Imagine this: Instead of taking a classroom on a field trip 100 miles away, teachers may be more likely to hand out virtual reality (VR) goggles and conduct “field trips” from the comforts of their own school. But why stop at 100 miles? With VR, you can virtually travel around the world.
This isn’t some futuristic sci-fi movie. Someday in the not-too-distant future, VR will be part of everything. To a small degree, it has already started.
Here are 10 of the biggest innovators in VR, working in various industries and with very different real-world applications.
As is often the case, Google is proving to be the business to beat in the VR space. The company introduced VR with Google Cardboard, which worked in conjunction with a person’s smartphone, and now there’s the Daydream View headset.
Next up for Google is a likely move into the classroom, where their kits will help students experience faraway locations for educational purposes. The company’s principle VR filmmaker recently speculated on how VR will someday let us relive memories much later.
Think what it would be like to relive your childhood birthday parties as though you’re there again. That’s the future of VR, and it sounds spectacular.
One of VR’s most promising features is its ability to bring people into the same room, even when they’re located on opposite sides of the globe.
AltspaceVR specializes in taking video conversations to that next level. Their tech still involves avatars, which some professionals don’t find all that compelling. Still, being able to create an avatar that plays games with an avatar of your best friend or colleague has some benefits.
In the not-so-distant future, this type of tech will move beyond the avatar phase, supplying those friends in a more human-like form.
Whether they’re jamming with their buddies or performing on a stage, musicians need other people. NOYS gives musicians the opportunity to play in virtual venues, with listeners “attending.”
The theory is that once an artist begins to build a fan base on the platform, that artist will then have the backing to book venues in locations of their choosing. But VR will likely also give musicians a chance to hang out with others in the same genre for virtual jam sessions. The demand is there and gaming manufacturers are already starting to address it.
Perhaps the coolest VR tech is more of a hybrid of virtual reality and real reality. Magic Leap has this covered, bringing “mixed reality” to schools. As the company’s highly-visual website demonstrates, Magic Leap overlays images on the world right in front of the viewer, superimposing outside images on a viewer’s classroom, office, living room or other space.
This type of technology could not only be a great way for students to learn and consumers to play, but it could have other practical applications, such as helping new medical professionals during surgery.
If you fear heights and go to a therapist about it, you may find yourself standing on top of that therapist’s building. It’s called immersion therapy. Virtually Better, Inc., lets patients face their fears from the safety of a therapist’s office. More than 50 separate virtual environments are available for therapists to use in their practices with treatments available for children and adults.
What’s VR without the movie industry? A group of Academy Award-nominated movie studio professionals have collaborated to launch Holor Media, bringing VR to the silver screen. IMAX is already forecasting a future where audiences immerse themselves in the films they’re watching rather than simply watching.
It’s one thing to say people in other countries are suffering. It’s quite other to see it. RYOT is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that helps people experience life in developing nations, as well as areas that have been impacted by a disaster.
In the future, this tech could also be used to let donors interact directly with the populations they’re helping.
Smart TVs are one of the next big steps for VR. Littlstar’s app was designed specifically for Sony’s Bravia Android televisions, letting viewers watch VR content on Showtime, Discovery and ABC.
What’s better than watching sports on TV? Sitting in the front row at the actual event, of course. VOKE allows sports fans to enjoy a game from the point of view of an audience member.
The technology isn’t limited to sporting events, either. VOKE can be used to virtually attend concerts and other live events. Soon, fans will be able to buy a ticket to the Super Bowl and be there without having to add a plane ticket to that expense.
With all of this innovation, gamers still claim the VR realm as theirs. Companies likeSURVIOS meet gaming demand by creating powerfully immersive gaming experiences. The company is already a leader in its field, and its critically acclaimed game Raw Data will soon be moving into arcades around the globe.
But VR won’t always be limited to arcades. Someday soon, gamers will wonder how people ever settled for manipulating avatars around a screen.