With Oculus Rift, Samsung’s VR Gear and HTC Vive making splashes, it’s become important to look at the future of VR tech. It is no longer difficult to see a future where VR is popular if not ubiquitous.
There are industries that are sure to be affected and where the change might be significant enough to signal a change in the way we live.
Along with gaming and entertainment, healthcare has been one of the most effective adopters of virtual reality tech. For both pieces of training as well as treatment purposes, virtual reality has opened up new fields.
The HumanSim system allows for training of medical personnel. Similarly, Stanford University has a simulator that includes haptic feedback and allows doctors to practice surgery without requiring cadavers or risking actual patients.
Other possibilities like allowing people who are disabled or seniors to explore the world are also being explored. Therapy for phantom limb pain is also a possibility, with Frontiers in Neuroscience publishing an article on it and researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden conducting a limited experiment on it.
In future, it is possible that VR can be used to conduct long-distance diagnosis for patients who are too ill to come to the doctor.
The ad industry officially made the jump into VR in 2015 with Airpush launching Virtual Sky. PETA, Stand up To Cancer, and Charity: Water immediately signed up with many retailing businesses following.
An ad for an automobile, for example, can now offer the real details of the inside of a car, with the dash and dials, without the customer having to step out of their house. With a 360 degree experience, the whole idea of advertising will change.
Tourism has already started forays into using virtual reality as part of their industry. The Wild Within VR Experience by Destination BC is one glimpse into the way forward for tourism. Shot in the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada, it offers a thrilling, immersive experience presumably as a taster to the vacation ahead.
Is there a possibility that the tourism experience can become “too real”? The CEO of Destination BC seems to think that it will offer a positive chance to promote their destinations instead. With VR it would become possible to experience the destinations before reaching, thus having a ‘taste-test’ of sorts.
Museums and heritage sites would be able to offer virtual tours of their sites. This would also offer delicate heritage sites the chance to open up their gates without leading to further degradation of their sites.
Gaming tech has been the most obvious gainer when looking at VR or AR tech, with Pokemon Go becoming the new face of AR. However, it is not the only sector to be speculating with VR tech.
With VR headsets, it would be possible to watch entire movies in an immersive way. While 3D glasses and TVs never really caught on, investors are still optimistic.
Samsung did a study way back in 2014 that showed that users could wear VR headsets comfortably for two hours or more, convincing M-GO to build an app for movies for their Gear VR headsets.
Using tech to improve the learning experience is an ongoing process, and with VR, future possibilities look good.
A school in Ireland used OpenSim to recreate a monastery which could then be explored by their students. While this is, at the moment, far too expensive and long-drawn a process to benefit a huge range of students, it opens up possibilities.
The healthcare system has long used virtual reality systems to train their students in surgery, including handling robotic surgery. For adults, the learning experience that can be created is obvious.
Younger students will also benefit from such exposure. It has become obvious in recent years that learning from books is far less beneficial than learning from experience or hands-on, and children, especially those with learning disabilities will benefit from this type of teaching.
Immersive gaming and movie experiences may be the next big thing for entertainment. The way it will impact life is still something to speculate on.