We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. Read More Allow Cookies

The future of virtual reality

The future of virtual reality

Wednesday 12 July 2017

Virtual Reality

The technology around virtual reality is improving rapidly not only in gaming but there have also been developments in other areas of everyday life. VR is branching out and special gloves or shirts that respond to actions taken inside a game are only the beginning. The technology is moving towards a truly immersive experience that will impact all senses.

Soon, we’ll be able to experience news stories by virtually walking through them, social media by interacting with friends via an avatar in a virtual space and visit places around the world by putting on goggles that open a window to the world.

Here’s what you can expect from VR beyond gaming:

Journalism

Newspapers have started to experiment with VR and use it as a new form of storytelling. Immersive journalism that is aimed at inspiring the user’s empathy was kicked off by journalist and documentary filmmaker Nonny de la Penna with her Hunger in Los Angeles project. The short film shows a man collapsing in a diabetic coma while waiting in line in front of a local food bank. Although people in the short film had to be recreated as avatars, the audio was real and users left the experience crying and feeling helpless.

Newspapers like The New York Times, The Guardian and The Financial Times have also picked up on immersive journalism and launched 360-degree news stories, in which users are taken right into the story and can explore it in their own way.

Social media

The idea behind using VR for social media is that instead of seeing the new technology as a device that isolates people behind their goggles, VR will create a space that brings people together in a better way than a phone call, text or video chat could.

The user can experience social media through avatars with the ability to interact with each other and wander around in virtual worlds. The goal is to get social networking online as close to socialising in the real world as possible.

Tourism

Virtual reality offers the ability to go anywhere in the world, which makes it a great tool for tourism. Too dangerous to climb Mount Everest? Too expensive to go and see the Grand Canyon? You can already get a 360-degree view of these places in virtual reality and experience them without leaving your couch.

It might be better to see these places in the real world but not everyone gets the opportunity to do so, VR offers an experience that can get you as close to the real thing as possible. Other easier to reach places can be promoted through VR. Users can experience hotel rooms or places to visit in the virtual world first and then decide if they would like to go there.

Medical & Therapeutic

In medicine virtual, augmented reality and games are already in use to train medical students, who can practice by performing an operation in VR or viewing it from the surgeon’s perspective.

VR is also being tested for use in therapy to help patients relax or for rehabilitation. Patients with phobias can practice coping with their fears in simulated situations within a controlled environment inside a virtual space. Studies have also shown that painful wound care or physical therapy can also be made easier for patients, who get to try the goggles for an experience that will distract them from the pain.

 

These are just a few areas in which VR has made a difference so far. Continuing along this path, the virtual reality goggles will become as much a part of our lives in the future as smartphones are now. If you want to read more about the technology and how to create your own VR space, check out our guide to VR.