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Technology shouldn't - and mainly does not exist for the sake of just being, but mostly for its usefulness and utility value. Current trends

in the tech industry with its attendant competition among the world's renowned technology giants all jostling to outdo one another with flagship products leaves much of the larger population of end users wondering what these jargon mean; their usefulness, applications and benefits.

Today, let's find out what VR - Virtual Reality means and its future applications.

Virtual reality is a computer-generated environment that lets you experience a different reality. In simpler terms, Virtual Reality provides immersive digital experiences of real world scenery far detached from one's immediate environment. The imagery and scenery of objects and every other thing being experienced through VR actually exist in reality in the real world, but the experience is delivered to the individual through virtual means (digitally). It is akin to falling asleep, experiencing life in dreamland, of places, things, and maybe humans far removed from our immediate real world day-to-day existence, only to be jerked back awake to our present state - when disconnected from your VR gadget.

A VR headset fits around your head and over your eyes, and visually separates you from whatever space you're physically occupying. Images are fed to your eyes from two small lenses. As CNET puts it, "Through VR you can virtually hike the Grand Canyon, tour the Louvre, experience a movie as if you are part of it, and immerse yourself in a video game without leaving your couch."

VR's true purpose is slowly being realized. The following are the various ways you'll be able to use VR over the next few years;

 

Entertainment

With VR, we can watch videos in an immersive way - like we are in the moment of the actions taking place. The word they use is "surround", one would be surrounded by the videos. This includes all kinds of films, live-streamed concerts and theatrical experiences. Currently new cameras are being made to capture these VR stories, with tools for uploading and livestreaming them. Exciting times ahead don't you think so?

 

Education & simulation

Imagine making students in an African university classroom take a group trip to ancient Mesopotamia? Seated on one spot but teleported to far away places and learning in the process? That would be incredible! From medicine, chemistry, physics, to astronomy, VR can be used to model the world in an incredibly visual way. This means also that it can allow those worlds to be both expanded and shrunk, played with and entered. VR simulations can offer tremendous opportunities to practice otherwise risky techniques, designs and ideas digitally. For instance, ,students can try lab simulations of open-heart surgery without any risks.

 

Tourism & exploration

Talking about the inherent ability for telepresence or being teleported to far distances, VR systems can enable virtual tourism in a very unique way never known to man. One could visit Paris, Venice, or even the bottom of the ocean from a spot in his sitting room or bedroom. It could just be a 360-degree video someone else shot, or a computationally generated 3D simulation, but the fact is; one can shut out the real world and replace it with any destination of choice. And if you recorded the experience with a 360-degree camera, you have the added advantage of exploring your own memories anytime, any day, reviewing some of th things you may have missed during the adventure.

 

Retail Shopping & Real Estate

The interactive nature of VR is being explored in the retail industry as a means to replace our traditional static web page eCommerce sites. Imagine being able to tour a prospective home from miles away, walking right through the property as if you were there instead of leafing through web pages online. Imagine placing life-size models of your own furniture into that house, to see if they fit. Now imagine walking into a virtual clothing store with infinite shelf space, where you can see and try any shirt, blouse or pair of shoes on sale. Shopping as we know it will never be the same again.

 

Design, Home Decor & Artistry

With Virtual Reality technology, one can build a real home with virtual tools, or even design parts for a new car as if it already existed in the real world. Imagine painting a 3D masterpiece while collaborating with friends around the globe. Apps and wand-like controllers are already making VR an amazing playground. Soon enough, these tools could become indispensable for a new generation of 3D design.

 

Psychology & Meditation

One concern people have for VR systems is the possibility that if and when it becomes ubiquitous, cheaper an widely used, it will promote isolationism. VR can become a private space for one's mind. It will be a place to relax and think. Or it can be a place to explore something uncomfortable in a protective simulation. Virtual worlds can be very removed from the real world, or be labs to explore human behavior. Studies have shown that VR is so distracting, it can be a surprisingly effective painkiller compared with traditional medicine.

 

Photo: Getty

 

Social Network & telepresence

Whether we can actually connect and meaningfully communicate across distances through VR is not clear yet, but developers are already experimenting with the possibilities. I imagine multiple connected entities chatting, interracting, maybe even touchy-feeling each other live through inhabiting a telepresence robot copy of users' image with cameras mounted on its body. Just because you’re inside a headset doesn’t mean you are alone. For instance, one could jump into a video game avatar to chat and play, or commute to work by inhabiting a telepresence robot with cameras mounted on its body. Since we are often affected by what we see and hear, a social network of VR connected individuals could be affective and that would be a new challenge for mankind's relationships and business. 

 

Now that's some real disruptive and exciting technology there. What do you think? Next up, Augmented Reality, AR...what's the difference? Stay tuned to this blog!

 

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