Imagine yourself as an architect. You come to work and then get a call from a future homeowner who hires you to design their dream house. They tell you that they want 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, an indoor pool, some crazy living arrangements, and finally, a custom room for their incoming baby. What are you going to do? You could just start sketching out a floorplan, but then you remember that you live in the 21st century and you can use an Augmented Reality headset to visualize all of the intricate details of their request. Once you fire up the headset and finish designing in AR, you realize that half of the doors in the house can’t open correctly without hitting a wall or cabinet. Now, you can redesign your virtual floorplan so that all the doors can actually function and don’t hit walls upon opening. Without that handy AR headset of yours, you would have never been able to realize a huge flaw in your house design and your client would have most likely only realized that their doors don’t work when the house is finished — leaving them very, very angry.
This is what is possible with Augmented and Virtual reality. With an AR headset, architects would be able to visualize their floorplans in front of them and identify potential issues with it if there is any. Plus, it is generally nicer to be able to see your client’s house in front of you rather than on a piece of 2D paper or some whacky design software.
Now… let’s learn a little more about Virtual and Augmented Reality as well as their other applications in our world.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality or VR for short is essentially a computer-generated image that creates a perceived interactive environment around the user. It allows the person using the VR headset to be able to be fully immersed in a whole other world so that they can complete tasks from playing Flappy Bird to learning how to fly a plane.
VR can be accessed through a variety of different methods. The easiest way to do so is to buy a VR Headset — which there are many of. One can buy their very own from the likes of Google, Samsung, HTC, Oculus, and many more. Plus, these headsets are fairly cheap; ranging from $25 to $400.
What about Augmented Reality?
While VR creates a fully cut-off environment from the real world, Augmented Reality does not. AR superimposes a variety of computer-generated images onto the real world to provide a combined experience of both worlds. While many consumer headsets base themselves on VR technology, the enterprise market is shifted dramatically towards AR. For example, the Microsoft HoloLens (an AR headset) has applications from completing visualized surgeries to seeing real-time renders of complex objects such as cars. The HoloLens 2 is priced at $3500 — a number clearly out of reach for the everyday consumer. Instead, HoloLens is targeted towards businesses that can both afford the technology and use it for practical purposes such as those which were mentioned above.
The Applications of AR & VR
Now… to finally address the title of the article. AR and VR have a wide variety of applications. Along with the ones mentioned above, the possible applications of this technology include:
As mentioned before at the start, VR and AR can have huge implications in Architecture. An architect would finally be able to visualize their ideas and floorplans right in front of them to assist them with their job.
The Entertainment industry also has a vast amount of applications for AR and VR. For example, with the Samsung Gear VR, the user is able to watch anything from YouTube to Netflix right from the tap of the button on the side of their headset in an instant. This eliminates the need to go to movie theaters to watch the latest releases since the Gear VR can simulate a movie-theater-like environment when you watch the film of your choice. As an award-winning filmmaker myself, I can give this feature a huge thumbs up!
As mentioned before, the applications of AR and VR in medicine are absolutely incredible. As an example, a hospital can purchase a few AR headsets to train their surgeons and doctors on how to properly and carefully perform surgery or other medical operations such as dental work in a Dentistry.
VR especially can be used in the military to train America’s (or really any other countries’) next fighter pilots, submarine operators, and tank drivers. With the exponential capabilities of VR and AR, anything is possible, especially in the military field.
And the list goes on… As you may be qualified to see, the uses of VR and AR are fairly vast. Now, it is just up to the people of our world to find out what is the next step in VR to advance our society for the better. Will it be you? Could you be the next one to create a revolutionary new VR or AR application in our world?
Hi! My name is Mark. I’m a 13-year-old student, a winner of over 16 national science and art competitions, a US Patent holder, and an Award-Winning Filmmaker that has special interests in technology, inventing, Augmented and Virtual Reality, cinematography, math, and helping my community.
Let’s connect! Add me on LinkedIn.
To learn a little bit more about me, feel free to visit my full resume here.