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Virtual reality in the current reality

Here’s the low-down of what VR apps are making the biggest differences to us and just how the technology can improve not just our free time, but our general lives

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Image: Cas and Chary VR (YouTube)

It wasn’t so long ago that virtual reality was reserved for science fiction movies and elitist billionaires. Sure, the premise seemed to be easily obtainable, but technology had to catch up with the theoretical. But like everything tech-related, the science and hardware behind the ideas have an uncanny knack of suddenly being right on our doorstep within the blink of an eye.

Those sci-fi movies we watched as a kid are now our normality as virtual reality gets more and more entwined into our everyday existence. From seeing the world from our sofas to medical advancements, computer games to how we play at new casinos, VR is here and making daily impacts on our lives.

Here’s the low-down of what VR apps are making the biggest differences to us and just how the technology can improve not just our free time, but our general lives. 

  1. Tourism

The pandemic has shown many the importance of our freedom to explore is and how easily it could be taken from us. But now we have the opportunity to see our beautiful planet and all it holds from the comfort of our homes through someone else’s eyes.

Google Earth VR is a great start to help you get a good taster for your favorite places without jumping on a plane. Their new Street View will have you at the summit of Kilimanjaro in seconds. Thomas Cook has a “try before you buy” holiday that allows you to see a glimpse of the destination before committing and when you are abroad, your smartphone can easily be your personal tour guide. Many apps will now give you real-time information on all the sites you are standing in front of, to help you get the most of your trip.

  1. Online Gaming

Gaming has boomed like nothing else over the last decade and whilst most of the advancements have been seen in mobile gaming, VR is certainly making its mark. Pokémon GO made great use of augmented reality with their 2016 hit and as the cost of VR hardware comes down, we’ll certainly see more of the same in the coming years.

Social interaction is now huge as more players look to play online with people across the globe. Combining this with VR tech will see hand-to-hand combat in first person become the norm. Rollercoaster rides from your sofa, flight simulations on your lunch break and even the chance to roam with the dinosaurs are all possible to this day. And horror fans who have had the likes of Resident Evil and Silent Hill as their companions can really get the hairs on their backs standing as VR can really have you in Chris’s shoes. Check out a glimpse of this, here.

New online casinos have also added that extra touch of submersion with the addition of VR. Not only can you experience that Las Vegas feel with live-dealer games streamed straight to your device, but you can actually join a poker game with a VR headset. Yes, you’ll struggle to crack the poker face of your fellow players but the thrill of throwing in your chips and taking up your cards is now a reality. Many reliable new casino sites will begin to have this as standard like mobile gaming was 10 years ago.

  1. Medical 

Perhaps the biggest breakthrough is being able to treat psychological and physical injuries without the need for such specialists to even be present. Robotic surgical arms now have the capacity to more easily get to places where humans need to be. The technology to have an elite, specialist surgeon to complete immensely intricate procedures from their own country on patients the entire globe over really does speak volumes to how far we have come over the last few decades.

Procedures that involve incredible risk can also be practiced many times beforehand to garner valued training to doctors who in the past just didn’t have the access they may have needed. Simulations of surgeries under VR allow not just the training that students require but a complete run-through for seasoned veterans before the big show. 

And all these physical procedures aside, the distraction that can be obtained by VR is perfectly suited to assist in pain-relief for children and simulations of an addict’s own environment to help conquer their addiction. Stroke victims can now replicate how they will move around their homes without fear of further physical damage. Education can also more easily be provided on how substance abuse really affects us; nothing wakes us up to reality better than seeing it with our own eyes.

  1. Mind and Body

As yoga and meditation become a more important piece of that work/life balance, being able to remove oneself from the daily grind becomes harder. VR will certainly help. Being able to not just hear the sounds of the beach but actually see the waves cresting will make it a whole lot easier for the general public to embrace meditation and help unwind after a tough day. We could certainly all use a little less stress in our minds.

Coupled with this is the ability to harness technology to improve our fitness and health. The biggest deterrent for most new fitness freaks when hitting the pavement has got to be the boredom involved. VR will not just whisk you away from your neighborhood but it can actually add a huge level of fun to your workouts.

Boxing and martial arts are now available contact-free to increase your confidence without the risk of injury. Motivation from your own, personal fitness instructor will forever be available in your living room, and being able to track just how many calories you’ve not only lost but you’ve targeted to achieve, are all now visually displayed on your headset.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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