Advancement in technology has made virtual reality a possibility. Today, we see virtual reality in many sectors starting from online gaming to military simulations. Here is a list of a few other areas where virtual reality has been a boon:
- Employee training
Many high-end hospitals are training medical students to perform complicated surgeries using virtual reality technology. Situations are engineered to replicate patient complications, allowing students to experience what happens on the surgical floor.
Walmart is also known for using virtual reality technology to replicate the holiday season rush to train employees to handle large crowds.
- Treatment of paraplegics
Duke University’s 8-month study on the benefits of VR on paraplegics derived fruitful results. The patients were asked to wear an Oculus Rift, an EEG cap, and a tactile feedback device and were asked to move their virtual avatar (a soccer player) across a soccer field.
The objective was to help stimulate neurological function of the brain cells responsible for controlling the movement of the limbs. Over a span of 8 months, almost all the patients regained partial neurological function in their lower limbs.
- Fine arts
Jeffrey Shaw’s ‘Golden Calf’, Jacquelyn Ford Morie’s ‘Virtopia’, and Maurice Benayoun's ‘Is the Devil Curved?’ are some excellent examples of virtual reality in fine arts. Artists around the world are incorporating virtual reality technology to add deeper layers to their art. They are posing philosophical and metaphorical questions by using a virtual reality medium.
Today, museums like the Guggenheim and the British Museum are using virtual reality to conduct art tours that take visitors to the era of the artists who made the art.
- Occupational health and ergonomics
Virtual reality is being used to create 3D dynamic work environments to identify problems in the existing ergonomic set-up in offices. Everything from charting workspace usage to understanding the functionality of dangerous machinery, virtual reality is being used to make office spaces and factory floors safer for employees.
Product design, development, and manufacture are also being analyzed by the development of working virtual 3D models.
- Training children with autism and treating PTSD patients
Children with autism find it difficult to function in social settings. Virtual reality technology is being used to help autistic children engage in virtual social situations, such as a college application interview, where they need to confront situations that they find difficult to engage in reality. The child’s brain waves are analyzed and a personalized treatment regime is prescribed.
Sufferers of PTSD too find comfort through virtual reality. Technology is used to recreate traumatic incidents to help PTSD patients (including the US soldiers) confront their horrors and seek control and closure. In the case of the US soldiers suffering from PTSD, a vitual war zone is created to treat them.
- Marketing and business operations
Amnesty International, Coca-Cola, World Wildlife Fund, and Disney are some non-profit organizations and multi-million dollar companies that have incorporated virtual reality in their marketing and business operations.
From CGI views of exotic and endangered animals to realistic views of the post-bombing carnage in Syria, virtual reality is being used to inform global citizens of the realities of people and animals from around the world.
Companies are even using virtual reality in product launches by creating interactive games that users can play to experience the product.
- Model homes and buildings
Virtual reality is being used to develop ergonomically-designed houses and buildings. 3D models of homes are created and pieces are removed, revamped, and re-attached.
This technology is also being used to test the strength and durability of bridges, dams, and roads under various simulated conditions before construction.
- Safety testing of vehicles
One of the best uses of virtual reality technology is the safety testing and simulation conducted on vehicles. From cars to fighter jets, every vehicle is subjected to tests under varying conditions using virtual reality simulations.
Potential defects in product manufacturing are also identified and corrected before the actual production can begin.