Many moons ago Virtual Reality (VR) was the stuff of Science Fiction. The idea of being transported to another reality was confined to the brilliant imaginations of the scriptwriters behind films like The Matrix (1999) and The Lawnmower Man (1992). Fast forward to 2018 and contemporary society is now living in the Matrix…okay not quite but we’re beginning to see VR immerse us in content more successfully than ever before thanks to developments in tech, particularly mobile tech. Furthermore, the endless applications of VR in multiple sectors are causing quite a stir, one we think deserves some recognition. Here are 5 Great Applications of VR voted for by the TopLine team:
One of our favourite applications of VR, and one that never fails to impress us is its benefits to medical professionals around the world. Doctors, nurses, and surgeons alike are utilising VR to hone their skills in real-life operations, tests and procedures. Yes, VR operations actually exist as a form of training which in turn reduces the risk involved in real life situations. How clever is that!
However, it doesn’t stop there. Medical professionals are not only using this technology behind the scenes, they are also incorporating VR into the treatment of patients, in particular, those suffering from psychological disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for example. The idea behind this is that patients are exposed to their individual fears in a safe, virtual environment and such exposure has been proven to help them overcome disorders, or reduce the severity of them at least.
It really is incredible the lengths VR can go to help people medically and although this next example isn’t used by medical professionals per se, we believe it deserves a special mention. Last year a 360VR film called The Wayback was made available online and we think it’s incredible. Why? The video accurately recreated scenes from Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation, from the costumes down to the conversations and music, which were shown to patients living with dementia as a way for them to relive and remember the 1953 event. Incredibly, the VR film was able to spark conversation between the patients about this particular day, some of whom even began to recall the lyrics to the music from the time. What an amazing story! This is just the start for The Wayback series, the creators behind it are looking at others narratives they can create through this powerful medium of storytelling.
Another great application of VR, and an infinite one at that is in the education sector. There are just so many ways it can be used to teach, learn and engage students in their studies. Here are a couple of ways in which VR is used educationally:
- In 2015 Google released their Google Expeditions software which offers virtual field trips to some phenomenal locations around the world. With a simple Google cardboard headset and a smartphone, teachers can take their students abroad from the delights of Machu Picchu to Antarctica, or even the International Space Station without even leaving the classroom. Seriously, what an exciting time to be at school! This certainly beats Mrs Jones and her VHS tapes and TV on wheels.
- Game-based learning is another way in which VR is applied to education. Let’s not forget that VR’s roots stem from the game industry with thanks to those hard-core gamers who were seeking a more immersive experience from their computer games. Therefore, VR games are often used in lessons as a form of teaching which in recent years is proving very effective, allowing students to learn by ‘doing’ rather than ‘watching’ or ‘listening’. Our personal favourites from the VR games cupboard are Titans of Space and Titanic VR.
VR is also used outside of the classroom to educate new drivers. Forget the old-fashioned hazard perception test using a computer screen and mouse, at CES this year a company called VR Motion introduced a VR simulator which creates an accurate virtual representation of what it’s like to drive on real roads. The simulator is customisable meaning it can be used by people at many levels, from learner drivers up to military grade professionals.
Furthermore, VR is not only able to teach you how to drive safely. It is also being used to teach what can happen if you don’t drive safely. Emergency Services across the country are educating teens on the dangers of distracting a driver whilst on the road. Through a dramatised VR video they are able to demonstrate the real-life traumas of a car crash using the viewer as a first-person point of view. This immersive experience has caused a positive reaction from teens around the country who believe the video has changed their outlook on driving. Another gold star for VR!
Similar to medical professionals, the military is also applying VR as a method of training for their personnel. VR boot camps are now a thing, as are flight, vehicle and battlefield simulations which are providing a safe environment to practice real-life situations. This is reducing risk whilst still improving skills and one we believe is a very valuable application of VR.
And finally, VR is being applied widely throughout the entertainment industry to engage and immerse audiences in a wide variety of storytelling. Dramas, documentaries, and games are all drawing on VR’s interactive qualities to get their message across or simply to transport their audiences elsewhere.
Here at TopLine, we’ve created several virtual reality videos to immerse audiences in our clients’ stories. Our personal favourite would be the 360VR video we created for Alaska Seafood about the sustainable salmon fishing industry. This video transports the viewer to the Alaskan waters as it follows a small fishing family on their daily routine. To get the best views of Alaska we even take the audience into a seaplane that flies over the beautiful, snowy mountains.
As you can see, the applications of VR really are amazing and these are just a few of the many ways in which we can use VR in our daily lives. The prediction is that come 2019 VR will be more mainstream than ever before. Interested in creating your own VR video for any of the above-mentioned applications? Check out our virtual reality agency page to find out more.