Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound..
This may seems like a lot of effort, and it is! What makes the development of virtual reality worthwhile? The potential entertainment value is clear. Immersive films and video games are good examples. The entertainment industry is after all a multi-billion dollar one and consumers are always keen on novelty. Virtual reality has many other, more serious, applications as well.
There are a wide variety of applications for virtual reality which include:
Head-mounted displays or HMDs are probably the most instantly recognizable objects associated with virtual reality. They are sometimes reffered to as Virtual Reality headsets or VR glasses. As you might have guessed from the name, these are display devices that are attached to your head and present visuals directly to your eyes. At a minimum, if a device conforms to those two criteria you may consider it an HMD in the broadest sense.
HMDs are not the sole purview of virtual reality, they have been used in military, medical and engineering contexts to name but a few. Some HMDs allow the user to see through them, allowing digital information to be projected onto the real world. Something which is commonly referred to as augmented reality..
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..
Virtual reality games are becoming very popular with many teenagers who love the graphics, animations and best of all, being able to talk to others. After all, what could be better than the chance to interact with top end technology and without any adults to get in the way?
These games are available for Xbox 360, PS2 and 3 as well as the Mac and PC so whatever console you use there is a VR game for that. This is pretty cool when you think about it.
These games are mostly aimed at teenagers but there are few which are designed for adults. .
Then there is the fact that children today are familiar with all forms of technology and use these at school as well as at home. They have grown up with technology from a very early age and unlike adults, do not have any fear or hesitation in using it.
Plus we live in a technological society. So it makes sense to implement virtual reality as one of several forms of technology in order to educate tomorrow‘s technological elite. Education has moved on from books, pencils and pens to the use of interactive technologies to help impart knowledge and understanding..
Technologies change society and sex is always a fundamental part of any society. So it stands to reason that a technology that changes sex itself could have a double impact. It’s not only virtual reality, but related technology such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics that are set to change how humans conduct their sex lives in the future. Already some ethicists are calling for a pre-emptive ban on sex robots. The same argument against sex robots would hold true for virtual entities..
Augmented reality has a wide range of applications in several industries and thanks to the rise of consumer smart devices and overall computing technology developments it now has lots of potential in the mainstream consumer space as well.
Augmented reality is likely to worm its way into our daily lives more and more in the 21st century. Once wearable computers become more common it won’t be strange to see people interacting with and reacting to things that aren’t there from your perspective. Thanks to technologies such as augmented reality the way we work with computing devices and think about the divide between digital and analogue reality is likely to change fundamentally.