We can talk to our friends in virtual reality across the globe; we might be able to interact with them more physically in virtual reality.
Can you imagine holding hands while walking next to the ocean, and feeling that, with your partner who is travelling abroad?
Virtual living can change life around us. It already is.
Today we can travel to almost any location in the world, experiencing the sights and sounds in almost “near” reality.
What if tomorrow we can visit a museum, in real life, accompanied by an augmented reality tour guide, who knows when we look puzzled and realises they need to explain something again? Just like a real person would.
What Is Happening in Virtual Reality Today?
The list is enormous, and it keeps on growing every day. Virtual reality is beginning to permeate many aspects of our lives and here are some of the most affected areas:
- Pilots learn to fly in virtual reality flight simulators
- Surgeons learn new techniques, without endangering patients
- We can all travel the world, learning and exploring
- Game players have whole worlds to explore, conquer and puzzle in
- Psychological illnesses can be diagnosed, and sometimes treated
- Veterans can adjust to life away from war while working out their experiences in virtual reality
- Products and machines are designed and tested in virtual reality
How Virtual Reality Has Already Changed Our Lives
We looked briefly at how virtual reality is used in healthcare, from beginning to diagnose, and treat illnesses. To, training doctors, nurses, and caregivers in a safe but almost real environment.
Let’s look at some examples of virtual reality in healthcare, in action, changing people’s lives.
Simulated operations for better outcomes
Surgeons are interacting with “virtual” flesh and bone in a simulated theatre environment.
Dangerous work environments
We are better prepared for dangerous work environments through virtual reality training.
EON Reality has developed interactive environments and simulation-based training to engage learners, and provide a real-world training experience so that employees are better prepared for working on oil rigs. One of the most dangerous work environments in the world.
Better products, machines, vehicles and buildings through virtual design
Once the expensive virtual reality equipment and software are in place, producing virtual prototypes of machines or cars that can be analysed entirely. Before even going to a costly physical build, which is much more cost-effective. It also doesn’t waste valuable resources.
For architects, they can create a complete, gigantic structures, in virtual reality. Then explore every nook and cranny, getting a feel for views from windows, ceiling and counter heights, and how the layout of a building can work practically.
Ford Motor Company uses virtual reality in its Immersion Lab to get a sense of how customers experience their cars. They can simulate how manoeuvring around in your vehicle, in the dark, with a torch, can work when you have a breakdown or need to find something.
Virtual Reality In the Future
What will we be doing with virtual reality in the future? How can virtual living change the world around us? Because virtual life is already changing the world around us…
We have already spoken about a greater immersion for our senses augmented reality, and the whole body feeling experience. But, let’s look at a few more specific examples:
Watch a concert in full virtual reality
NextVR and music promoter Live Nation are planning to deliver hundreds of concerts in virtual reality. The first will be free, but front row seats at your favourite gig, in virtual reality, could be something you buy very soon.
NextVR worked with Coldplay to produce clips of their “A Sky Full Of Stars“ performance; the full version should be out soon.
Work from home, attending all the meetings and discussions you miss now
Working from home, without the need to commute through increasingly busy cities, is already a growing workplace trend. However, many organisations won’t offer home working as they rely on essential meetings, conferences, and training opportunities which they feel is better done “in person”.
Virtual reality can now provide this. You can attend a meeting, look your boss in the eye, and judge the reaction to that ground-breaking idea. You could even look back on recordings to make the most of every moment of the meeting. As virtual reality technology becomes cheaper and develops, it’s a dead-cert that more employers will be offering telecommuting positions, with full virtual reality.
Better pain relief than morphine
Managing pain and the use of morphine is a massive challenge in the medical world. What if, instead of powerful drugs, our brains could be taught that we are not actually in pain, we’re just….cold?!
Human Interface Technology Lab (HITLab) at the University of Washington, led by psychologist Hunter Hoffman, created SnowWorld. It’s an experimental therapy for treating burns victims by immersing them in virtual reality while they have excruciating wound-care treatment. The idea is to divert the patient’s attention and try and convince them they are cold, not experiencing the paid from their burns.
At trials of SnowWorld 2.0, 40 people, received 60 VR sessions, all but one reported reduced pain. Overall patients reported 60 to 75 per cent less pain than before their virtual reality sessions. Morphine averages a 30 percent reduction in patient discomfort.
Why Will Virtual Reality Change the World?
Virtual living can change life around us. It already is and will continue to do so. We’ll be able to travel to Mars, learn anything we need to know, and remember it better because we are experiencing it, and not just watching or reading.
Virtual reality will improve our healthcare, and could extend our lives through better, more accurate treatments.
We’ll be safer at work, after better training. We’ll have better relationships, work and social lives.
Virtual reality could also help our planet by reducing carbon emissions with less commuting and more virtual, rather than physical, product development. And this is all on aside from the biggest sector that is influenced by VR – entertainment.
We can keep on adding more answers to the question of how virtual reality will change life around us every day. But, the truth is – we cannot predict it. As the technology changes every day, so are the future applications of virtual reality.