The Current State of Augmented and Virtual Reality
Similar to many other industries, education is quickly jumping on the AR/VR bandwagon. A slew of companies are creating content and apps to begin the integration process at all levels of schooling.
For some, this means taking virtual school trips to locations previously eliminated from any sort of budget or restricted due to time constraints. In other situations, we see additional strides in the educational sector with ways to further assist special education children. Even those working with student recruiting have begun to work in VR to give a better show a campus or the educational landscape of a particular school.
Sadly, we do not see our tutu-clad, galaxy-sized velociraptor in this model.
Now, just imagine if you’re a younger you in elementary school. Today, you can travel to outer space when learning about the solar system instead of just watching a battle-worn teacher spin that weird globe contraption.
In the medical fields, we are seeing many applications being utilized at what will be considered, in the future, rather primitive levels. (Though, as of right now, they’re pretty fricking amazing!)
Medical-related schools are using the technology to teach about anatomy in safe ways. Where flat diagrams and cadavers once stood, we are starting to see AR/VR come through with functional and interactive learning models.
For patients, while low-impact testing is still needed, more functions are being discovered. Some paralyzed patients have been working with VR immersion in a way to reanimate limbs previously thought lost. While results are slow, some studies have found patients regaining control of bladders and feeling more in control of their bodies.
Other sectors of the health industries are beginning to use VR therapy on Alzheimer patients in a way to help improve memory.
Military & Police
By way of training, VR is perhaps the safest way to prepare troops and other government bodies for certain situations. Virtual reality provides more authentic scenarios, as opposed to those formulated in staged rooms or buildings, allowing for better training.
In other cases, the military has been utilizing augmented reality in architecture, such as in naval ships. Where a previous build would be viewed through blueprints, and some real-life, 3D issues would be found during construction, they are now able to “walk” through an area via augmented reality in order to find the time and cost-consuming issue prior to the start of construction.
In the past years, one of the loudest AR shopping launches has been through IKEA. With their catalog app, you are able to see how furniture will look in your home. And, if you’ve ever purchased a couch only to find the bright yellow plaid cushions don’t go particularly well with your twenty-year-old tomato-red shag carpet, you’ll be thrilled with the time-savings.
(Examples given within this article may or may not be from personal experience.)
In the way of VR, Alibaba, an Asian-based company, has been working with shopping. In a Tweet from 2016, Alibaba explained the app as “peruse to purchase” all within your VR headset, making retail and shopping more expansive. Gone are the days of waiting for a store to “open near you,” as AR and VR are unleashing our favorites around the globe.
While still experimental, we are beginning to see the shift in office technology. In particular, and perhaps as a prelude to our own cubicle futures, companies are testing new office-level experiences.
Meta, a company doing many other amazing things with AR is starting to utilize their virtual desktops within their staff. Whether this means that in the future we’ll all be getting computers straight out of Minority Report is yet to be seen, but I, for one, am very hopeful!
Since we already went over this one in another section, we won’t go too much further with it here. However, it should be noted that booking hotels along with researching trips and destinations can be done in both AR and VR.
So, if you’ve ever wondered if you should take a trip to Tokyo, grab a headset, enter your virtual reality theater, and plug in some key words. You’ll hurdle toward Oz, Dorothy-in-a-twister style, and see amazing examples of what it would be like to make your dream trip — solidifying your decision to scrap that weekly Hot-Pocket in lieu of saving for a trip.
(OK, I don’t actually know of any VR app that simulates going to another land via a small house in a twister, but if someone could make that happen, that’d be great. Also, add flying monkeys for authenticity.)