You’ve probably seen all the advertisements for virtual reality (VR) headsets and although they look like a lot of fun, many people wonder how practical they are and whether or not they are worth the financial investment. Others are a bit skeptical and waiting for the fad to die down and see if they are still around. Although VR headsets may seem like luxury tech item, we may be seeing a lot more of VR being used in our everyday lives.
History of VR
Technically, the term, “virtual reality”, wasn’t used until the 1980’s, but the concept of VR has been around as early as the 1800’s. Early VR, developed by scientists and inventors, included Stereoscopic viewers and photos, much like today’s Viewmaster, Sensorama, and even flight simulators. If you grew up during the late 1980’s or early ‘90s, you may remember the VR pods that popped up around shopping malls and arcades throughout the United States. While people enjoyed the concept, the technology, itself, fell short.
Video game developers, such as Nintendo, made their own personal VR headsets, but even those weren’t as popular as they had hoped. Mainstream VR technology more or less disappeared until recently and it’s returned with a vengeance.
One of the great things about VR is that it takes you to places you’ve never been, in the real world and walking around in fantasy realms, without having to leave the comfort of your home. One of the biggest complaints about VR headsets is the cost, as they can cost anywhere between 80 to 800 dollars and a few, which are made out of cardboard, cost a few bucks. Obviously, the more you spend, the better the quality should be, but even then, many VR headset wearers are left wanting more. Manufacturers are listening and hurrying to make improvements to quality and cost, to ensure that VR is not just a fad of 2016.
The Future of VR in Everyday Life
Gaming with a VR headset is always fun, but what more can it do? First off, we can expect to see more of it being used in advertising. For example, in October, Hormel offered a limited amount of free bacon scented Google Cardboard VR viewers for marketing their Black Label Bacon; the free VR headsets didn’t last very long.
Do you ever, when shopping online, wish you could get better angles of products or see how it looks in every color? From furniture to clothing, more companies are starting to offer online shoppers the VR experience.
In addition to being used for recreational and advertorial purposes, VR is and will be used more commonly as a useful tool from helping individuals, particularly those on the autism spectrum, prepare for job interviews. We can also expect to see VR used in classrooms to be used as a sort of virtual field trip. Imagine a class full of students having the opportunity to visit any part of the world from the Arctic tundras to the undiscovered rainforests. Finally, VR technology can be a helpful tool in the medical field by teaching doctors how to connect with their patients and helping young patients feel more at ease.