10: Musical concerts
Everyone knows that live performances are the best way to experience music. With VR, we can be in the crowd, on the stage, the music and the people all around us. Like this Paul McCartney performance of Live and Let die on Jaunt VR. Want a less public show? An artist can record an unplugged session, just them and an empty room. They are playing just for you. How much would you pay for that?
I have been to Rome and Paris and the Great Barrier Reef and the surface of Mars. On my phone, in my living room. It’s rudimentary, but even that is impressive and will only get more immersive as time goes on. Here is a video about a company called Visualise producing a VR tour for South Africa.
8: Home buying
Want to walk through a house before you buy it? No problem! Strap on a headset and take a tour! Sotheby’s is already using the Samsung Gear VR to show tours of homes in LA, New York, and the Hamptons. Find out that the previous interior decorator was an idiot from the comfort of your own home.
With VR we can experience the war zone and see the destruction. The New York Times and USA Today have apps for Android and iPhone now. We can be in the middle of the protests or the rally. Emotions and mood are hard to convey in pictures and words, but put me in the middle of it and I understand the energy.
It’s hard to understand what it’s like to be verbally or physically assaulted unless it has happened to you. VR is so immersive that we feel the anger and aggression directed at a victim, and we can start to understand the pain and fear that victim suffers. A company called Immersive Journalism is trying do just that. Chris Milk has an excellent TED talk about his quest to create the ultimate empathy machine. Hopefully this technology will help us become more understanding and tolerant.
We live in a noisy world, and more and more of us are living in urban cities. Apps like Guided Meditation put you in a calm, relaxing environment, and escape the cement and steel and bright lights for a little while. Give me one of these and a hammock and I’ll be a happy guy!
4: Long distance communication
If you have ever video chatted with a friend or family member via Skype or FaceTime, then you know that is much better then a simple phone call. Now magnify that by a factor of 10, and you’re just about there. VR will bring us closer together. For business it will mean that a global company can communicate more efficiently and reduce travel costs. This will save huge amounts of time and money and increase productivity across the board.
Gaming has always pushed the boundaries of technology. The first widespread use of VR will be among gamers, and they will be the beta testers for everyone else. Even once VR is widespread, gaming will continue to push the technology forward with new experiences and interfaces. Check out what Void VR is doing for instance.
Virtual reality entertainment will explode as creators will no longer be limited to displaying a flat image. Suddenly the viewer is inside the story, able to look at whatever they want, whenever they want. This will present difficult challenges, and many movies will be better presented with a field of view that is wider then it is now, but will still be limited. 3D space is difficult to manage, and won’t be ideal for many applications. Where it will really shine, however, is world building. If you can imagine it, you can create it in 3D space, and people can walk through it. Sports events will be presented in VR, like this years Daytona 500, which will be streamed in real time by a company called NextVR. How would you like to watch your favorite team or sporting event right from the sideline, or any number of other places?
Access to information and infrastructure are some of the great limiters on a persons life. With VR, those barriers can be significantly lowered. With VR, you can learn to weld steel anywhere, without touching a torch or using up raw materials. Get in a bunch of practice, take a test using real life materials to prove your skill, and you’re in! Learn to drive a truck without even stepping inside one, take a couple physical tests to prove your skills, and viola! Now you’re a truck driver! StriVR Labs already have systems in use like this already in the NFL and other sports. Imagine firefighters training in an extremely hot environment, outfitted with dummy equipment and VR headsets. Thanks to an immersive VR world, the firefighters get to practice without catching anything, or anyone, on fire!
Tasks that require extensive practice and repetition are excellent candidates for VR training. Practice scenarios can be built and reused without wasting resources. People in rural areas and developing counties can practice and learn and improve their lives anywhere there is a computer.
Virtual Reality may be not be real, but it is limitless. And it’s going to make a huge difference in our world.
I want to know what you think about VR. What do you think the risks are? What are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s talk about it!