Virtual reality or VR is a technology that creates a virtual environment. People engage with those settings using VR goggles or other mobile devices, for example. It’s a computer-generated environment or 3-dimensional image in which people can interact in a believable or tangible way. Special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or goggles, is required to interact. The user wears gloves or a suit with unique sensors to get the full impact of virtual reality.
Simply explained, virtual reality is a form of computer technology that allows you to feel as if you are in another location. To create this other world, special software generates visuals, audio, and other sensations. As a result, users feel as though they are a part of this other world. The whole affair, though, is a simulation.
The other place is commonly referred to as the ‘environment.’ A café, a mountain, the beach, or a place where people are playing a game could be the setting.
“Companies in the areas we’ve identified will need to adopt new strategies to be competitive.” Because they lack the essential skills in virtual and augmented reality, the majority of them will need to locate partners. Those who succeed will have a great possibility of growing their business by increasing productivity while cutting costs.”
- Virtual Reality in the Military
Virtual reality has been utilized by the military in both the United Kingdom and the United States because it allows them to conduct a wide range of simulations. Virtual reality is employed by the army, navy, air force, marines, and coast guard. VR appears to be an effective technique of training in a society where technology is accepted from an early age and youngsters are accustomed to video games and computers. For a variety of instructional reasons, VR can transport a student into a variety of scenarios, places, and environments. It is used by the military for a variety of purposes, including flying simulators, warfare simulations, medic training, vehicle simulation, and virtual boot camp. Virtual reality (VR) is a fully immersive, visual and auditory experience that may be used to safely simulate dangerous training scenarios in order to prepare and train soldiers without putting them in harm’s way until they are ready for conflict. It can also be used to teach soldiers softer skills in the field, such as how to communicate with local citizens or foreign counterparts. Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy is one of its applications for treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in troops who have returned from combat and need assistance returning to normal living settings (VRET). The reduction in training costs is a major advantage of adopting virtual reality technology in the military.
- Virtual Reality in Sports
For athletes, coaches, and spectators, virtual reality is transforming the sports industry. Coaches and athletes can utilize virtual reality to train more efficiently in a variety of sports since they can observe and experience certain situations repeatedly and improve each time. It is mostly used as a training device to aid in the measurement and analysis of athletic performance. It can also be used to strengthen players’ cognitive abilities when they are injured, according to others, because it allows them to virtually experience gameplay circumstances. In a similar vein, virtual reality has been used to improve the viewer’s experience of a sporting event. Broadcasters are now streaming live games in virtual reality and planning to sell virtual tickets to live games in the future, allowing anyone from anywhere in the world to ‘attend’ any sporting event. Those who cannot afford to pay to attend live sporting events may be able to feel involved because they may enjoy the same experience online, either for free or at a reduced cost.
- Virtual Reality in Mental Health
VR technology, as previously indicated, has become a popular tool for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. A person uses virtual reality exposure therapy to engage a re-enactment of a traumatic incident in order to come to terms with it and heal. It’s also been used to help those with anxiety, phobias, and sadness. Some patients with anxiety, for example, find that meditating with VR helps them manage stress reactivity and improve coping mechanisms. Virtual reality technology can allow patients to come into contact with things they are afraid of while remaining in a secure and regulated environment. This is just one example of how virtual reality can positively effect society.
- Virtual Reality in Medical Education
Medical and dentistry students have begun to use VR to practice surgeries and procedures due to its interactive nature, which allows for a risk-free learning environment; the fear of causing harm or making a mistake when practicing on actual patients is avoided. Students employ virtual patients to practice skills that can subsequently be applied in the real world. Using virtual reality (VR) technology in the medical field is a terrific method to not only improve the quality of students in training, but it also presents a tremendous potential to reduce expenses, which is especially important because health care budgets are always short.
- Virtual Reality in Education
Virtual reality’s applications in education go beyond the military and medical fields, with virtual reality being used in schools for teaching and learning. Students can engage with one another and with the surroundings in three dimensions. They can also go on virtual field trips to museums, take tours of the solar system, and travel through time to other eras. For students with unique challenges, such as autism, virtual reality can be especially effective. According to research, virtual reality can be a stimulating platform for children, especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorders, to safely practice social skills (ASD). Floreo, a technology startup, has created virtual reality environments in which children may learn and practice skills including pointing, making eye contact, and forming social bonds. Parents can use an attached tablet to follow along and communicate with their children.
- Virtual Reality in the Fashion Industry
A lesser-known application of virtual reality is in fashion, where it has had a significant impact. For example, shops can use virtual simulations of store locations to design their signage and product displays without fully committing to the build, as they would in the real world. Similarly, adequate time and resources can be given to the construction of the store layout. Tommy Hilfiger, Coach, and Gap are among the well-known businesses that have already begun to incorporate virtual reality into their operations. For these household labels, VR applications include providing a 360-degree experience of fashion shows and allowing shoppers to virtually try on garments.
Major players in Virtual Reality: Oculus, HTC, Sony
Sony’s PlayStation VR (PSVR), Facebook’s Oculus Rift, and HTC’s Vive were the three most popular Virtual Reality headsets at the end of 2018. This was unsurprising, given that the same three HMDs were the top sellers in 2017. The VR environment is expanding in 2019, with Google, HP, Lenovo, and others vying for a piece of the still-growing market.
Here’s a rundown of the top VR hardware makers for 2019 and the devices they’re making:
Oculus Rift, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Go, Oculus Quest
Oculus became the early leader in Virtual Reality gear for video games after being funded as a Kickstarter project in 2012 and designed with the help of John Carmack (founder of Id Software, of Doom and Quake renown). In 2014, Facebook purchased Oculus and brought the company’s high-end virtual reality headset to market for customers. Oculus has had recent success with the lower-cost, lower-powered Oculus Go, and 2019 will see the release of a number of additional hardware variants, including the tethered Rift S and the stand-alone Oculus Quest. The price variesy from $199 – $399
HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro Eye, HTC Cosmos, HTC Focus, HTC Plus
Since its initial introduction in 2016, the HTC Vive has been one of the top VR HMDs on the market. HTC’s Vive was the first virtual reality headset to support SteamVR. Since its release, the Vive has been in a heated battle with the Oculus Rift, as both headsets are aiming at the same high-end of the VR enthusiast market. The Vive has shown to be a reliable enterprise workhorse while simultaneously providing one of the greatest consumer VR experiences on the market. The Vive was first released in 2016 and has since undergone multiple updates, including the addition of a wireless module. The HTC Vive Cosmos and the Vive Pro Eye will both be released in the second half of 2019, following the release of the Vive Pro in 2018. The price varies from $499 – $799.
The PSVR is the least powerful of the three most popular VR headsets, yet it has a significant edge over the Rift and Vive. Because it’s tied to the Playstation 4 gaming system, it already has a massive user base of tens of millions of players, many of whom were anxious to test out virtual reality. Sony’s consumers didn’t had to buy or upgrade their computer gear because they already owned a PS4, making the PSVR the most “cheapest” of the high-end HMDs. As a result, the PSVR is the best-selling Virtual Reality HMD on the market, having sold over 4 million copies since its initial release, demonstrating that VR gaming is here to stay, if nothing else.