Application Areas of Virtual Reality

With this article the different application areas of virtual reality are introduced. Other than augmented reality virtual reality is not extending the physical environment with virtual elements. The aim is to create a completely independent virtual reality a user is able to interact with. The sensory experience can include sight, touch, hearing and even smell. [1]

Application Areas

The most popular fields in which virtual reality is present are:

  • Entertainment
  • Urban Design and Architecture
  • Training and Education
  • Medicine

The following chapters cover example applications of virtual reality to give a high level overview.

Entertainment

The first product which really caught the attention of the public eye was definitely the crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter for the Oculus Rift in 2012. [2]

In the meantime there have been many different products introduced to the market. In Tokyo, April 15th 2016 the first virtual reality exception opened for a limited time. It allows anyone to experience the fascination of virtual reality.  [3]

Urban Design and Architecture

Virtual reality can be used to plan large scale urban project as well as individual buildings. The core element is a three dimensional digital model of the planned development. This is especially useful for long term project and has been used for the development of the campus of the University of Cambridge. [4]

3D Model University Campus
3D Model University Campus [4]
Training and Education

The US Army is using virtual reality setups to train combat situations in an enclosed environment. This minimizes potential risks and allows to reset and simulate specific situations in a short amount of time. This minimizes costs and increases efficency.[4]

US Army – Virtual Reality Training [5]
Medicine

Virtual Reality is used to help individuals with a stroke or neurological disorder to recover. A patient is able to manipulate objects in a virtual environment which can be structured to provide audio-visual feedback. This promotes motor learning to improve the rehabilitation process. Specific living tasks are being practiced within the virtual environment, e.g. making a cup of coffee in a kitchen. Real-time motion capture helps the therapist to document change with the support of a software. [6]

Virtual Kitchen Setup [6]
US Army – Virtual Reality Training [5]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality

[2] http://video.golem.de/games/8816/oculus-rift-virtual-reality-brille-%28kickstarter%29.html

[3] http://gematsu.com/2016/03/bandai-namco-opening-vr-zone-tokyo-april-15

[4] S. Roudavski, “VIRTUAL ENVIRONMENTS AS SITUATED TECHNO- SOCIAL PERFORMANCES Virtual West Cambridge case-study,” 2010.

[5] http://www.army.mil/article/84453/

[6] D. White, K. Burdick, G. Fulk, J. Searleman, and J. Carroll, “A virtual reality application for stroke patient rehabilitation,” IEEE Int. Conf. Mechatronics Autom. 2005, vol. 2, no. July, pp. 1081–1086, 2005.

 

 

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