Virtual reality, it's not just a game | KHWS

Virtual reality, it’s not just a game


Virtual reality has been one of the most highly anticipated launches in technology in recent years and unless you have been hiding under a rock you will have heard of the Facebook backed, venture-capitalised hardware offering consumers an immersing experience into the next generation of gaming, but that’s not all.

The spotlight is currently on technology mogul Oculus, their hardware (Oculus Rift) has the ability to engage your subconscious whilst through the use of a head mounted high-definition screen and a hand held controller, give the user the ability to experience a range of activities from next generation gaming to helping advancements for education and medical purposes.

Some virtual reality projects are well underway in the education sector – students in Ireland have recreated historical events and places, which can then be experienced within an immersive space. The project was made possible by MissionV, a platform that continues to provide school students with the tools to build virtual learning environments.

Medical advancements have also developed through the capabilities held by VR technology. Science and medical professionals have been behind this for some time, developing and implementing the technology as a way to support, train, diagnose and even treat patients (in a myriad of situations). Arachnophobia and mental illness such as anxiety are beginning to be treated – one specific use is helping soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a controlled environment they can learn how to deal with instances that might otherwise be triggers to behaviours that could be destructive.

Stereotyped as the next big thing to the headline gaming market, the Oculus Rift has been undiscovered and underestimated in multiple sectors due to its diverse ability to present educational purposes to its user. Once fully released to the public (hopefully by Christmas 2015) it will have a much larger developer following meaning that ideas, learning desires and visual engagement processes which were once a distant thought could soon become a reality and have a very real impact on the way we work, learn and live today.

We’re starting to see VR creators inviting the public to see this ground breaking technology first hand, even this week Power to the Pixel and BFI London Film Festival are inviting people to experience the latest in VR and immersive storytelling. Audiences will be exposed to 1 of 16 projects that are being exhibited ranging from fiction, animation, documentary and art and immersed into their unique and immersive journeys.

If you’re still unsure about the powers of VR, you should head down to the BFI IMAX this weekend (it’s free after all!).