The term virtual reality (VR) is used to describe a 3D computer generated environment (world) that an individual can explore and interact with. Virtual environments are immersive because they can fully control what you see, hear, feel and eventually what you will smell. VR was once regulated to our imaginations and could only be seen in sci-fi movies based far into the future. This has changed because VR is real and is slowly becoming mainstream.
Ways virtual reality is being used
Virtual reality is a technology that is being used in amazing and creative ways. This will continue to evolve as the technology becomes more cost effective. Here are a few examples of how VR is being used today.
- Therapy – VR is being used to treat people suffering from mental health issues. Doctors’ treat approximately 8 million adults suffering from PTSD in a year with virtual reality exposure therapy. This therapy pushes patients to recount their traumas, visualize it in their imagination and explain to the doctor what is happening as they experience the stressful scenario.
- Advertising – VR’s popularity is increasing in the advertising field. VR gives brands the ability to fully immerse consumers in a world or experience the brand can control. Alibaba used VR to bring their online store to the homes of consumers in China. Thomas Cook a U.K based tour company allowed people to “Try before you Fly.” They let potential customers visit locations using virtual reality before they went there. Facebook is using augmented reality and will eventually adopt VR as well. Virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, Cortana and others are slowly being integrated to help enhance VR experiences. Plus brands and advertising agencies are continuing to explore how VR can be used to sell products and capture consumer attention.
- Gaming – VR has taken gaming experience to the next level. In virtual reality gaming, a user can experience being a part of a 3D environment and can interact with that environment during the game. VR gaming is truly mind blowing and is one of the more popular uses for the technology.
- Sex – If the old saying “the internet is for porn” holds any truth then VR is this statement on viagra. The porn industry is an early adopter of virtual reality technology and has used it to help level up their customer’s fantasies.
- Training – Walmart and many big companies are using VR to train its employees and to help them experience real-world scenarios. Employees can experience a holiday rush or a mess in an aisle via VR, and learn how to effectively respond and handle these events. Sports teams are also using VR sets to help them get a competitive edge on the field. Standford football is leading the charge and has an impressive training simulator for their players.
How to get started with VR
To get started with VR you need to buy a virtual reality headset. A VR headset is a goggle like device that connects to your computer or phone to run VR apps and games.
Top four virtual reality headsets
Here are some best VR headsets on the market.
Google Cardboard is a great virtual reality headset that is cost effective and a good way to get started with VR. Google introduced Cardboard in the Google I/O 2014 developers’ conference. It is called Cardboard because it is made out of cardboard. It takes two minutes to set up and is compatible with the Android and iOS devices such as iPhone, Galaxy Note, Nexus, Pixel, Moto G, and more.
Did you know more than 10 million Cardboard viewers have been shipped and more than 160 million of Cardboard app downloads have been done through March 2017?
Price: Google Cardboard starts at $15.
2. Google Daydream
Google Daydream is similar to Google Cardboard but it is made of fabric instead of cardboard. It is compatible with Android (Nougat) smartphones. Daydream comes with a motion controller used to translate users’ gestures into apps and games. It works well with Google services such as YouTube, Street View and Photos. It also works with popular third party apps like Netflix and others.
Price: Daydream costs you $79.
3. Oculus Rift
Oculus Rift is one of the most popular virtual reality headsets. It is known for providing superior visuals and sound quality. This is because it features an OLED display with 2160X1200 screen resolution and comes with an integrated audio system. It also feature Xbox one controller that allows users to play a wide range of games.
A few Oculus Rift games you must try are: Minecraft VR, The Climb, Within, Henry, and more.
Price: Oculus Rift starts at $549. It includes the headset with built-in headphones and mic, movement sensor, remote and Xbox One controller.
4. HTC Vive
HTC Vive is one of the biggest competitors to Oculus Rift. It is compatible with apps and games for both Android and iOS users. It needs a computer to run its software.
A few features of HTC Vive are:
- It comes with a front-facing camera, which can convert real world into virtual environments in certain apps
- A base station to control your moments.
- A link box to connect it to your computer.
Price: HTC Vive starts at $799 and includes the headset, two base stations, two wireless hand-controllers, and a link box to connect it to your computer.
What will virtual reality be like in the future?
The VR market has made significant strides throughout 2017. As the price to create content lowers and more people get devices the use cases will increase. Virtual reality will be used to enhance everyday experiences. You will be able to explore an apartment on the other side of the country before buying. Watch a movie with your girl friend who is studying abroad. Or even visit the Grand Canyon with your friend who lives in Spain with out leaving your respective couches. VR will evolve to give you truly immersive full sensory experiences that are endless. Imagine watching Football on Sunday with your buddies from all over the country. VR will also make waves in the medical field. Treating PTSD is only a start. It could be used to treat a host of psychological conditions. All this considered the future for virtual reality is bright.