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VR’s Doing More For You Than You Know

The iPhone is a pivotal construct that goes beyond what its name implies. It has revolutionized modern society through advances in computing, and it fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. If you go back to 1876 and ask Alexander Graham Bell (the inventor of the first practical telephone) what the 2007 version of the iPhone would do, I think Bell would say, in some semblance or another, that the iPhone would simply make phone calls. In part, he is right, but over 1 billion iPhones have been sold not merely just because of its peer to peer audio transmission quality. Rather, it has adapted to EVERY vertical in an impactful way. From apple-picking to zoology, there is an app that will meet your needs.

VR is making a similar emergence as the 2007 iPhone. We are seeing greater and greater adoption, but more interestingly, we see VR breaching through the sky into multiple branches. We’ve crossed a point where VR is not just for gaming, but has become indispensable in areas like medicine, sports, education, communication, and collaboration. As VR becomes more mainstream, the uses of VR are only limited by where our imagination takes us.

Medicine

From PTSD therapies to training our future doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals, VR has has made some amazing impacts in medicine

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)/Fear Therapy

Many of us have a daunting fear of something in the world. Whether it be a snake slithering towards us on its belly, or the suffocating feeling as we enter an airplane that will carry you miles into the sky at hundreds of miles per hour, or the fear that is ingrained from the stress of the battlefield, ours minds have neuralogical passageways that make us feel uneasy and afraid. University of Southern California’s Institute of Creative Technologies is working tirelessly to help everyday people overcome their fears and learn to live lives not crippled by fear. Currently their program Bravemind uses VR-based exposure therapy to assess and treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Surgical Prep and Medical Schools

Surgeons are starting to adopt VR in everyday surgery preparations thanks to SpectoVive. Developed at the University of Basel, SpectoVive is an application that allows surgeons to have the most precise image possible of the body. The planning stage of a surgery is one of the most important factors pre-op, and to determine how best to carry out procedures and where to make an incision, surgeons need to obtain as realistic of an image as possible of anatomical structures such as bones, blood vessels and tissues is invaluable in saving many peoples lives!

Projections estimate AR/VR to grow to $5.1B market by 2025 in the healthcare industry. Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California’s J and K Virtual Reality Learning Center allows medical students to have immersive experiences in VR as they follow a Ms. Frizzle-esqe, “Magic School Bus” approach to learning the beauty of the human anatomy.

Sports

Athletic Training

Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.

— Norman Vincent Peale

Athletes dedicate years, if not decades, to this very idea. For an athlete, these repetitions are physically taxing to the body and can only be practiced under ideal situations, but with StriVR’s VR simulations, quarterbacks have the ability to practice anywhere at anytime. They are not only perfecting their minds but also creating those essential automatic reflexes, while preserving the health of their bodies.

VR does not stop there. As an avid Atlanta Falcons fan currently residing in Cincinnati, OH, I am unable to watch my team’s home games.

VR is slowly changing that. Fox Sports VR lets you watch live sporting events in VR from your own suite. We are at a time where I can be in Ohio and watch the Falcons play in real time as if I was enjoying the experience in the stands of the stadium. Could you imagine the possibilities?

Super Bowl 52 just came to an end. What if you could be Zach Ertz catching the the game winning touchdown inside the final two minutes of the Super Bowl, seeing the angle and the goal line from his eyes, being able to experience the culmination of years of work and dedication to the sport? Although today, we only have the sideline or press box view, the reality of seeing the game from the eyes of your favorite start is not too far away!

Education

VR is also gaining traction in education. Schools are using VR technology to allow students to experience places and museums like never before. Companies are building tours that would take students in Plano, TX to the far reaches of the Amazon jungle, allowing children to have a deeper understanding of the geography that they are learning. Even the Smithsonian is releasing VR content to allow people to enjoy exhibits from the comforts of their classroom or home.

Applications like World of Comenius uses VR to allow students to play around with atoms and get intuitive “feel” of their behavior on the quantum level. They can swim in an animal cell. Students can interact and communicate with people and creatures that they normally would only read about. These experiences add another level of understanding from that which can’t be gained from black text on white paper.

Social Media/Entertainment/Communication

When Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014, it was going to mean big things for the world of VR. Facebook is the premier social media platform used by over 2 Billion people worldwide. Facebook took their social media giant and added a VR extension called Facebook Spaces. In Spaces, you can connect with friends and family in real time across the globe.

Facebook may have sparked the VR flame that is burning brighter than ever before, but the rest of the world is taking this flame and really starting a fire. NextVR just recently streamed an Imagine Dragons concert, LIVE. We’re crossing into a time where you will never have to miss your favorite band or musician ever again. You will never miss Nick Foles (or Tom Brady, if you’re a Pats fan) throw (or catch) an electrifying touchdown.

Conclusion

These are only a few avenues that VR has permeated. As VR technology advances, the uses for VR will become limitless. At Immersed, we are permeating the VR industry, revolutionizing the workplace by redefining the definition of the office and immersing you into a VR workplace.

No matter where you live, you can work with your entire team as if you were together under the same roof. If you found this article interesting, and you have some ideas for amazing applications of VR in everyday life, clap and comment below!

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Elson Mathew

Elson Mathew

I am an EMT turned Software Engineer at Immersed [Techstars ‘17]

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