As a tech expert, I understand that technology is all about making people’s lives easier. What’s the point of developing tools that don’t solve common, everyday life problems? Nowadays, many companies are making huge investments in Virtual Reality (VR) tech – because they see the future in it. Several ISP companies, like Spectrum internet service, are even experimenting with introducing VR into their standard service arrangements.
However, in order to understand the importance of modern VR tech, it is worthwhile to differentiate it from its close Augmented Reality (AR) cousin.
Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality
Put simply, virtual reality, which has been around since the 80s, is meant to immerse you into a parallel, artificial universe. This can be a game, movie, computer simulation of space, or even a cartoon session. When people put on a VR headset, they become disconnected from their immediate surroundings. And when VR eyepieces are linked with pressure-sensitive arm and leg pads, the virtual experience is made even more real.
Popular gaming consoles like the PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox come with their own VR gear. PC and mobile phone users normally have to pay a little extra to get these headsets. But as anyone used to playing games in VR can relate, the investment is totallyworth it.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, does not require users to leave their actual reality behind them. On the contrary, what it does is that it adds to their existing reality in interesting ways. Holograms, which are light projections, are a good example of how this technology is soon expected to gain mainstream usage.
AR has an edge over VR from the commercial, marketing perspective, because it doesn’t require any extra equipment pieces to be worn. Many marketing specialists predict that it will be widely used by brands like Pepsi and Coca Cola in the upcoming years. Special AR booths will showcase newer beverage lines to excited customers in a way that is sure to drive profits up.
3 Helpful Ways in Which VR Tech is Being Used Today
Many new startups are currently using VR tech to improve their products & services delivery. A few of these common usages are listed as follows:
- Helping People Get Over their Public Speaking Anxiety
Since VR is designed to construct artificial realities at the click of a button, its applications for helping people get over their different phobias come naturally. One such phobia is the fear of public speaking.
All of us, at some point in our lives, experience the paralyzing panic attacks that come with having to address large audiences. I know I did, when I was forced by a particularly cruel primary school teacher to recite a ‘girly’ poem in front of my 1st grade classmates.
Luckily, neat mobile applications like Virtual Orator and Panic Lobster are there to help people get rid of their public speaking anxiety. Using basic VR tech, they put their users into simulated environments where they can freely practice speaking their heart out.
These apps also feature situations in which users are forced to speak in front of rowdy audiences – something which definitely helps to check their hesitation.
- Bladder Tumor Detection
An app called White Rhino is currently being used by many urologists in their attempts to detect tumors in the bladder. The bladder is a hard place for most diagnostic tools like MRIs and CT scans to penetrate through. But VR-enabled technologies, like the app mentioned, equip doctors with the ability to track cancerous changes on the cellular level.
This early detection is crucial for checking cancer before it turns aggressive, and claims the lives of patients.
- Employee Workplace Coaching
Many popular American retailers like Walmart, Costco and Home Depot are actively using VR tech to train their employees. These training sessions feature real-life simulations of customer interaction, and put special focus on teaching conflict-resolution skills.
Since in the shopping (retail) business ‘the customer is always right’ idea reigns supreme, these sessions prove very helpful in the long run. And particularly for those workers who have some hard-pressed emotional issues of their own to deal with.
Virtual reality, as a subject, has been extensively covered in a number of popular Hollywood productions. Blockbuster hits like The Matrix Trilogy and Tron: Legacy (2010), watchable with Charter Spectrum cable packages, feature some central discussions on its usage. But as a tech enthusiast myself, I find the real-life applications of VR – particularly in the field of medicine – to be more exciting.