17 Mar Real-World Applications of Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has been a point of interest in IT for almost as long as computers themselves have existed. Currently it represents the convergence of multiple disciplines and skill sets in IT coming together as more than the sum of their parts. In this article, we explore some key points in the development of the technology. We also look at some of the applications that exist for it now.
A Brief History
The earliest attempt at a sort of virtual reality was Marton Heilig’s Sensorama in 1962. An attempt at a more immersive cinema experience, it would be the first step on the path to the many modern technologies and platforms that exist today. A short time later, Ivan Sutherland would present the first “true” virtual reality system to the world. The Sword of Damocles, unveiled in 1968, immersed users in a computer driven simulation. Basic by modern standards, it was impressive at the time and illustrated that the concept could work.
It would be another 19 years of development and technological innovation before the term Virtual Reality would be coined to describe these immersive computer-simulated worlds. In the 1990s, we would see the first consumer virtual reality systems, such as Nintendo’s Virtual Boy. As innovative an attempt to take virtual reality into the mainstream it was, the technology was not yet up to the task.
Over the 2000s, the technology would continue to develop until the 2010s, where it would truly come into its own as a viable product commercially. This is when we would start to see products like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. These products would set the stage for virtual reality in years to come, laying the groundwork for a generation of gaming enthusiasts, while the power and graphical capabilities have meant applications for VR have grown beyond just entertainment to serve a variety of functions.
Applications of Virtual Reality
Gaming: A factor in driving the development of the technology to its current state, this is still the largest commercial use of VR, with the PS VR2 and Oculus Quest 2 currently occupying centre stage.
Real Estate: The applications here are far ranging, allowing for everything from full home tours in virtual reality to fully envisioning the layout of a house before the first brick is ever laid. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more and more.
Medicine: For surgeons in particular, the advancement of virtual reality has been huge. , Cutting down on the need for cadavers when training for a variety of procedures, and providing the opportunity to learn and practice in a high-quality simulated environment.
Tourism: An interesting application of virtual reality is in the tourism industry. Allowing you to get a quick, interactive preview of the places you can go!
As the technology develops, the applications for virtual reality will continue to increase. While the current state of virtual reality is hugely impressive and will only get better, it is always worth reflecting on the journey that led us here. The journey of virtual has been one of continued innovation, and the future is bright and exciting with new uses that will no doubt prove ever more interesting and useful .
If you are interested in learning more about the state of IT and upcoming technology, our article on Cloud Computing can be found here.
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