Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (particularly video games), education (such as medical or military training) and business (such as virtual meetings). Other distinct types of VR-style technology include augmented reality and mixed reality, sometimes referred to as extended reality or XR.
Currently, standard virtual reality systems use either virtual reality headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulate a user’s physical presence in a virtual environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. The effect is commonly created by VR headsets consisting of a head-mounted display with a small screen in front of the eyes, but can also be created through specially designed rooms with multiple large screens. Virtual reality typically incorporates auditory and video feedback, but may also allow other types of sensory and force feedback through haptic technology.
Virtual reality applications are applications that make use of virtual reality (VR), an immersive sensory experience that digitally simulates a virtual environment. Applications have been developed in a variety of domains, such as education, architectural and urban design, digital marketing and activism, engineering and robotics, entertainment, virtual communities, fine arts, healthcare and clinical therapies, heritage and archaeology, occupational safety, social science and psychology.
Restorative nature experiences
An example of a nature-oriented virtual environment made with real-time rendering engine Unity.
Studies on exposure to nature environments shows how it is able to produce relaxation, recover attention capacity and cognitive function, reduce stress and stimulate positive mood.
Immersive virtual reality technology is able to replicate believable restorative nature experiences, either using 360-degree video footage or environments created from 3D real-time rendering often developed using game engines (for example Unreal Engine or Unity) This is useful for users who are deprived from accessing certain areas, due to e.g. physical restraints or complications, such as senior citizens or nursing home residents. Restorative virtual environments are able replicate and mediate real world experiences using video footage, replicate these using 3D rendering or can be based loosely on real world environment using real-time 3D rendering.
Healthcare and Medical
Immersive VR environment, used to motivate senior citizens to exercise regularly, by driving along the path and exploring the nature surroundings
VR began to appear in rehabilitation in the 2000s. For Parkinson’s disease, evidence of its benefits compared to other rehabilitation methods is lacking. A 2018 review on the effectiveness of VR mirror therapy and robotics found no benefit. Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) is a form of exposure therapy for treating anxiety disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias. Studies have indicated that combining VRET with behavioral therapy, patients experience a reduction of symptoms. In some cases, patients no longer met the DSM-V criteria for PTSD.
Virtual Reality is also tested in the field of behavioral activation therapy. BA therapy encourages patient to change their mood by scheduling positive activities into the day-to-day life. Due to a lack of access to trained providers, physical constraints or financial reasons, many patients are not able to attend BA therapy. Researchers are trying to overcome these challenges by providing BA via Virtual Reality. The idea of the concept is to enable especially elderly adults to participate in engaging activities that they wouldn’t be able to attend without VR. Possibly, the so called “BA-inspired VR protocols” will mitigate the lower mood, life satisfaction, and likelihood of depressions.
VR in Military
Both the military from the UK as well as the US have employed virtual reality in their training as it enables them to take up a wide range of imitations. Virtual Reality is utilized for all departments of service ranging from the navy, the army, the air force, marines to the coast guard. Virtual Reality can effectively transport a trainee into a variety of varying scenarios, locations as well as environments with the purpose of facilitating training.
VR in Sports
Virtual Reality has been steadily shifting the sports industry for all its participants. This technology can be employed by coaches as well as players for training effectively across various sports, with them being able to view as well as experience particular scenarios repeatedly and enhancing their performance every time.
VR is also adopted to serve as a training aid for assisting in assessing athletic performance and examining techniques. It’s also been known to enhance the cognitive capabilities of athletes while injured by allowing them to virtually experience gameplay situations.
VR is also deployed in the education sector for teaching and learning scenarios. It aids the students in conversing together, in the vicinity of a 3D environment. The students can also be carried on virtual field trips such as to museums, embarking on tours of the solar system as well as traveling back in time to varying eras.
Virtual reality can prove to be specifically advantageous for students having special needs. Research has discovered that VR could prove to be a motivating platform to safely train children and teach them social skills including children having autism disorders. For instance, the technology company, Floreo, executed virtual reality situations that enable children to absorb and train themselves with skills like making eye contact, pointing as well as developing social connections.