How VR Technology is Helping Improve Different Industries
With 2016’s launch of major VR systems like Facebook’s Oculus Rift, the HTC’s Vive, and PlayStation VR, as well as entry level smartphone-based options like Google’s Daydream and Samsung’s Gear VR, Virtual Reality technology has taken huge steps in incorporating itself into our everyday lives.
Although we have not yet arrived to the point where VR has become mainstream and is readily available in every home, with the growth VR has been experiencing in the past couple of years it is expected that we get to that point before the end of the decade. In fact, it is expected that earnings from VR products increase from $90 million USD in 2014 to become a massive $5.2bn market by the end of 2018, as well as adding 171 million new users.
While regular users are taking their time to embrace this fantastic new technology, there are plenty of industries that have seen the potential it offers to train their personnel in a completely safe environment, to work out kinks in their plans before bringing them to fruition, or to provide their customers with a much more immersive and satisfying experience. Let’s take a look at some of the different industries that have begun to embrace VR technology to evolve their craft.
Revolutionizing Healthcare Education
Doctors, surgeons and other healthcare professionals have always required real world professional experience in order to develop life or death skills. However, since it is impossible to provide them with the opportunity to work on these skills without putting their patients’ health at risk, they have had to rely on an archaic system that mainly consists of spending their residency years observing experienced professionals performing procedures, during until they are deemed fit to take a leap of faith and perform their own.
Startup companies like Osso VR have emerged to change what they call the “medieval training system” that’s been used for over a century, by creating virtual reality surgical training platforms that allow aspiring surgeons to simulate assembling and placing a tibial nails.
These kind of tools will not only ensure that doctors receive a hands on practical training before operating with humans, but is also sure to translate into lower liability insurance costs and fewer cases of malpractice and negligence.
Military and Police Training
Specialized military and police simulations and training exercises are not only extremely costly, but they can also present a certain degree of physical danger to trainees. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that Virtual reality training programs have been adopted law enforcement and by all three services of the military – Army, Navy and Air Force.
A virtual reality simulation enables training officers and soldiers to re-enact particular scenarios, such as a hostage situation for policemen or engagement with an enemy for army men, all within the confines of a safe environment. This will allow them to develop muscle memory and situational awareness without real world risks of death or a serious injury.
Out of all the military VR technology applications, military vehicle simulations – such as tank or flight simulators -have probably been the most successful. These simulators use state of the art computer models that can replicate a vehicle’s capabilities and limitations to provide soldiers a realistic experience that will prepare them for the real thing.
The online gambling industry, also known as the iGaming industry, has been quick to realize the potential of VR to redefine the way players interact with their games, using simulations of Vegas casinos and poker rooms to provide gamblers with a realistic social casino experience right from the comfort of their living rooms.
With studies showing that millennials are much more inclined to play casino games online than in brick and mortar casinos, VR technology can allow players to enjoy their favorite casino games in high definition 3d virtual environments that could potentially be unmatched in grandeur – even by Vegas standards.
Another strategy employed by leading online casinos such as VikingSlots, has been to offer live casino games, streamed from TV studios that emulate a real casino setting and feature human dealers you can interact with. Combined with VR, this strategy has aimed to replicate the brick and mortar casino experience to a dot.
It is estimated that one in five people in the USA have a diagnosable mental disorder, with the cost of lost productivity and medical expenses caused by psychological conditions and mental health disorders estimated to be $467 billion in the US, and a whopping$2.5 trillion globally.
While many of these disorders will require pharmacological intervention, techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy (ET) have been proven to be highly effective in conditions such as anxiety and panic disorder, PTSD, phobias, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Allowing patients to be gradually exposed to realistic simulations containing whatever causes them anxiety and fear from a completely safe location, over time this therapy will effectively lower the peak anxiety the person experiences when they are exposed to the real thing.
While VR has been used as a tool to provide exposure therapy to patients for decades, it is only now that it has finally become affordable and technologically advanced enough to go mainstream within the mental health community, allowing professionals to apply therapy remotely and thus reach more patients around the world.
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