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Applications of virtual reality

1)Virtual Reality in the Military:

Virtual Reality has been adopted by the military – this includes all three services (army, navy and air force) – where it is used for training purposes. This is particularly useful for training soldiers for combat situations or other dangerous settings where they have to learn how to react in an appropriate manner.

A virtual reality simulation enables them to do so but without the risk of death or a serious injury. They can re-enact a particular scenario, for example engagement with an enemy in an environment in which they experience this but without the real world risks. This has proven to be safer and less costly than traditional training methods.

2)Virtual Reality in Healthcare:

Healthcare is one of the biggest adopters of Virtual Reality which encompasses surgery simulation, phobia treatment, robotic surgery and skills training.

One of the advantages of this technology is that it allows healthcare professionals to learn new skills as well as refreshing existing ones in a safe environment. Plus it allows this without causing any danger to the patients.

3)Virtual Reality in Fashion:

Fashion is not something that immediately springs to mind when thinking about virtual reality but nevertheless, it is used by the fashion industry in a variety of ways.

These include:

VR software for building virtual fashion stores

Fashion show in Second Life

3D avatars (virtual humans) to help with clothes design

3D fashion portfolio

4)Virtual Reality in Business:

Virtual reality is being used in a number of ways by the business community which include:

Virtual tours of a business environment

Training of new employees

A 360 view of a product

Many businesses have embraced virtual reality as a cost effective way of developing a product or service. For example it enables them to test a prototype without having to develop several versions of this which can be time consuming and expensive.

5)Virtual Reality in Media:

This article discusses the various ways virtual reality is used in the media. This includes radio, television, music and film as well as books and the arts.

Virtual reality in film and TV

Virtual reality has featured in several film and television programmes. It is often used to illustrate the concept of being trapped within the machine (or in this case, cyberspace), or as a form of advanced technology.

Examples of VR inspired films include:

  • The Lawnmower Man

  • The Matrix

  • Tron (1982 version)

  • The Thirteenth Floor

  • eXistenZ

  • Vanilla Sky

And then there are television programmes such as selected episodes of Doctor Who, Red Dwarf and Star Trek: The Next Generation which utilise virtual reality technology

6)Virtual Reality in Telecommunications:

Telecommunications is another field which has utilised virtual reality technology, in particular mobile communications which enables easy access to a variety of VR based projects.

The main challenge is that of dealing with a medium which mainly relies upon tone of voice, intonation, gesture and body language as compared to spoken words. In fact, spoken words only account for a very small percentage of the overall communication.

But traditional forms of communication such as the telephone are being superseded by video conferencing, Skype and live chat. These communication mediums can be used on the internet and other similar systems and are seen as cheaper and more flexible.

Telecommunications can be used to help virtual reality systems such as surgery simulation or telemedicine. An example of this is remote surgery in which images from that surgery can be transmitted to various locations around the world. It also enables surgery to be performed in remote locations using robotic technology and virtual reality.

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