Virtual Reality in the Modern World

Aaaaaand it’s been a while since our previous post – luckily we’re currently doing our best so that it doesn’t happen again, and because of that here’s a post from Bernardo Gomes, Marketing Assistant at Bold International (our lovely partners and shareholders).

Bernardo has been introduced to VR by us, and since then has not stopped talking about it, so why not challenge him to write about VR for our blog? Yeah, we also thought it would be great to have external collaborators to this area of our website, so that it’s not just our vison on the topics we address, and also to broaden the type of approach and opinions on the topics we feature.

So here goes!

Wow, with that title this text really looks like it’s going to be a PhD thesis. It’s not far from the truth though, but I added up a little humor, so the chances of this masterpiece ending up in the shelf of some Ivy League’s library are pretty diminished.

So, virtual reality has come a long way. We’re not talking about that old peep show box called Sensorama back in the ‘50s dubbed the “Experience Theater”. Nowadays we have all kinds of VR goggles, full-body haptic feedback, motion capture, thermo controlled suits, and plus other gadgets with very complex names, like sensors.

The fast pace of virtual reality has blessed us with incredible uses in such fields as Psychology, Healthcare or Education. The possibilities to explore are enormous, with many applications in each field. Forget videogames for awhile (I know, it’s not easy, but let’s help the community before our own amusement) and focus on what is really important: the people. Because without people we wouldn’t have amazing video games, of course.

Below follows some of the benefits of Virtual Reality and where it can help to improve people’s lives. It might sound dull but I assure you it will open your mind (this is me tryin’ to get in your head. Now, stand up and hug the person in front of you! Did it work? No? Okay then. Guess I don’t have mind control powers. Sigh…)

Starting with a very interesting topic that everyone enjoys: Education. Talking about Education might sound boring, but consider this: if you didn’t have access to education while you were growing up, you wouldn’t be here right now reading this awesome text, would you?

VR can enable experiential learning by simulating real-world environments. You wouldn’t need to be physically present in a classroom to learn. You could be in the opposite part of the world and still could attend classes. Picture this: you want to know more about the Maya civilisation  (well, some of us do). So, how great would it be if you could take an actual class with a Maya expert teacher from Central America without leaving home?

As far as Healthcare goes, VR can (almost) cure cancer! Well, it might, in the future, but there are plenty of disabilities that could use the benefits of VR right now: it can be used for treating phobias like spiders, clowns or family dinners. Take Collide’s VR4NeuroPain for instance: a VR project to help in the recovery of patients suffering from neuropathic pain, through the combination of VR goggles, tactile gloves and biomedical sensors.

VR can also be used to distract you from the pain of needles, if you cry like a little baby when you see one. You can even “treat” your mom’s weight! No seriously, your mother could easily benefit from VR.

Social interaction. As technology progresses people tend to become more and more social hermits, right? Wrong. Technology makes it easy to connect and interact with other people and that’s precisely what VR is intended for. Think about Project Chatrooms, enabling multiple users to connect to the same virtual space and interact with one another. There’s no need for us to be alone: participate in discussions; meet some nice and interesting people; go on a date with your avatar (plus, you can buy a rose and an expensive dinner with virtual money, so romance isn’t dead after all); plan to murder your boss. Okay, maybe not the last one, but you still can do a lot of great things. Just let your imagination flows!

Talking about Tourism: ever dreamt of travelling to a paradisiac beach or the Grand Canyon but your wage doesn’t allow you to go any further than your local grocery store? Well, cry no more! With VR goggles you can go in mere seconds to a beachside resort. You just have to go to the nearest 7-Eleven, pick up a young coconut, put a straw on it and get an ugly shirt with flowers. One return ticket to paradise, please!

As you can see, there are already a wide range of possibilities out there waiting to be pushed beyond their current boundaries. And although VR is still taking the first steps in the modern world, its potential is tremendous. A brave new world ready to be explored for the good of mankind. Like Neil Armstrong once said: “That’s one small step for Man, one giant leap for Mankind”. We just need to use it right.

By: Bernardo Gomes


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