Virtual Reality: Towards the Improvements of Life

March 9, 2017

Virtual reality opens up a gateway of possibilities among its users. By simply putting on a pair of technologically-advanced glasses also known as a VR headset, our sense of reality is altered through lenses that show a computer-generated environment, usually depicting something beyond what can be seen by the naked eye. The new world of VR promises great improvements in the way we do business, learn and entertain.

Through strategic marketing and initial novelty that VR headsets incite, this technology attracted more companies to explore the industry, making the market competitive and the consumers powerful; therefore, lessening the cost of experiencing virtual reality and making it more accessible than ever.

Now that VR is slowly trickling down to the masses, it’s time to go past the novelty and assess what good does this technology really bring us. Is virtual reality, after all, even worth the hype?

Entertainment

Perhaps the top-of-mind purpose of virtual reality is entertainment. The premise is that we crave for thrills, excitement, and an escape from the mundane. However, we’re also tied up with responsibilities and tasks to do each day that squeezing a leisurely walk in the beach in our schedule is almost too impossible.

Now, that’s the point where virtual reality comes to the picture. Without having to leave the comfort of your home, you can virtually hike the Everest, immerse yourself in a movie, and experience games while keeping it real as can be.

Cinemas today are what we call “framed”, meaning the space is fixed as dictated by the filmmakers. What sets VR cinema apart is the freedom in space — being non-framed but still sticking to a single perspective. So for us, cinema-goers, this means that we get to be bystanders to a story, allowing events to unfold right in front of us – virtually.

The bulk of existing VR content are games. In fact, the gaming industry has long been there in the history of VR since a range of arcade games and machines became available in the 90’s. Now games are no longer played; rather it is experienced. VR paved the way for immersive 360-degree motion-sensing play.

Education

Virtual reality in the classroom offers a fresh way of learning — a way that is literally outside the box, but through VR box. In fact, Google launched Expeditions, an initiative that makes use of virtual reality to take students to field trips virtually anywhere. Armed with only Google cardboard and an app, school kids around the world get to go to places without even having to leave the classroom.

A start-up company, Evanescent Studios, is also looking into the educative opportunities of VR by developing virtual language training apps. For trial purposes, they created a prototype that teaches Mandarin by letting students watch Chinese people engage in conversations. “We see a future where kids in history lessons are going back to revolutionary France and interacting with the people there,” said Marcus Storm, founder of Evanescent.

Professional

A VR-driven medical operation, a virtual shopping mall, a virtual real estate showroom — is there even a limit to what VR can do nowadays? The professional world is drastically changing as limitations of space and time are distorted by this new technology. In April 2016, with around 5,000 viewers across the globe, the first live virtual surgery was conducted by a surgeon from Royal London hospital. With this kind of ease of access to medical training, VR is practically on its way to help birth more practitioners everywhere.

In Victoria, a VR company began developing apps directed to proper dementia care. It has been found out after trial that exposing patients to positive virtual environments and activities incite a calming feeling among them.

With VR, sellers are given a new platform to engage customers. Entrepreneurs are looking into virtual retail shops or recreating their physical store into a computer-rendered one. Virtual walks in real estate properties are what clients get to experience nowadays. Imagine you walking through your new home before it has even been built. This space-saving opportunity allows for a reduction of operational costs while customers divulge into a whole new buying experience.

“We are working with property development businesses which in 2017 have completely discontinued the physical display homes for new apartment buildings, replacing it with walk through virtual reality” says Renato Dayan, CTO at Light Media.

Awareness

Despite being often overlooked, what we could thank virtual reality most for as a specie is that it is able to inform us and make us feel. Due to its immersive nature, users get to be in the shoes of someone or something else, becoming totally aware of a once farfetched concept, leaving behind the real and jumping to the virtual.

A group of Stanford scholars found that simply showing a video about environment hazard is not enough for people to understand the degree of damage there is in the planet. To address this, they devised a virtual scenario where users take the perspective of a coral reef under the ocean, constantly being belched out with damaging chemicals, and ultimately leading to the destruction of the reef.

At the time of immersion, users are the corals — they live as corals and become firsthand audience to the death of marine life. Through virtual reality, we experience the doom Mother Earth is headed towards if we do not act about it in the real world.

Virtual reality is such an exciting industry to explore. In Light Media, we are currently on the quest to create high-quality VR content geared towards either for your entertainment, education, profession, or awareness.

Virtual reality is this day’s real deal. Virtual reality is THE new reality.

Written by: Kriselle Marian Gueco

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