In the past few years, a hot new buzzword is Virtual Reality. Known more simply as VR, there are various headsets emerging on the market with a wide range of specs, each competing to be the first, newest, or best new technology on the market. In some people’s eyes VR can be disregarded as nothing more than an amusing fad. Like 3D TV’s, VR is low priority to anyone but the earliest adopters or new “trendy users” of technology.
However, with the rise of VR, we’ve seen a range of diverse and interesting software that has real-life implications. Apart from being a simply an amusing passive experience, VR has begun to make impact on everything from the medical industry to environmental activism.
Below are the top 5 industries where emerging VR is having a revolutionary effect.
1. Medical Industry
Many people experienced with novelty games may know the brutally gory and difficult Surgeon Simulator. Surgeon Simulator is game in which you play as a surgeon attempting to perform lifesaving surgery on your patient, usually using axes or hammers directly on their rib cage. It takes place in first person view, as if you were standing over their body, holding the poor
victim’s I mean, patient’s life in your hands.
VR takes a somewhat more realistic and less intrusive approach. This year in April, the world’s first surgery was streamed via VR. People around the world could tune in, and this has farther reaching implications than a new spectator sport. It opens the doors to risk-free medical training for students, allowing them to get upfront and personal with surgery before they ever set foot near a patient. Perhaps we’ll see a merging of games like “Surgeon Simulator” and VR, allowing students to even practice digital surgeries, fine tune skills, and prepare for any unexpected events.
Could you imagine being 400 feet in the air, wind rushing past you, and on either side, the ground is dizzyingly far away. Now ignore all of that and try to fix an expensive and highly intricate turbine engine. For trainees who’ve only studied problem through textbooks and the occasional training video, this experience can be quite daunting. This is where VR comes in.
The video above shows a sample of what the experience is like. For people who have to repair these machines, learning to repair machines in a simulated, but realistic environment can help better prepare them for the job. People who experimented with the software reported a realistic feeling of vertigo, and while technology hasn’t advanced enough to simulate wind through VR, perhaps blasting a giant fan on the trainees while immersed can help fill that gap.
3. Interior Design and Architecture
In the past most Interior Design and Architecture firms have relied on scale models, blueprints, and more recently, 3D renderings to display their work. However several cutting edge firms have seized upon VR as a way to demonstrate to their clients the real feel of a space. Walking through a pre-rendered cafe you can demonstrate how people or customers interact with the furniture, wall placement, even counter height. This would be especially helpful in store or cafe designs where you can pinpoint key choke points. On top of this you can test colors, materials, and furniture without spending the money or manpower to create it in the real world.
Architects and Interior Designers can demonstrate to their clients the grand sense of scale of a building by actually walking clients around it in the digital space. As most designs are made digitally in 3D modeling software like 3DS Max and Revvit, importing the necessary assets to VR space makes this an easy and smart investment for Interior Design and Architecture Firms.
4. Environmental Activism and Awareness
Through VR people can experience natural scenes that would usually be limited to them. You can swim with wild dolphins, traverse an at-risk tropical forest and revel in the experience. As much as people love to listen to Sir David Attenborough’s soothing dulcet tones, this is a way they can engage with the natural world on their own terms.
Now you can trek through the amazon forest with the filmmakers, noticing bird calls and amphibians resting on trees. Possibly even experiencing things the filmmakers might not have noticed, such as a rare endangered pangolin scurrying away on the path behind them.
Getting people more aware about the natural environment and the risks it faces is crucial. Current studies estimate ⅔’s of the entire world’s wildlife will be gone by 2020. These videos can provide a much needed awareness for the need to preserve these natural habitats, unless we want to live in a world where these videos are the only way we have to see these wild animals.
And finally, Horror games. Because that’s where the real joy is, in finding new ways to scare the living daylights out of people.