Not just a game: The Future of Virtual Reality

Being a fan of tech, and working in a gadget shop, I’ve seen how VR has taken the gaming world by storm. Just this week the release of the new VR motion controller system, Oculus Touch, left gamers declaring that VR has moved in to the next era. The new motion controls take the VR experience beyond the realm of the visual, as players are now able to use their own hands to enhance the experience of the game in ways that they could not do previously.

But as VR becomes more sophisticated, it will be interesting to see the effect this has on wider society. It has long been the case that technology must evolve to meet the demands of the modern workplace, so it’s likely that we will see more and more industries adopting VR to aid productivity, and creativity. In fact, some industries are already investing in this technology to enhance customer experience. US company Lowe’s Innovation Labs have created visualisation tools to enable customers to ‘intuitively envision the home of their dreams’ when undertaking home improvement projects.

Whilst it might not be too great of a leap to imagine the impact that VR could have on the retail industry, it was particularly interesting to read recent reports that an Australian hospital was trialing VR technology to help their patients relax, and even combat loneliness and isolation for those who were required to spend long periods of time in hospital. Might it be possible, then, that in the future doctors might prescribe VR as a kind of therapy? Recent evidence would suggest it could become a possibility within our lifetime.

The possibilities with VR, particularly in the workplace, are seemingly limitless. The rise of the open plan office could see employees upgrading to high-spec noise-cancelling Sennheiser headsets, or even VR headsets that would enable them to transport themselves to a completely distraction-free environment. We might even see the end of the office entirely, as telecommuting could evolve in to ‘VR-commuting’. Employees could transport themselves in to virtual workplaces from the comfort of own homes. VR might also become a new medium for artists to create their work, as well as a useful tool for engineers who could avoid building expensive prototypes by building virtual versions of their designs.

Whilst some of these predictions might seem a little farfetched in the present day, it is not unrealistic to imagine how VR technology may change the face of communication, creation and commerce in the future. We may not know exactly what the future holds for virtual reality, but one thing for certain is that it is a rapidly evolving field, that has the potential to transform the way we live and work. Technology makes the world a new place, and I for one, am looking forward to seeing what that will be.