By Pam Loft-
I have never been interested in the early pseudo-virtual reality games because all of the moving characters, landscape and maps left me nauseous and really took away any enjoyment that might have been experienced under other circumstances. Much has changed in very few years and today’s virtual reality devices achieve much better results. Although gaming may have been the incentive in the early development of the mechanisms needed for fully functional virtual reality experience, it is now being applied to a much broader scope of applications.
Some of the applications that I found especially interesting are:
Real Estate - Today if you are looking for a new place to live, you can frequently get an online tour of the apartment or house…but with a virtual reality viewer and sufficient data input, a tour of a building not yet built, an apartment not yet there and the view from the non-existent living room window can all be visualized.
Construction project management – At least on effort is being made to draw all of the separate activities from design to building to decoration together and facilitate communication amongst the diverse sub-contractors. It is an industry still mired in paper records and difficult lines of communication.
Business – Innovative uses of VR may include an auto dealer allowing you to test drive a vehicle that is not even on his lot or taking a ride with a driver at a raceway. It will allow for experimenting with prototypes and checking for flaws or omissions without risk of people or large sums of money. Perhaps even conference calls where everyone can see each other act and react during the call. It may enable new hires to train for hazardous working conditions without physical risk to people or equipment.
Healthcare – VR is currently being tested in hospitals helping patients dealing with pre-surgical anxiety and PTSD. The VR could facilitate learning surgical skills as well as other medical practices.
Education – VR environments expands the scope of experiences students can have without even being present in a schoolroom. Books would be more meaningful if they are read in the environment that they were written. VR would present a virtual classroom with interactions amongst students and teachers like a regular classroom with the students all in distant locations. It would allow a student to take a virtual field trip to times and places in history or visit
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