Have you jumped on the virtual reality bandwagon yet? If you’re interested in technology, you’ve probably heard of VR, and you may know that its popularity in the gaming world has grown exponentially in recent years.
VR headsets currently appeal mainly to younger consumers who enjoy video games, but the technology has begun to spread into a variety of practical applications like shopping and virtual tours. Tech titans such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are betting on the technology as the next big thing in computing.
Here are a few emerging uses for VR that may interest you.
For several years, health care providers have demonstrated an interest in VR, with some incorporating computer-generated, 3D images into their diagnosis and treatment processes. In coming years, the technology likely will be used in rehabilitation; for example, by helping individuals who have had a stroke recover their motor functioning with game-like programs and real-time feedback. VR apps also may be used for meditation, relaxation and as therapeutic tools for anxiety sufferers.
If you like online shopping, you may love the experience of shopping in virtual reality. Apps already exist that can simulate a virtual tour of a real-life store, improving on traditional shopping in a variety of ways. For example, instead of thumbing through a paper catalog or clicking through a list of items on a website, you might take a virtual shopping trip with friends in real time.
Similar to the shopping experience, VR tours of historical sites, vacation spots, museums and other real-world attractions will allow you to experience a realistic simulation of a visit. Imagine putting on a headset and being instantly transported to the Louvre, the canals of Venice or a beach in the Caribbean.
Virtual-reality entertainment takes a leap beyond 3D, allowing you to watch as if you’re inside a movie or on a concert stage with your favorite performer — with images and sound effects happening all around you. For sports fans, a virtual stadium application allows you to view a game as if you’re inside the stadium, and you can even “invite” friends, who appear in your virtual experience as avatars of themselves.
Tech industry insiders expect education to represent a significant market for VR. Experts believe the immersive environment of VR can make learning faster and more efficient in a variety of subject areas.
Getting Started with Virtual Reality
VR is still in its early stages, and many kinks are yet to be worked out. If you’re ready to get started despite the potential bumps in the road, consider buying an inexpensive VR viewer like the Google Cardboard. Be aware that some people do get motion sick when using VR.
If you love the technology, you can move up to a pricier headset or wait for the next big thing to come along. While 2017 may not be the year that VR breaks through to the mainstream, experts say widespread adoption is coming soon.