5 Applications for VR Besides Gaming

If you’re following technology and gaming trends, you may already know that VR headsets are one of the hottest new devices in the industry. The interactivity provided by VR headsets and controllers allows for unique gameplay opportunities that traditional flat-screen games cannot replicate. However, did you know that VR headsets have many other applications besides gaming? The same interactive possibilities that allow for unique gameplay experiences also offer new ways to enjoy other forms of entertainment and even perform work in new and exciting ways. Here are six of the most exciting non-gaming applications for your VR headset.

  1. Healthcare

The healthcare industry is frequently at the forefront of emerging technologies, and virtual reality is no different. Healthcare providers were among the earliest adopters of VR headsets because they provided doctors and surgeons with an immersive and innovative training method.

For example, a surgeon can use a VR surgery simulation to train without endangering a patient, using the technology to practice the safest way to find a tumor, make incisions, or perform complex operations.

Patients suffering from certain conditions, such as strokes and brain injuries, can also use the technology for rehabilitative therapy, using the virtual environment to regain their cognitive and motor functions. VR therapy is faster and more fun than traditional physical therapy, making it an excellent alternative.

  1. Military and Law Enforcement Training

Military and police units must be trained to use hundreds of different types of equipment; firearms, less-lethal weapons, vehicles, and other devices. Training scenarios are often costly and sometimes dangerous.

Police and military organizations are now adopting virtual reality and augmented reality solutions to reduce the costs and dangers of training. Common VR simulated scenarios range from VR shooting ranges to high-stress situations, such as suspect apprehension or bomb disposal. 

  1. Education

VR headsets allow students to join virtual classrooms and attend classes without leaving home. Not only do VR classrooms make it possible for teachers to continue educating even when access to a traditional classroom setting isn’t possible, but it also makes the learning process more engaging for students.

The use of virtual worlds as a medium for teaching and retention gives students a way to experience what they learn, providing a significant advantage over text and still images.

In some circumstances, it is even possible for a virtual world to simulate the subject being taught, allowing students to learn by doing instead of learning passively (e.g., listening, watching, or reading).

  1. Virtual Tourism

In an era where traditional tourism is challenging, if not impossible, the desire to travel and see new places has not dissipated. Multiple companies are now developing virtual reality worlds simulating real-world locations to meet the demand, creating an emergent market known as virtual tourism.

Once thought of as an expensive gimmick, virtual tourism is booming, offering complete virtual tours and letting customers see what a location is like, giving them the feel and sensation of traveling without leaving their home.

  1. Automotive Manufacturing

In the past, automakers relied on models made of wood, clay, or plasticine to create and visualize the design of their upcoming models, allowing designers, engineers, and executives to see what the vehicle looks like at scale before beginning production. Although impressive, this process is time-consuming and relies on the expertise of clay modeling or wood-carving specialists.

Today, automakers use virtual reality to create and visualize 1:1 scale 3D models of a vehicle in a 100% virtual world, significantly reducing time spent designing and developing a new model. This technology also allows designers to experiment more thoroughly and see the interior of the future vehicle’s cabin before producing a physical model, making prototyping more economical and significantly reducing R&D costs.

The Bottom Line

Virtual reality isn’t just the next trend in gaming; it is a booming industry with numerous applications in multiple sectors. Experts currently estimate the size of the global VR market at approximately $22 billion, and the number is rising annually and is projected to reach $70 billion in 2028.

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