5 New VR Applications That Aren’t Gaming

By Avi Ben Ezra Saturday, July 11, 2020

Virtual reality (VR) may most famously be known as an exciting gaming gadget, but that certainly does not cover all of this innovative technology’s capabilities. Although experts admit that VR is still in its infancy, it shows a lot of promise.

Below we look at five areas in which VR is proving to be a valuable tool, creating immersive experiences and potentially improving lives.

VR in Education

VR has shown tremendous results in enhancing student learning and engagement. The immersion aspect sparks a different kind of motivation to absorb information and analyze problems as passive reading becomes an active observation. 

For example, what might have otherwise seemed like an uninteresting history lesson can become a new world to explore if students are “on location” watching events unfold through a VR headset. A large part of the population learns best through visuals, and this need is currently largely unmet in the education system.

Aside from the classroom learning aspect, VR can be used to take students on virtual field trips to visit places the school wouldn’t be able to take them physically.

VR in Psychology

In this category, one of the principal uses of VR comes into treating patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The primary method for treating patients with PTSD is exposure therapy, meaning that specialists present the patient with the very situation or group of factors that led to the disorder. 

The idea is that exposure to triggers in a safe environment can slowly help the patient feel less anxious when those situations arise again. VR could recreate such situations in a vivid but safe manner and, hence, be part of the patient’s treatment.

VR has also been used to help people on the autism spectrum who may have difficulties in interaction and handling social situations. Similarly, VR can be used to expose people to various types of social settings and interactions. This exercise would train them to manage them effectively before they come up and cause distress.

VR in Sports 

In the sports universe, VR has the potential to be a game-changer — literally. On the viewer’s side, sports fans could watch any game they wouldn’t be able to attend in person or follow an event they couldn’t afford full-price tickets for. This experience would allow broadcasters to introduce a new type of ticket and monetize on a whole new audience.

On the athlete and coach side, VR could provide a different and more thorough training experience. Situations can be repeated and watched closely to analyze technique and strategy. This practice could create new important insights to incorporate into future games and increase chances of winning.

VR in Culture

There are VR platforms that allow you to identically recreate an existing space or create a whole new one virtually. You can then upload photos or high-quality scans of exhibits, essentially building digital museums and galleries.

In this way, VR can give people from all around the world access to art and exhibitions that they might have otherwise never been able to see, whether due to physical, geographical, or financial reasons. Re-creating a museum space with VR means that people only need an Internet connection to explore art and historical artifacts, effectively making culture and history more inclusive instead of a luxury.

Another relevant use would be to have VR headsets available in museums as an additional layer of engagement with visitors. A virtual tour or clip about a piece could help them leave with more knowledge and memories than before.

VR in Astronomy 

Space agencies have thought up many uses for VR, both practical and entertaining. Exploring the universe is bound to be tricky, but it’s also a lonely task. NASA is developing ways to use VR to control robots and other instruments from Earth. It is also encouraging astronauts to use it for entertainment and relaxation while they’re on missions.

Additionally, VR technology has already been utilized to give the public an immersive space experience, such as what it would be like to enter a rocket, creating a different kind of awareness around human existence.

Moving Forward With VR

VR may still be developing in terms of technology and applications, but we will certainly see a lot more of it in the future. If major sectors like education and healthcare employ it as a regular tool, it may quickly become part of daily life within the next few years.

About the Author

Headshot of author Avi Ben Ezra

Avi Ben Ezra is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Cofounder of SnatchBot and SnatchApp (Snatch Group Limited). He leads the Group’s long-term technology vision and is responsible for running all facets of the tech business which includes being the architect of the platforms and UI interfaces.

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