There aren’t many who can truly understand the full potential of virtual reality. Past, present, and future applications of this groundbreaking, immersive technology set the tone for how people will determine its role in society. Is it only for video games? Fun 3D experiences? Or can it be used for far more practical purposes?
In order to plot an idea of where VR tech could potentially take us, it’s important to know some basic historical background to understand why exactly it was created. The historical context and implications of Virtual Reality can help us understand this technology. Let’s explore its origins, genesis, and evolution to know how it may help humanity create a better future.
History Of Virtual Reality (VR)
Artistic illusions have always been of interest to people; panoramic paintings were the first pieces of art that challenged our reality, making us believe in an experience that may look and feel real but is, in fact, far from it.
The paintings filled the viewer’s sense of vision, making them part of an event or scene that may have been real in history, but has long since ended. This is how the first visionaries and creators began simulating our senses to create a more immersive experience.
Fast forward to 1929, where Edward Link created the link trainer- the first commercial flight simulator. It was eventually used to train pilots for the US military, and they purchased six of these machines for $3500 each.
A couple of decades later, the 1950s saw the development of the Sensorama by cinematographer Morton Hellig. This device was a theatre cabinet used to make short films that delivered a completely immersive experience for viewers.
Following this, Hellig designed the first VR Head Mounted Display, which led to a revolution in the VR world as motion tracking HMD and artificial reality became a possibility in the film world.
By the 90s, the public had direct access to the technology as arcade machines and computer games used them to create a realistic, completely brand new experience. Sega announced that it was working on revolutionary new VR glasses in 1993 – but that product never got past the prototype stage.
And now, VR has been so modified, elevated, and remastered since then, the applications are quite literally endless. In fact, dozens of industries have been or could be, affected by VR technology.
Over the last decade or so, the world has seen significant developments in the way people and businesses use VR. Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Sony are just a few of the big names with their own VR and AR divisions – and this is what they’ve been working on with regards to this technology:
Diagnostic images from ultrasounds or CAT scans are used for the construction of 3D models representing a patient’s anatomy.
These models help professionals in detecting tumors and placing surgical incisions or procedures. Virtual reality in medicine can also be used in speeding up the rehabilitation process by engaging the senses to practice day to day activities or as a unique marketing tool like virtual tours to help ease patient anxiety about unfamiliar medical facilities.
Automotive development in the modern world also depends on virtual reality. Many leading car manufacturing companies use virtual reality in their automotive development department to critically inspect the prototypes and the different elements within.
Virtual reality is also changing the way we shop with the help of applications that provide a virtual tour of the entire online store, making it easier for you to choose a product of your liking.
- Other Virtual Reality Uses
The cutting edge technology is also making significant inroads in space research, revamping the education structure, and military spending.
Virtual Reality Predictions
With VR transforming our lives, it will be interesting to see what the future has in store for us.
AR and VR are merging to create mixed-reality that can amplify experiences such as social interactions. We may even see handheld devices that enable VR interaction and don’t cost a lot either.
Interestingly enough, there are also hopes that the technology becomes more accessible as VR headsets slim down and start looking more like sunglasses.
The fact of the matter is that VR will continue to find new uses – the technology is here to stay. And the chances are that it already can impact your health care business and its customers.