If you browse the internet for even a few minutes a day you have probably noticed at least one or two different VR devices popping up on your news feed, twitter, or whatever the hell else you scroll through when you’re pooping and/or pretending to work. What you may not have noticed is the fact the VR is rapidly becoming more than just a fad resurrected from the 80’s, but it might very well change the world around us in some surprising, and some not so surprising, ways.
1.Doctors are using it
Doctors are always looking for new ways to treat their patients, save lives, and jack up your bill. In one particular instance, a doctor used a toy to save a baby’s life. Google Cardboard helped Dr. Burke take a look at a baby’s half heart through 3-D imaging and keep it beating for the foreseeable future. VR is also being used to measure how badly your balance is being effected by glaucoma, which is undoubtedly better than telling an old person to try to jump on one foot.
Quote: The virtual image he viewed allowed him to come up with a completely new surgical procedure, shoring up and rerouting Teegan’s right ventricle so it could continue to pump blood to both her lungs and body.
Quote: traditional balance testing doesn’t mimic visual conditions people encounter day-to-day; Oculus Rift does.
2.It’s treating mental health and helping the disabled
Every politician gets easy points and applause just by shouting out “We need to focus on helping the troops” but Doctors studying VR are actually doing something about it. Doctors are using it to run simulations that basically amount to exposure therapy and it’s had a surprising amount of success. People with phobias are being treated as well in a much more stable and healthy environment than ever before. We can now expose an acrophobic person to heights without risking them freaking the hell out on a plane and getting tackled by homeland security, which I’m sure is great for people afraid of heights and tackling.
Christopher, who has cerebral palsy, is learning to operate a motorized wheelchair at the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene by using virtual reality — a looking-glass technology that transports the user into an imaginary, three-dimensional universe created with software.
Through the use of Fove’s eye-tracking technology, the headmount recognizes the user’s eye movement. The user blinks on one of the many panels within the interface to trigger the preferred note, which is then conveyed to the piano
VRMC currently uses virtual reality exposure therapy (3-dimensional computer simulation) in combination with physiological monitoring and feedback to treat panic and anxiety disorders.
Over the course of the study, 16 participants showed improvement in their PTSD symptoms, while four participants did not. I would consider that a win by any standards.
3.Astronauts and military are using it to train
Since the ninety’s the military has been using VR to train pilots and even ground troops to a smaller degree, but with the growing availability and advancements in VR the government is expanding it’s training to include astronauts and infantryman alike. If you’ve seen any movie ever, you will know that being in space and in a battlefield have one thing in common, that something will always go wrong. Using a variety of different platforms, the government has been and continues to use VR to create scenarios that a soldier or rocket-man run into so they’re not wholly unprepared when shit inevitably hits the fan.
Thanks to virtual reality, NASA can make sure the people they put into space have some amount of experience under their belts before they have to perform complicated tasks in zero gravity.
Not everyone wants to hit the pavement with some running shoes and generate gallons of sweat while cars honk at you as they drive past your bobbing and weaving body all the while trying to convince yourself that it’ll be worth it after you get your hands on some shame-free Ice Cream. Well soon you will be able to do that on a virtual battlefield while you slay dragons and newbs alike with the multiple products coming out that allow for multidirectional running in VR. These wonderful machines also fix the Motion Sickness that many who have tried VR have experienced, since your brain and your eyes are no longer competing with what is going on around you. In addition to fixing the biggest problem with VR today, gaming treadmills opens up the virtual worlds and experiences that would never be possible otherwise.
Need a break from running through virtual worlds and want to relax? There’s an app for that. With the help of Google Street View and Oculus you can take virtual vacation to just about anywhere you want to. No need to deal with airport security, hours in a car, risk dying on a floating door, squeeze into a scuba suit, or years of training to fly into space because now you can have all those experiences and more from the comfort of your couch. To the horror of travel agents around the world, VR is making vacationing as simple and cheap as possible. 600$ dollars to explore space sounds a lot better than a few million.
Google Street View can take you on a virtual tour of some of the most breathtaking and remote locations on the planet — without you ever needing to leave your computer chair.