As VR technology gets better, cheaper and more accessible–thanks in part to consumer-friendly headsets like the Oculus Rift, which debuted in March–a small but growing number of scientists and entrepreneurs are using it to treat medical conditions, including PTSD and chronic pain. The financial stakes are high: Goldman Sachs expects total revenue from the VR industry to hit $95 billion in 2025, of which over $5 billion could come from medical applications. Virtual reality could also reshape the nature of medicine itself, enabling doctors to abandon what Rose calls “a one-pill-fits-all approach” to treatment.
Some folks at Lockheed Martin took a boring old school bus and gave it a bit of magic: they designed the cabin to be an immersive, full-rendered VR experience for kids to learn more about Mars while driving around city streets like normal.
Built on the Unreal engine, the bus uses several sensors to monitor the real world and translate that to a VR experience. Bus goes 30, Mars goes 30; bus turns left, Mars turns left. They even mapped the surface of Mars onto city streets in Washington, D.C. to create a more detailed exploratory experience
Instead of starting the journey at a dealership on a suburban trading estate. the VR test driver can be instantly transported to the Big Sur, Alpine hairpins or their favorite race track.
Last September. a virtual drive featuring former racing driver, Ben Collins, in a BMW 640M went viral thanks to a 360- degree experience created by a partnership with technology company Rewind. Cutting edge technology stitched together footage from a constellation of cameras to provide the immersive experience.
Amid the hype about virtual reality and robotics at CES 2016, I strapped on a headset and exoskeleton designed to make you feel 40 years older. That’s right, older. The R70i Age Suit, made by a tech firm, Applied Minds LLC for Genworth Financial, an insurance company, simulates vision and hearing loss, as well as reduced mobility from muscle deterioration and arthritis.
At a party in Los Angeles in May, Patrón launched a virtual tour of the hacienda in Mexico where its agave is distilled. Birchbox announced that this month its men’s subscription box will include a virtual-reality viewer and app allowing its subscribers to surf or fly a helicopter. And at North Face stores, you can see virtual video of dudes climbing a rock face in the company’s gear. James Blaha, a game developer with severe lazy eye–a condition that affects about 2% to 3% of the world’s population–has used virtual reality to basically cure the disease in 30-minute sessions over three to four weeks; he’s sold 1,000 copies of the system to optometrists already. And Hollywood is putting nearly as much money as Silicon Valley into the concept.
Nearly every week, there’s a virtual-reality convention. Standing in line with 1,500 other people for the sold-out Virtual Reality Los Angeles spring expo in March to visit the booths of more than 50 companies, I am asked to sign a contract. It is not, like other tech releases, about me not telling anyone about anything I saw or thought I might have seen here. Instead, it says, “I am aware that some people experience nausea, disorientation, motion sickness, general discomfort, headaches or other health issues when experiencing virtual reality.
Virtual reality is no longer the domain of just science fiction and video games.
You feel as though you’re sitting in the same living room as (President) Clinton chats with an entrepreneur in Karatu, Tanzania, who sells solar-powered products. You appear to share a tent as Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, fit people in Nairobi, Kenya, with hearing aids. The movie also takes you to a Nairobi classroom that is part of a Clinton-backed initiative to improve education for young women and girls. It starts and ends with Clinton talking to you from his desk in New York.
On March 18, Sony (SNE) announced Project Morpheus, its long-term effort to develop a VR headset for the PlayStation 4. Sony’s idea is more social—displaying the virtual world from its glowing blue headset on a TV screen for others to watch. Morpheus also uses the PS4 camera to replicate user movement in-game. “Seeing how the development community was starting to respond to Oculus Rift (since acquired by Facebook) gave us a prompt to take something we were experimenting on and make it more of a product,” says Sony Computer Entertainment President Andy House, adding that Morpheus won’t be on shelves this year.
The flight simulator found in the home of Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the missing MH370 has raised eyebrows, but as New York Times reports there are actually several communities of flight sim enthusiasts
“One of the largest, Delta Virtual Airlines, has 2,000 active pilots who must pass written and virtual flight tests in order to advance through the ranks as well as to fly progressively larger and more complex airplanes. They fly the same routes as the actual Delta Air Lines, sometimes on the same schedules. While a number of real Delta pilots and employees participate, Terry Eshenour, 70, a former Coca-Cola executive who serves as Delta Virtual Airlines’ president, emphasized that there was no formal affiliation with the real airline.
Most virtual aviators use one of two simulator software programs, Microsoft’s FSX or Laminar Research’s X-Plane, which interface with communication and tracking software usually provided free by one of the virtual flying networks. Within the last decade, a thriving market for so-called add-on software compatible with FSX and X-Plane has emerged. One of the most successful manufacturers is PMDG, which produces stunningly realistic add-ons that put users in the cockpits of aircraft like Boeing’s 737 and 777. All the switches and knobs you see on the screen are what you would see in the actual planes, and the programs come with Boeing manuals to help you figure out what’s what.”
Photo Credit – Smithsonian Air and Space magazine which has more on the fly at home trend in this article
Travelers flying out of Boston’s Logan International Airport may have met its newest assistant, Carla. She’s upbeat, informative – but not human.This hologramlike virtual assistant stands by one of Logan’s checkpoints, explaining the rules for passing through security. As she bops through each regulation, pictures of cellphones and toiletries (neatly packed into plastic bags) appear above her hands (like at 0.43 in video below) After the two-minute spiel, Carla repeats the message in Spanish.