Virtual reality technology has made leaps and bounds in the recent past, going from a setup you need an entire room for to now limiting it to just a headset and two controllers, and the future potential that the technology can turn into. The technology has made great advancements through the course of time and will continue to greatly advance as time moves on. The possibilities of this technology are near endless for implementation in different fields from medical training to military simulation.
Virtual Reality Technology has come a long way from being a simple machine designed to combine two separate images “In 1838, scientist Sir Charles Wheatstone outlined the concept of “stereopsis” or “binocular vision” – where the brain combines two images (one from each eye) to make a single 3D image… Stereoscopic displays are used in today’s VR systems to bring a sense of depth to digital images – thereby enhancing the feeling of immersion”(Marr).
The leaps and bounds in the advancement of this technology, coming from this simple machine to the first use of the term “Virtual Reality” is a significant time difference but the advancements only speed up from there “In the 1980s, new technology emerged to enhance the VR experience. The first company to sell VR goggles and gloves, VPL Research Inc, was founded in 1985 – and it was one of VPL’s founders, Jaron Lanier, who coined the term “virtual reality” in 1987”(Marr). With the first true “Virtual Reality” equipment in use the more things began to implement the VR tech. Arcade machines would simulate motion, and the NFL began to show a yellow line over the live broadcast to indicate the yard marker (Marr). More and more little things began to involve the use of virtual reality and augmented reality, these uses called for rapid evolution of the technology, which is exactly what happened ““In 2010, 18-year-old Palmer Luckey created the prototype for the Oculus Rift VR headset. With its 90-degree field of vision and use of computer processing power, the revolutionary headset reignited interest in VR”(Marr). The creation of the oculus rift allowed for the widespread use of VR to the general people. The use of the technology opens a lot of doors for real world applications of this technology for a variety of different purposes.
The ways that VR technology is being used in day to day life vary drastically, one of the biggest things that it is being used for is training in many different fields. In the medical field VR is being used to train people for a variety of different situations “Current medical training has shifted from the rote memorization of facts to imparting skills to use facts to arrive at a proper management strategy when faced with a given patient. This training includes problem-oriented learning, communication skills, and VR-based learning”(Thomas). Aside from just training the technology is also being used for preparation of operations, instead of a team of surgeons going in completely unprepared the tech allows for the team to go through the entire process time and time again “Virtual reality is useful in planning complex operations beforehand, such as neurosurgical procedures, as it helps the surgical team walk through the whole surgery and rehearse their planned intervention”(Thomas). This technology has opened a countless amount of possibilities for not just the medical industry but for military use as well. Anything from combat training to simulated space exploration are uses for this technology. The tech has greatly allowed for use in the mental preparations of military forces “VR enables trainees to go through preparation with minimal risks and even helps soldiers suffering from battlefield trauma to overcome these conditions and prepare for new or unexpected situations”(Alcanja). Allowing for a soldier to have an idea of what an actual combat scenario is like without subjecting them to any physical harm is a great tool for military use. All of these uses for this technology can only lead to more advancements in the technology.
VR technology can be the gateway to many technological breakthroughs, with the massive number of possible applications of the technology being used for any sort of task or purpose the tech will continue to advance and adapt to the needs of people. The implementations of this tech can used in anything from navigation systems on a fully autonomous vehicle to simple recreational activities “Simultaneous Localization And Mapping is currently used in TESLA’s autopilot and summon, two core elements of the car’s technology that let the vehicle process the surroundings in order to avoid crashes, understand how much battery is left and other vital pieces of information”(Matthews). The eventual possibilities for this technology can be used to map out and create entire situations and environments for a variety of different purposes “we can easily say that the future of such simulations will be relying on Virtual and Augmented Reality combined and not just in a video game-related scenario”(Matthews). Eventually there will be technology available to the public that will allow for complete immersion into whatever they desire. This will allow for someone to experience things they would otherwise be unable to do “By combining physical peripherals and VR ones like Oculus or HTC Vive, the user will be fully absorbed in an experience which will lead him to a better understanding of the experience itself”(Matthews). Allowing for the general public to be more connected than ever with what the world has to offer.
The future of VR technology is extremely promising with a lot of different teams of developers continuously trying to improve on what we have now “This is an exciting time for VR and AR developers, no doubts about it. The entire tech market is moving towards that direction and we can expect a big business growth in the next years. Virtual Reality is indeed taking over”(Matthews). Overall VR technology is in the process of evolving rapidly. It is being used for training, exploration, and therapy. The future of VR technology is extremely promising and has the potential to lead to fully virtual environments. Virtual Reality can open many different opportunities for people to develop skills and experience things from the comfort of their own home.
Alcanja, D. (n.d.). Virtual reality applications: 10 Industries Using Virtual Reality. Trio Developers. Retrieved March 20, 2022, from https://trio.dev/blog/virtual-reality-applications
Marr, B. (2021, May 17). The fascinating history and evolution of extended reality (XR) – covering AR, VR and mr. Forbes. Retrieved March 20, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2021/05/17/the-fascinating-history-and-evolution-of-extended-reality-xr–covering-ar-vr-and-mr/?sh=31d563d74bfd
Matthews, P. (2019). The future of VR and AR: IEEE Computer Society. IEEE Computer Society The Future of VR and AR Comments. Retrieved March 20, 2022, from https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/trends/the-future-of-vr-and-arThomas, D. L. (2021, January 11). Applications of virtual reality in Medicine. News. Retrieved March 20, 2022, from https://www.news-medical.net/health/Applications-of-Virtual-Reality-in-Medicine.aspx