Virtual reality (VR) can be used in many different areas of everyday life. VR fools our senses and provides a much more powerful sense of presence than a flat screen ever could. This gives the opportunity to create, for example, much more intense training scenarios that can be remembered better. Usually, the VR devices have remote controls or other control devices that enable to have a much more believable interaction with the digital world. Here are some examples of how virtual reality can be used in different areas:
Virtual reality in education
VR enables visualising situations, which would otherwise be expensive or impossible to visit. For example, you can visit an art museum in the other end of the world or travel in space among the stars. VR offers a believable experience and gives the feeling of participation, which means that our brain makes a greater effort in order to remember a situation. A user wearing a headset is isolated from the external influencers, thus creating a focused study environment. VR does not have to be a lonely experience; the same environment can be enjoyed together with many other students or instructor. If remote controls are added to the experience, the users can interact with digital characters and objects, allowing spatial perception of the surrounding and training of one’s muscle memory. The VR experience can be enriched with playful elements that have already proven to be successful – performance measuring, goal setting, earning points etc.
Virtual reality in tourism
It will probably we a long time before the virtual reality replaces real tourism. However, VR could be used as an efficient tool to get information and a feel about a destination in order to see what a place is really about. Nowadays the carefully framed and edited postcard photos no longer seem credible. VR gives a believable emotion, which, if presented in a right way, will create interest in travel destinations.
Virtual reality in military
The main activity of a peacetime army is training, and here VR offers very many opportunities. Due to the fact that military technology is dangerous and regulated, organising and carrying out real training exercises is extremely expensive and time-consuming. For example, in order to use a weapon, it is necessary to travel to a military training area, which may be located in another country. Here, VR offers a possibility to create believable interactive training situations, which help to prepare for the actual training exercises or even replace them. Here advantage can be taken of VR situations that mix the physical learning tools with digital interaction – e.g. when soldiers are preparing a physical cannon, but the entire measuring and shooting effort is done digitally. As the activities are digital, the effort can be later replayed and analysed. Furthermore, the military can use VR tools also in the areas of therapy and rehabilitation.
Virtual reality in design
VR offers a completely new medium and a new way to create digital content. New programmes such as Quill, Tilt Brush, Medium and others allow using VR remote controls in order to draw, mould and create in a 3D manner. After working in VR, it seems unnatural that 3D content should be created on a 2D screen and many artists have already embraced the new approach.
For many, creating 3D graphics seems to be something distant and vague, something that requires specific knowhow and very expensive software. The person using virtual reality can grab the remote controls and start drawing in 3D with much preparation. This allows quick prototyping and smooth creating process, which can be beneficial for many different areas.
Virtual reality in architecture and construction
3D drawings are not an aim in themselves – they are tools for communication between specialists of very different areas. 3D drawings in VR give a much better understanding of the space and out brain understands the space and scale between objects in VR much better than on a flat screen. This allows speeding up the development process and avoid costs related to reconstruction.
VR is also becoming increasingly popular as a sales tool for real estate developers and brokers. For a client, it is very difficult to make a purchase decision based on a drawing or visualisation image, but VR allows creating a sense of presence even on objects that are not even being built yet. Furthermore, there is the possibility to create the so-called virtual catalogue that allows visiting real estate objects across the world without leaving the office.
Virtual reality in medicine
Virtual reality is used in medicine for many different purposes: to provoke a reaction (e.g. for PTSD therapy), to motivate patients (physiotherapy), to measure performance (for diagnosing ADHD), to divert attention (at a dentist) etc. As VR technology is very new, no long-term research has been conducted, but first trials have shown positive results in different areas. The most obvious is using VR as a tool for psychotherapy, helping the patient to go through different situations and react to them in different ways.
Virtual reality in art
Virtual reality is a completely new medium that very often is forced into the limits of other art forms, but we believe that VR can offer something completely different. This is an area that needs discovering and testing in order to learn how to present a message in a completely new format. VR has drawn attention in the world of installations, allowing mixing the physical and digital world in an innovative manner. Memorable experiences can also be created by visualising data, for example by connecting the movement of a real artist with digital reprojection.
Virtual reality in film
360° or interactive VR films are an area that is becoming increasingly common, drawing more and more attention and winning prizes in the international arena. The first reaction of the cinema world has been to use VR experiences as an advertising material for major films, but more and more interest is taken in VR as an independent medium. Unlike flat screen, the viewer feels as if they are in the middle of the world of the story, feeling a stronger connection to the characters and events, which, if presented correctly, may lead to a more powerful experience. It has become a standard that there is a separate VR area at major film festivals, showing different types of curated experiences.
Virtual reality in entertainment
Computer and console games are a massive industry, which continues growing in the world. VR games and other applications are the main reason why home users buy VR devices. Gaming enthusiasts have long dreamed of experiences that surround them and with which they could interact. As gamers are ready to pay good money for their hobby, it is a strong incentive for the development of the technology. Thanks to that, VR support is available in gaming platforms such as Unity ja Unreal, which can also be used for other applications. As a rule, VR devices have remote controls that can be used to control the virtual world, e.g. turning the remote controls to virtual hands, bow, wrench, deck of cards or anything imaginable.