While VR technology has advanced in the last few years, the bubble seems to have burst with VR becoming a high-end gaming experience for those who want to take their gaming to the next level. Despite affordable mass VR solutions like Google Cardboard VR viewer for mobile users and more advanced solutions from Oculus and HTC, mainstream VR adoption has been much slower than anticipated. But there’s no need to fret, as major advances in complex technologies like VR tend to take time. The future is bright and the advent of 5G this year should realize the true potential of VR not just in entertainment. That being said, let’s have a look at other sectors where VR is set to revolutionize traditional methods.
Is VR the future of film? It could be, but the answer is not that simple. For more than a century we have been passive observers in film, but if adopted correctly, VR has the power to give audiences the freedom to choose where and what they look at. It could turn the director’s chair upside down and change the filmmaking game completely. We also have to remember that VR consumption is fundamentally different from watching a flat, 2D screen. VR is generally experienced in shorts bursts, whereas a full-length feature film might stretch the envelope and the limits of our eyes. But, short VR films like Crow: The Legend, from Executive Producer John Legend, are a good bridge to demonstrate what VR technology can do for the future of cinema and audiences alike.
It’s true that VR has advanced by leaps and bounds in the last few years thanks to the gaming industry. Yet, it hasn’t achieved it’s true potential and has remained mostly an add-on rather than a mainstay due to giants like Microsoft holding back on mainstream development. On the other hand, Sony rolled out the PS VR in late 2016 and has since attracted developers who have launched over 500 games and experiences solely for the platform. Future applications incorporating full-body haptic VR experiences à la Ready Player One are also in our potential future, as developers learn more and stretch the limits of this immersive platform.
VR Learning and Development
VR has the power to completely transform the Learning & Development industry. Whereas we retain 10% of what we read and 20% of what we hear, we remember 90% of what we do. Researchers on Science Daily found that people retain information better if it’s presented to them in a VR environment. No other medium enables our brain to retain information better. While methods of instructing employees rely on manuals, memorising information, and rules, tech company HP notes how VR-enabled training actually allows trainees to recognise the mechanics behind a given system. It’s where the future of VR lies, as it allows them to see and later utilise and recall more accurate patterns that can make their work easier and/or more efficient.
VR in Healthcare
Apart from providing better and more complex training for surgeons, VR technology coupled with augmented reality (AR) has the potential to be invaluable and provide lifesaving tools. As surgeons often seek the advice of experts when facing complex and unfamiliar cases, the technology allows an expert to see what the surgeon is seeing in real-time and then provide the necessary guidance. In fact, Business Insider suggests that virtual reality companies like Oxford Medical Simulation and Osso VR are revolutionising VR in the medical field, making medical training and education easier. Additionally, companies like Medivis are also providing future solutions that allow surgeons to virtually “see” through their patients and increase precision, essentially providing them with a kind of x-ray vision. The future of surgical work is in AR and VR, as both have the potential to reduce the third leading cause of death: medical errors.
If you think Virtual Reality is ripe to revolutionize any other industries or fields which I haven’t covered above, do share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.