday life more accessible with their interactive virtual video tours. Access Social the developers behind iRoam, saw a gap in the accessibility market for a visual solution for access information.
The traditional access text document wasn’t something that got them going, so began the journey to develop a system to allow visitors to explore a venue before choosing to visit in person. Initially created to support autistic visitors to prepare for sensory issues they may encounter at new venues. It soon became apparent that this technology could benefit a wide range of visitors. Considering their roots based in catering for autistic visitors one of the early hardware decisions was for the software to not require the use of VR goggles, to avoid any sensory overload for people using it.
The impact Virtual Reality could have on education is huge. The ability to take the class around the world from one room would be so beneficial for the students understanding of any particular subject area, whether it be geography, history or science.
However one issue which will always prevent the uptake of any technology by education is the cost. With some headsets coming in around £400-£600 per unit, if you’re looking at engaging an average class of 25-30 students this quickly becomes a very expensive teaching tool. None the less it would be incredible for this technology to be adopted into lesson plans in every school.
5. Health and well-being
One of the latest developments in Virtual Reality is the use of the technology to support and treat patients with mental health issues. Technology such as the dream machine, claim to be able to treat patients by transporting them to tranquil settings with the flick of a switch. Now that the NHS is beginning to recognise the power of social prescribing, the move away from traditional pharmaceutical solutions for mental health issues continues. The impact of the technology will become clear as the adoption of the technology and the research that follows continues. Any treatment that enables patients to prevent prescribing of unnecessary drugs or admissions to hospital.