Have you ever felt that you need to visit a fantasy place or even a real-life place but cannot? Virtual reality technology may be the future of achieving your dream or at least virtually.
Virtual reality (VR) is the use of computing technology to simulate a specific environment. It helps recreate a virtual environment that creates objects, events, and experiences to mimic the real world. Currently, users experience this by using a virtual reality headset.
Virtual reality is used in education, medicine, entertainment, gaming, design, marketing, tour, and travel among other places. It offers users virtual experiences that they may not be able to get.
How virtual reality operates.
A virtual reality system comprises sensors and components that help detect the user’s movement to affect the virtual environment. The VR content should be produced in 3D to enable it to reflect the real user world. The content can be hosted on a smartphone or connected to a computer that can be fixed within the headset.
Virtual reality advantages
- New and better experiences
VR technology offers users new experiences of things and places that they may not be able to go or have. The technology can be modified to include an ideal situation or place that otherwise would be hard to find in real life.
- Engagement and fewer distractions
Virtual reality is more engaging compared to some scenarios in real life. Since there are no distractions users can be fully immersed in that environment.
- Details views of the environment
Since virtual reality is computer-generated, it means it can be added more features to the environment that are more clear and not available in real life.
- Offer a new method of learning and teaching
It offers a more learner-engaging method of learning. This will give students a feeling of being part of learning rather than just being the recipient of the content.
Virtual reality disadvantages
- Addiction to technology
Virtual reality technology will be more addictive than even the social media platform that we have today. This is because it is more engaging and some users may prefer to “live” in the virtual world than the real one.
This is a major concern that should be solved before the technology becomes common to all users.
- Technology is expensive to acquire
Currently, the types of equipment that are required to set up a virtual reality environment are expensive. This is going to change since the technology is still in its development stages.
- Healthy issues
another major concern is the health of users. This will affect the eyes, and user posture and may lead to hallucination depending on the type of content the user will be consuming.
- Difference between real and virtual realities
Virtual and real life are different scenarios and it is not possible to really simulate the exact environment. This will bring confusion to users since they may not be able to differentiate between virtual and real experiences
10 virtual reality application areas
- Virtual reality in education and learning
Technology is going to change how content is delivered in learning institutions. Content can be created to demonstrate situations that would be expensive or dangerous for students to visit. It can also be used to enhance e-learning for distance learners.
For example, we can have a virtual tour to demonstrate how the internet travel from one device to another. This will help learners to have a kind of experience that is a better learning method. This will increase content retention for learners and more students will be willing to attend classes.
- Travel and tourism industries
By use of virtual reality, tourists can have a preview of the area that they intend to visit. This can be used to make the decision on which is the best among many sites. Those traveling will be able to give a preview of what they are looking like what to expect, and some challenges that they should prepare for.
It will also work as a good marketing tool for different tourist sites. It can help people to visit museums, historical sites like pyramids game parks, etc.
- Medicinal simulations
Medical procedures are very delicate activities and accuracy should be optimum. Virtual reality technology will offer physicians a way to test a procedure before they actualize it using a real human body.
This will reduce medical errors and improve the chance of successful operations.
- Real estate marketing
If you are in a sale in a real estate company virtual reality can help your client to view the house virtually. This can help the client even to make the decision of buying without physically visiting the premises.
- Entertainment industry
This is the industry where most of the consumers of virtual reality will be based. After a long day, people love a way to unwind which mostly involves a type of entertainment.
The technology can be used to create movies with a combination of other emerging technologies such as 3D technology.
Another technology that will consume the technology is computer gaming. Computer games have evolved and with virtual reality, they will take a more advanced level. VR games will involve players more which will be more entertaining.
- Military and security operations
The security sector in general can benefit from technology by simulating different scenarios that can occur. They can use that to be prepared for most of the eventualities that may arise during an operation.
Military installations can use the technology to test their latest weapons that may be dangerous to do a ground test.
- Building design and general architect
An architect can be able to experience their building design and change different aspects even before the construction begins. They can also be able to share with the client who also is able to have a feeling of how it will look like when complete.
- Aviation industry
The industry has been using simulations to train pilots and with virtual reality, it will even be better. They can create different scenarios from different weather conditions altitude landing and takeoff styles etc.
- Application for psychotherapy
Mental issues are becoming a problem in the current society. Virtual reality can be used by psychiatrists to put a client in a certain environment to help them heal. For example, it can be used to simulate a situation that can trigger a certain emotion for observation.
- Shopping and marketing
Product brands can create a virtual reality of their product to give customers a virtual feel of how the product will look like. For example, a car manufacturer can have a virtual drive test of their latest car model.
We can have a virtual shopping room where customers can shop from their homes. Similar to currency online shopping we have but now customers can pick and access products virtually.
VR technology companies
- Oculus VR: It is the pioneer in virtual reality technology and it was acquired by Facebook Inc in 2016
- Google is another big player in virtual technology currently. They offer their headset called Google cardboard
- HTC Incorporation: They offer their headset under the name VIVE.
- Samsung incorporation. It is mostly known for its smartphone but it has also ventured into virtual reality and augmented reality technologies.
- Nvidia mostly specializes in graphics card display but is also interested in this new world of virtual reality.
List of programming languages used for VR applications