You’ve probably seen those ’tilt & rotate’ videos on Facebook or different versions of virtual reality headsets. Virtual Reality is the next big thing in technology around the world. VR is becoming popular and once the initial excitement of 360 videos and photos wears off, you’ll realize that there can be many more applications. As headsets start rolling out ranging in prices from $10-$500, it’s important to understand the actual scenario where VR can be used and how they might affect us and the world we live in.
Virtual reality (VR) headsets are now being used in many industries as a way of training people or providing a new way to experience things. Apple, Microsoft Along with Samsung is developing VR Head Mounted Display. VR is being used in numerous innovative ways to make our lives a bit easier.
Here are some obvious uses of Virtual reality Headsets :
1. Adding dimensions to home shopping :
Urban areas are rapidly moving to a delivery-only model. From clothes, shoes to groceries, everything is moving to apps. The next logical step is VR shopping. Large retail chains are already experimenting with virtual shopping where you could `walk’ into a store, search for and examine the products you want and add them to your shopping basket. They will be delivered home without you ever leaving the couch. This could also progress to a mall which will have multiple shops under the same virtual roof.
2. Advanced healthcare
CT scans can pinpoint anomalies with great accuracy. The problem is, doctors have to view these scans on flat screens and prints. With VR, doctors can see scans in much greater detail and manipulate them in 3D space at will. This will mean a faster and better diagnosis. Other applications in medicine include remote surgical tools, risk-free training of health care professionals and in some cases, even treatment of patients.
3. Crime scene reconstructions
This is perfect for crime scenes because it can help find and analyses something that was missed earlier. Scenes can be photographed in 360 degree with advanced cameras and a series of events can be reconstructed at a later stage. The investigator will be able to put on a simple set of VR glasses and look around to discover more clues. This will be of more importance, when a crime scene’s integrity will not last for long such as on a busy street or inside someone’s home.
This is one area where VR has been used since the 1990’s. However, 2016 is pegged as the year when VR gaming might actually take off. There are so many games already available for different VR platforms. A number of developers including Valve and Sony have announced support for VR and are set to announce dedicated games. Improvements to smartphone displays and processing have also opened up the way for smartphone connected VR headsets for gaming.
DARPA has developed advanced software using Oculus Rift prototypes, to change Hacking from viewing lines and lines of code to an actual 3D World, where you can spot vulnerabilities graphically, without having much coding knowledge. This makes hacking much more easier and while it raises questions about the rise in hacking cases, one cannot deny that it is one of the more intuitive uses of Virtual Reality.
6. Live streaming of events
We always recall the OnePlus VR live stream of the OnePlus 2 smartphone. All you had to do was install the app and you could instantly view the launch event in 360 degrees using a Google Cardboard or similar headset. Samsung also offered a taste of VR at the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge launch in Barcelona a few weeks ago. Going ahead, this looks like a trend in the making. Viewers from all over can see events while sitting at home.
7. Military training
What makes the perfect soldier? It’s training — as much as possible. VR can supplement the actual training, putting soldiers in a safe environment while simulating all possible situations and enemies. This is currently being done with flight simulation and battlefield simulation. Advanced moving VR rigs can also place soldiers on moving platforms for better simulation.
When you put on a VR headset, it blocks all the ambient light and distractions so that your experience is not ruined. This makes VR a great option for watching videos and movies — it can actually make you feel as if you are sitting in a movie theater, complete with seats and a screen. Netflx already has a VR app, compatible with Samsung’s Gear VR headset. It shows content in 720p HD resolution.
At CES this year, NASA used this technology with the public to share the experience of what it’s like on board various spacecraft. People got a chance to see through virtual reality what astronauts would view when climbing into the Orion capsule at the top of the agency’s Space Launch System, which is slated for completion in 2018.
10. Virtual tourism
Since VR shows a 360-degree view, using it for virtual tourism is a no-brainer. VR demos of monuments, museums and popular tourist destinations likely number in the thousands.
11. Drone control
Drones are hot property and despite the ambiguity around their use in many parts of the world, numbers are only increasing. VR provides a way to control a drone even when you can’t see it. It is now possible to send a drone on a reconnaissance mission — it will send a live feed from its cameras to your VR headset so that you can remotely control it. Companies like FLYBi, Ghost Drone and CloudLightFPV have consumer-ready products out in this space.