I have stated several times that we are entering into a Virtual Reality Age, and with the HTC Vive ($799), the Oculus Rift ($599), the PlayStation VR ($399), and lower budget GearVR ($99.99) with other systems. It is about time to think of more uses for VR than just gaming. Yes, there are more uses to it than just a gaming device, and here are the top ten uses that will be talked about in the future as we enter into an age of virtual reality.
Gizmodo had about 8 uses for it, and there are actually a few more that they didn't mention. In fact, I will start with one that really should have been mentioned from the get-go.
1. Social Networking
Okay, the fact that Facebook bought Oculus says something, which means that Mark Zuckerberg and company saw its potential for people to get together in a virtual environment. After all, I use Facebook a lot for its Messenger feature, and today, I was talking to a whole group of people while sharing something important to me. Imagine being able to meet up with a group of friends at a virtual bar or coffee house, without ever having to leave your home! Most of you do this already in a chatroom, but just imagine being able to sit around your desk, turn your head, and see your friends near you so you can talk to them.
2. Historical Education
How would you like to be standing in the field where the Wright Brothers first took flight? Or stand on the beaches of Normandy while D-Day happens around you? Or sit in the capsule as Apollo 11 blasts off into space? The idea of VR is that the viewer could be anywhere, and wouldn't it be better to experience a historical event rather than read about it? I think we know what the next generations of learners would want, but it is possible that the news could make current events possible for viewers, provided they had some 360 cameras showing the event in real-time.
Already, there are Researchers at the University of Louisville working with the idea of using VR to treat anxiety disorders and phobias, and Stanford University is using it as practice spaces for surgeons. Granted, the real thing is different, but VR could be a step in the training before the junior doctor must cut up a corpse.
4. Military Training
It is necessary for soldiers to train with real-life situations, but why not first put them in simulations where it feels like they are there? Pilots have claimed that their first experience of flying was just like the simulator, but imagine if we had VR simulators of combat to better prepare soldiers for what it is like.
Yes, I said it, we could be headed into virtual evangelism. The issue is that most pastors appreciate face to face contact when discussing spiritual issues, so it just makes sense to set up a system where a pastor can meet with someone in a virtual environment (see use number 1 above). Granted, this might be difficult for the person on the other end, such as a senior citizen, to arrange. If we are headed into a VR age, then practically everyone will have a VR headset like practically everyone has a computer or cell phone.
I'm still not talking about gaming, but if you ever wanted to watch a film in a walk-in movie when the film is out of the theaters, a VR headset could be a decent substitution. Not only that, the way stories will be told with virtual reality could be as different as the transition from plays to film. Films like Hardcore Henry use a first person POV as a conceit, but imagine if you could be the main character in a storyline.
If scientists need to get inside an active volcano, they send in a robot. Just picture that robot with cameras on all sides, and you can set yourself up with a VR headset to feel like you are there. This could work for exploring Mars, before humans actually set foot on it.
8. Operating System
With a VR headset, the 2D screen that you use on your computer will be as large as your room, with icons floating all over the place. There will have to be a way to interact with it like a mouse, but assuming that the VR headset can handle it, you will be able to multitask better than before.
If you ever wanted to design a house, but were not certain what it would look like what it would look when it is finished, build it in VR. Chances are, you are going to see how the colors and space are going to come off in a VR setting before paying a contractor to assemble it.
This is the Gospel Herald, so I'm not going to say much about this. I will say that we could be entering an age where a big question will be: "Is Virtual Sex count as actual sex?"
Okay, that is ten things, in no particular order, that would be an excellent use for VR, in a non-gaming atmosphere. I believe that we will be seeing more of this in the future.