Once upon a time, war motivated mankind to develop technology at an unheard-of rate, resulting in many incredibly new breakthroughs, not least of all being the internet.
Today that has changed, and now it is commercialism, along with the community-driven power of the internet that is pushing technology forward at an accelerated rate. Just look at the Oculus Rift for instance – built for gamers and funded through ‘crowdsourcing’ – this is a ‘grass routes’ indie movement that has made virtual reality a possibility again.
But just as computers turned out to have more uses than just cracking codes and guiding missiles, so does the Oculus Rift have many amazing potential uses far beyond computer games. Read on to find out how this little ‘toy’ might just change everything…
Business and Productivity
Far from just being used to shoot zombies, the Oculus Rift could potentially be an incredibly powerful tool for businesses and could help you to complete much more work in a far shorter timescale. It could save businesses money, and it could help startups to create tings that would never be possible before.
How? Well an obvious business use for the Rift of course is telepresence. Rather than using unconvincing video conferencing software, the Oculus Rift could allow us to actually be in the room with our business partners. For now that would mean awkward avatars and laboured movements perhaps, but when this is integrated with something like the new Kinect, we might well be able to sit in a room alongside 3D models that look like the people we’re doing business with and we might be able to use our hands naturally to demonstrate ideas or to manipulate objects.
Better yet, think about the uses beyond just recreating the conference room. Imagine being able to draw graphs into the air and have them float in front of you as a hologram, or being able to summon video screens to show promotional videos simply by making a gesture. Then there are the collaborative possibilities too…
For those who don’t have many business meetings though, the Oculus Rift could still be a powerful tool for productivity and creation. A great example of how it might be used is to create a ‘virtual office’ which could allow you to a set up with as many monitors as you could possibly want, or with a calming ocean view in the background. ‘Make 3D’ meanwhile is a tool that’s already being built to allow people to create 3D models in an intuitive virtual space, with the aim of liberating CAD design to the less technically minded and making it available to all.
Medical and Therapeutic
Studies have also already been done into the possible therapeutic uses of the Oculus Rift. One example of this is using the Rift to help treat patients suffering from ‘Phantom Limb’ syndrome. This is a condition in which amputees ‘feel’ as though their missing limb is still present and even experience itching sensations and the like. By seeing a virtual recreation of that limb, studies have shown that these patients are better able to come to terms with their loss and adapt their brains accordingly.
Of course there could be many other uses for the Rift as a therapeutic device too. It could be ideal for instance for meditation as a way to escape the stresses of modern life and go to a ‘calmer place’ (great for those with high blood pressure) or potentially liberating for someone who can’t walk to experience flying across a cityscape.
One tech demo that fantastically demonstrates the power of the Rift is ‘Titans of Space’. This is a demo that has the user drifting through space looking at planets and reading about them as they do. Not only does this enable them to get an incredible sense of scale, but it’s also a much more engaging way to learn about the solar system. This could be a fantastic tool for use in a science class then, and there are many other applications besides. Everything is more engaging when you can actually experience it in person.
As with any new technology, we are only just scratching the surface of what the Oculus Rift might be capable of. Time to get creative then, what would you use virtual reality for?
License: Creative Commons image source License: Creative Commons image source License: Creative Commons image source
The author of today’s post, Jack Turner, is a freelance blogger and a father of two. His article for Freedom Lift Systems, an established firm supplying handicap wheelchair lifts, was very well received. Log on to http://www.freedomliftsystems.com/ to know about his work.