What is Virtual Reality? Current and Future Usability of VR Tehnology

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Virtual reality is such an amazing concept. By now, it should be clear to everyone that it’s much more than a gimmick. It offers an alternative — a portal into a digital world where anything is possible.

Introdction

Virtual reality (VR) the use of computer modeling and simulation that enables a person to interact with an artificial three-dimensional (3-D) visual or other sensory environment. VR applications immerse the user in a computer-generated environment that simulates reality through the use of interactive devices, which send and receive information and are worn as goggles, headsets, gloves, or body suits.

In a typical VR format, a user wearing a helmet with a stereoscopic screen views animated images of a simulated environment.Some advanced, haptic systems now include tactile information, generally known as force feedback, in medical and gaming applications.

Users can interact with a virtual environment or a virtual artifact (VA) either through the use of standard input devices such as a keyboard and mouse, or through multimodal devices such as a wired glove, the Polhemus boom arm, and/or omnidirectional treadmill.

The simulated environment can be similar to the real world, for example, simulations for pilot or combat training, or it can differ significantly from reality, as in VR games.

How usable VR?

Virtual reality is taking over ever more areas of our lives, so it is important that virtual worlds offer high usability. Until now, the only way to check was to conduct tests with volunteers — time-consuming and cost-intensive. A new technology automatically detects many problems with user-friendliness and usability in the virtual environment.

this is virtual reality rendering photo
Virtual Reality Rendering Photo

VR in Education

VR uses for education don’t stop at the military or medical field, but extend to schools with virtual reality also adopted in education for teaching and learning situations. Students are able to interact with each other and within a three-dimensional environment. They can also be taken on virtual field trips, for example, to museums, taking tours of the solar system and going back in time to different eras.

Virtual reality can be particularly beneficial for students with special needs, such as autism. Research has found that VR can be a motivating platform to safely practice social skills for children, including those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

VR in Military

The military in the UK and the US have both adopted the use of virtual reality in their training as it allows them to undertake a huge range of simulations. VR is used in all branches of service: the army, navy, air force, marines and coast guard. In a world where technology is adopted from an early age and children are accustomed to video games and computers, VR proves an effect method of training.

VR can transport a trainee into a number of different situations, places and environments for a range of training purposes.

VR in Medical Training

Due to its interactive nature, medical and dental students have begun using VR to practice surgeries and procedures, allowing for a consequence free learning environment; the risk of inflicting harm or making a mistake while practicing on real patients is eliminated. Virtual patients are used to allow students to develop skills which can later be applied in the real world.

Using VR technology in the medical industry is an effective way to not only improve the quality of students in training but it also presents a great opportunity to optimise costs, especially since health services are continuously under pressure with tight budgets.

Living in virtual worlds

By the beginning of 1993, VPL had closed its doors and pundits were beginning to write of the demise of virtual reality. Despite the collapse of efforts to market VR workstations in the configuration stabilized at VPL and NASA, virtual world, augmented reality, and telepresence technologies were successfully launched throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century as platforms for creative work, research spaces, games, training environments, and social spaces.

Military and medical needs also continued to drive these technologies through the 1990s, often in partnership with academic institutions or entertainment companies. With the rise of the Internet, attention shifted to the application of networking technology to these projects, bringing a vital social dimension to virtual worlds. People were learning to live in virtual spaces.

The designers of NASA’s Visual Environment Display workstation cited the goal of putting viewers inside an image; this meant figuratively putting users inside a computer by literally putting them inside an assemblage of input and output devices. By the mid-1990s, Mark Weiser at Xerox PARC had begun to articulate a research program that instead sought to introduce computers into the human world.

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