Virtual Reality: A Real Boon

Virtual Reality. What comes to our minds when you hear those two words? If you have been to engineering fests, you might be familiar with the Oculus Rift stalls. There you can play games after wearing that huge, bulky headset. Most of us identify virtual reality with games. But is that the only sector where virtual reality can be used? Certainly not. Virtual Reality (VR) has become cheap these days, and it is only going to get cheaper with various mobile companies launching their VR headsets so that an average consumer can enjoy virtual reality anywhere. If you think those options are still bit on the expensive side, you can choose the Google Cardboard which costs only 1.5k!

Soon virtual reality will be accessible to everyone. But how can we efficiently make use of this technology? Flight simulation for pilots in training is one such application which has made the course more cost effective without compromising on the quality. Virtual reality can solve many different problems. It can be useful for many different jobs. 

1: Tactical Military Training Simulations

Remember that scene in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare where Mitchell trains in an op extraction simulation? VR plays a vital role in combat training for the military. It allows the recruits to train under a controlled environment where they have to respond to different types of combat situations. A fully immersive virtual reality that uses head-mounted display (HMD), data suits, data glove and VR weapon are used to train for combat. This setup allows the training’s reset time to be cut down and allows more repetition in a lesser time. The fully immersive training environment allows the soldiers to train through a wide variety of terrains, situations, and scenarios. War is a dangerous frontier. It makes soldiers nervous. This nervousness may spell doom for them and their teams. If they are trained on these simulations, they will not panic when the real mission comes around. Besides training, VR can be used to draw up battle plans and identify the optimal way of minimising casualties and complete the task at hand.

2: Therapy

Face your fears to overcome it. It is best displayed by Samsung’s #Befearless campaign. For those of you who are not aware, Samsung has launched a campaign where they ask people about their phobias and then make them face their fears using the Samsung VR Gear. They are made to train on it at various levels of intensity. And after the training module is complete, they are made to face their fears in real life. A person with a fear of heights is made to zip line from the top of a building. This application can be used in the real world on a commercial scale to treat people all over the world of various psychological phobias. 

3: Preserving heritage

Virtual Reality can be used to preserve our architectural heritage. Those of you who have been to Taj Mahal know that it is in a bad shape. Though efforts are being taken to prevent further deterioration, the monument is no longer the same. Sadly, the same can be said about many of our monuments which are victims of pollution, vandalism or time. Virtual reality helps recreate heritage sites. This technology can be used to develop virtual replicas of caves, natural environment, old towns, monuments, sculptures and archaeological elements.

4: Urban Planning

It has path-breaking applications in the field of urban planning. Builders and architects can get a complete view of how the project will turn out to be with the minutest detail. European cities are leveraging their data sources to address high-priority objectives: to reduce traffic congestion, improve energy efficiency, engage citizens, and present government as accessible and accountable. However, the approach today is typically project-based. More integration across organisational silos will be needed to achieve their longer-term goals such as economic growth and development of an indigenous tech sector.

Besides these, VR is springing up with tonnes of applications as developers test the limit of their imagination. We are sure to see more such marvels in the days to come.