Have you ever heard of virtual reality? If you are a game lover, you might be familiar with that term. Or, you probably have one virtual reality headset in your home for gaming. However, virtual reality is not only about gaming and entertainment.
In fact, virtual reality has been widely used in various aspects such as gaming, entertainment, healthcare, education, transportation, and marketing. The goal of virtual reality is to provide human beings with a virtual environment where people can interact with a computer just as they do in the real world. If you are interested with this technology, we pulled together interesting virtual reality facts out there. From the virtual reality history to the various functions itself, you’re sure to find something interesting.
1. The Idea of Virtual Reality
Nowadays, virtual reality technologies build upon ideas that date back to the 1800s, almost to the very beginning of practical photography. No single person invented virtual reality. Instead, many people including Morton Heilig, Jaron Lanier, Douglas Engelbert, Ivan Sutherland and Myron Krueger have contributed to the technology’s growth.
In 1960, Morton Heilig’s invention, Telesphere Mask, was the first example of a head-mounted display (HMD), although for a non-interactive film medium without any motion tracking. It also provided stereoscopic 3D and wide vision with stereo sound.
Moreover, collaboration, prototyping and iteration have gone into the development of this versatile technology. It was an introduction to imaginative ways to use the technology for learning experiences and encouraged open-ended exploration that led virtual reality to where it is today.
2. Popular for Games and Entertainment
When you hear about virtual reality, the first word that may pop to your mind is “games”. Well, it is not totally wrong since around 53.9% of Americans expect to use virtual reality for playing video games.
Moreover, virtual reality games can be played on standalone systems, specialized game consoles, or using advanced laptops and computers that can power the leading virtual reality headsets.
In early 2016, virtual reality headsets for gaming were introduced to the market. As the game industry started creating more interesting solutions that attract more new users, virtual reality is providing the technology to overcome tedious challenges in the industry. Therefore, this resulted in the increasing demand for virtual reality games.
3. The Future of Work and Play for Gen-Z
Virtual reality is thought as the future technology for Gen-Z. Gen-Z refers to those born between 1996 and 2010 who are raised by the internet. As many Gen-Z aspire to work with cutting-edge technology, they are the most likely generation to integrate advanced technologies like virtual reality seamlessly into their daily lives.
Furthermore, virtual reality creates a fully immersive 3D experience that allows Gen-Z to experience the impossible. As half the brain is dedicated to visual processing, intense visual stimulation like virtual reality will help Gen-Z with information processing. Not to mention, virtual reality also will provide hands-on opportunities to work and play for Gen-Z.
4. Virtual Reality for Recovery and Rehabilitation
Maybe you wonder how to treat trauma and disorder with only a virtual reality headset. Well, it is true that virtual reality has proven to be a powerful tool to help people overcome PTSD, nicotine addiction, and many other mental health issues including phobias, anxiety, and depression.
However, how can that happen? In one ground-breaking study, it shows that digital limbs in virtual reality can feel indistinguishable from our own. Therefore, it can induce physiological and psychological responses to accelerate the recovery and cognitive rehabilitation of patients. The changes of stress hormones and other biological states during virtual reality therapy will be monitored.
5. Low Vision Aid
Virtual reality has come such a long way from being a vintage arcade game to being leveraged to aid people with low vision. As immersive technologies continue to mature, virtual reality technology starts to aid people with disabilities.
Nowadays, some virtual reality headsets are designed for people with eye and vision conditions. For instance, a person with macular degeneration, glaucoma, or retinitis pigmentosa can put on a headset to watch their favorite shows. Furthermore, they can also adjust the setting by zooming in and out to suit their viewing needs. This can make day-to-day life more convenient for a person with severe vision loss.
6. Virtual Reality for Surgery Practice
Performing surgical operations in virtual reality video games may be fun and interesting. However, it may be uncommon if virtual reality technology is actually being used to train surgery skills. Well, virtual reality has taken surgical collaboration to a new level.
Virtual reality has the ability to access and view areas in the human body that otherwise would be impossible to reach. Companies such as Osso virtual reality and Immersive Touch come up with solutions for virtual reality to coach surgeons to fine-tune their skill sets. The programs have proven to be effective in comparison to older training regimes.
7. Films Feature Virtual Reality Technology
A film with virtual reality technology offers a new experience of storytelling as it is a way to further immerse an audience. With this technology, the viewer moves beyond the screen as if the character in the story itself.
Therefore, some filmmakers use this technology in their movies. For example, films such as ‘Disclosure’ starring Michael Douglas, ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ starring Keanu Reeves feature virtual reality technology in terrific ways. Moreover, Lion King’s live-action was also filmed using virtual reality.
8. The British Museum in Virtual Reality
For some people, visiting a museum may sound like a boring activity, especially for young people. In 2015, The British Museum went creative and extraordinary by using virtual reality devices to engage adults and kids with their collections from the Bronze Age.
The visitors were invited to engage with the past, not just through the real objects in the galleries, but through state of the art 3D experience. With a group of five to enter, visitors got digital recreations of three Bronze age objects which have been placed virtually within their original context.
9. Virtual Reality for Pilot Training
Some aviation enthusiasts might know that flight simulators have been used to train pilots for more than 80 years. In that time, there have been many breakthroughs in aviation technology. Now virtual reality is about to usher in a whole new era of professional pilot training which will be impactful for the aviation industry.
An Air Force pilot training program from Austin, Texas has incorporated virtual reality into its syllabus. As a result, trainers found that virtual reality provides immediate opportunities for more realistic lessons similar to those seen in the real world.
10. Exclusive Virtual Reality Lab for Astronauts
One interesting virtual reality fact you probably didn’t know is that NASA was one of the early adopters of this technology. Today, NASA has an exclusive virtual reality lab of its own for training crews for spacewalks, zero-g mass handling training, as well as robotics operations.
According to NASA, virtual reality contributes a significant role in life aboard the space station. Moreover, it is often used to help astronauts complete tasks or activities easily. NASA also used virtual reality to prepare the astronauts to maneuver the shuttle arm when weightless.
11. Studying in a Virtual World
Virtual reality as immersive technology affects various life aspects, and that includes the higher education sector. For instance, Penn State University in Pennsylvania is leveraging virtual reality to train students in the virtual world prior to practicing in the real world, making it more effective and engaging.
Moreover, some institutes such as the University of British Columbia in Vancouver are also already experimenting with virtual lecture halls. Finally, virtual reality technology furnishes the first-person non-symbolic experience that is specifically designed to help students learn material.
12. Virtual Reality Helps Autism Children
This future technology creates hope to understand the complexities of autism children. Moreover, it will offer a glimpse of what they see every day. Crucially, it can give autism kids a chance to explain and explore their world on their own terms.
Virtual reality technology has been used to help autistic kids in speaking to another person or a group of people. When the kid didn’t make eye contact, the simulation employed avatars that faded away. This mechanism encouraged them to look around the room and hold eye contact with the avatars, instead of looking straight ahead or downward.
13. Virtual Reality for Test Drive
Now you can try to ride your dream car with a virtual test drive! Car companies start to use this technology to give potential customers driving experience from their sofa. For example, Abarth has launched the world’s first VR ‘test drive’ pack to experience the Italian sports car brand.
Moreover, Volvo leverages virtual reality technology to allow customers to test drive a car before finalizing the purchase. Perhaps it is one of virtual reality’s best and most fun uses, especially if you don’t have a dealer available.
14. House Renovation from Virtual Reality
Virtual experiences are likely to increase dramatically in years to come. Today, you can use virtual reality to visualize home renovation. Lowe’s home renovation store has established a virtual reality program that enables shoppers to enter a Holoroom allowing them to visualize what their house looks like after the necessary modification in the house.
This is the best way to avoid costly mistakes as you give your home a redesign is to experience the new look before you start any work.
15. Traveling Inside The Virtual Reality
After the COVID pandemic hit, the travel industry shifted tremendously. People are into digital entertainment, but still wish to travel and visit tourist attractions safely. Therefore, virtual reality technology helps to place them at the heart of the scene and imagine themselves at the tourism location..
Beside that, virtual reality travel tours can also be created for a wide range of travel destinations and landmarks. The UK-based travel agency, Thomas Cook, launched a campaign called ‘Try Before You Fly’ that offered customers the opportunity to experience virtual trips.
Furthermore, virtual reality tours of popular tourism destinations can be produced to give the user a taste of what it’s like to be there.
Finally, that’s all the interesting virtual reality facts you should know. In fact, virtual reality is a future technology which will improve our lives in many sectors. As this technology will always evolve, the users should utilize virtual reality technology wisely in their daily activities.