Best Ways to Use Virtual Reality

By Ryan Koss

When the Lumière brothers screened Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat in January 1896, viewers had never seen anything like it. The silent film, lasting only 50 seconds, depicts a locomotive as it pulls into the Paris station. Having seen nothing like it before, the audience fled the theater in terror, thinking a real train was bursting into the theater. An early example of virtual reality, from more than a century ago…

Having never seen a moving picture, audiences were terrified by Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat. (Image: B+ Movie Blog)

Uses for Virtual Reality

With the introduction of VR headsets from Oculus, Samsung and even Google, there is no question that virtual reality technology is here to stay. With much of the attention centered around virtual reality gaming, many users are missing out on many of the other uses that have been developed in the world of virtual reality:

Travel the World
Sometimes, traveling sounds easier than it actually is. Virtual reality, on the other hand, takes the stress out of traveling with the ability to transport users anywhere their hearts desire.

The Wild Within takes viewers on a virtual journey through British Columbia’s beautiful landscapes. (Image: Destination British Columbia)

Many directors are using virtual reality to take viewers places they have never been. Destination British Columbia created The Wild Within, allowing anyone in the world to take a trip through the beautiful landscapes of Canada and beyond. With this ability, family vacations may gain a whole new dimension.

Prep for Surgery
Today’s virtual reality technology is allowing doctors and surgeons to practice potentially risky surgeries before entering the operating room.

Medical students are using virtual reality to sharpen their skills before they use them in the OR. (Image: Moveo Foundation)

This virtual training ensures that medical professionals around the world have the access they need to study high-risk medical procedures before they have to perform them. Medical students can also observe surgeries in virtual reality, helping them gain an understanding of the procedure, as well as a taste of how an operating theater functions.

Become Part of the Movie
When director Guillermo Del Toro set out to promote his 2013 summer blockbuster, Pacific Rim, he wanted viewers to become a part of the experience.

Using the Oculus Rift, fans of Pacific Rim had a chance to become a Jaegar Pilot in this combat simulator. (Image: Legendary Pictures)

With the ability to command the skies as a Jaeger Pilot, it’s no surprise that virtual reality is saving the movie business. But how exactly? Virtual reality allows directors to find creative ways to attract viewers. By immersing fans in the film, they become more attached to the to the world of Pacific Rim and other movies.

Work in Space
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab has combined an Oculus Rift with Microsoft’s Kinect to allow scientists to control and see through the eyes of a robot.

NASA has combined the Oculus Rift with the Kinect to allow for full-control robots on earth and beyond.

It’s not quite R2-D2, but the robotics engineers and programmers over at NASA are coming close. Using the Oculus Rift to control the robot’s head and a Kinect to mimic movements, scientists are now able to analyze incoming data in real time.

Virtual reality has progressed by leaps and bounds since being worked on by companies like Oculus and Google during the past few years. Do you want to #CreateTheNext virtual hit? Check out Digital Media Academy’s Game Design & Development courses and start creating this summer!