Although VR is being prominently used for video games and entertainment purposes today’s lecture introduced us to other ways and applications VR is used for.
Virtual Reality is slowly making its way into the medical scene and is revolutionising healthcare. One way it is doing so is through surgical training programs used to train and prepare surgeons for real-life operations, giving them room for error without putting anyone’s life in danger. And no, I am not talking about Surgeon Simulator here.
We also have “robot surgeons” such as the Da Vinci System which allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into smaller, precise movements reducing the chances of errors.
It is also being used to cure soldiers who are diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) by simulating warfare and traumatic events that the soldiers have experienced. By doing so, the soldiers are then able to learn how to deal with certain situations whilst being in a safe and controlled environment. This treatment dates as far back as 1977 Georgia Tech released something called Virtual Vietnam VR.
Gaming & Entertainment
VR is taking the gaming industry by storm as everyone is trying to create more immersive gameplay by the use of devices such as the Occulus Rift.
VR is also taking Theatre & Performing to a whole new level.
Thanks to VR, communication interfaces are evolving and creating a more vivid and global communication experience. There is now potential to create computer generated worlds that incorporate most of the human senses in 3D without any physical boundaries.
We also looked at VR as a method of enhancing teaching and learning experiences. An example of this is Lecture VR which is a tool that allows users to hold meetings, educators to hold classes and content creators to create immersive experiences. It not only brings people together from all over the world but also enables you to replay lectures infinitely allowing you to learn in a more visual and engaging way.
The C.A.V.E. System & Haptic Interaction
The Cubic Automatic Virtual Environment is a cube or sphere-like space which displays images by a series of projectors and uses tracking devices such as kinect and mocap sensors to track the movement of the user. It also incorporates audio and video elements in order to create a fully immersive environment in which a person can lose themselves in completely.
The users are also able to interact with their environment by the use input devices such as joysticks and wands. More sophisticated devices used are haptic device such as gloves which gives the user the ability to interact in a more tangible fashion, allowing them to pull, twist and grip objects.