Virtual reality has been around for decades, but it has only recently started to gain widespread attention and adoption. Although trivial at the moment it will likely change society as we know it.
Imagine being able to visit far-off lands, experience impossible situations, and even time travel, all from the comfort of your own home.
This may sound like science fiction, but this reality is coming ever closer. So join me as we uncover the future of VR.
What is virtual reality?
First off, if you didn’t know, virtual reality (VR) is a technology that allows users to interact with and experience a computer-generated environment as if it were a real-world environment.
It is often achieved by wearing a headset that displays 3D images and tracks the user’s head movements, allowing them to look around and feel like they are truly “inside” the virtual world.
VR & education
Although VR is currently in its infancy with high costs and poorly developed applications the future potential uses for VR are nearly limitless. For one it will change education completely.
Shifting the space from a monotonous passive learning experience to something increasingly more active and engaging. In the future students will be able to live in these virtual spaces and become entirely immersed.
Imagine visiting the Roman colosseum in a 3D world instead of just reading it in a textbook. I certainly think this will make students pay attention.
It also reinforces learning through practical exercises. This will benefit more psychical subjects such as medicine, science, or woodworking.
For instance, students could perform science experiments in the comfort of their own homes, learning as they do without the need for a whole lab configured or being exposed to the risk that these experiments often have.
Not to mention, as it’s all virtual it can cut the cost of field trips while also allowing distance learning. Students from around the world can interact with teachers and the resources they provide.
All a student needs is a headset, computer, and internet connection. If a student misses a class they can load their VR software and go straight back into it, or even revisit the class to relearn anything they overlooked.
As it’s a digital experience it can be recorded as a permanent record.
VR & healthcare
VR will also change healthcare. It can be used to calm patients undergoing operations by allowing them to view calming landscapes.
Along the same lines, it can even facilitate exposure therapy for patients with phobias or other psychological conditions. By consistently exposing a patient to their phobias in a virtual world they will likely become less triggered as they confront them and become more used to it.
For teaching exercises, VR can provide a point-of-view shot of surgeries allowing students a more up-close experience. The opportunities in the medical field are endless.
VR & e-commerce
VR will also have a major impact in the realm of e-commerce. Imagine being able to “try on” clothes or test out furniture in a virtual showroom before making a purchase.
Or what about being able to virtually explore a property before deciding to buy it? VR can make all of this possible, potentially revolutionizing the way we shop and make purchasing decisions.
VR & entertainment
Lastly, let’s talk about the most interesting and fun sector VR will change, that’s right, entertainment. For one it is changing sports and music events as we speak.
You can attend your favourite concert or sporting event from the comfort of your own home, with a VR headset providing a front-row seat while chugging virtual beers with your pals. Pretty good if you ask me.
Currently, Fox Sports and other TV channels allow people to view VR sports events such as football, NASCAR, and Basketball. Now when it comes to gaming this is where things have really taken off.
Starting from a niche technology with rollercoaster and flying simulators in the early 2010s to fully-fledged 3D worlds with the likes of Half-Life Alyx, we have come a long way and it will only get better.
In the future, hardware costs will continue to decrease dramatically and I believe the majority of games will be virtual reality. Ultimately, ready player one will become a reality.
Gaming won’t be confined to a controller and a TV it will become a full 4D experience incorporating every human sense. You will be able to see the intricate details of the gun you’re holding, feel the recoil, and smell the gunpowder.
The lines between reality and gaming will become blurred.
If you want to view this article in a more visual format then please check out my video below:
As you can see, VR is going to change the world as we know it. From education to gaming, it will inevitably influence every sector of our society. Providing unmatched immersive experiences that enhance our learning and entertainment.
While there are still challenges to overcome, such as the high cost of VR hardware and the limited number of VR experiences available, these issues will likely be addressed as the technology continues to develop.
Want to learn about some of the ethical concerns of AI? Click here to read my previous article.