Virtual reality is an actualized experience that is substantially different from or identical to the actual physical world. Many applications of virtual reality technologies are education and entertainment. Virtual reality technologies also may be employed to deliver specific messages in any setting. For instance, video games may include a full-body experience in which a player is virtually transported through the gaming console room to another part of the world, where a variety of actions may be taken, including interacting with a variety of people. Other applications of virtual reality technologies include amusement and training.
Augmented reality refers to the blending of two or more actual experiences to provide an enhanced or more personalized experience. In computer programming, this term is used to refer to a type of computing where an application uses a digital camera or another device to gather data and then combines that data with the knowledge and skills of a variety of disciplines to provide a unique experience. One obvious example of this is how a pilot’s natural eye perception is used to fly a plane. When pilots and passengers are inside the plane they will have more senses than if they were outside, therefore more safety options will be available.
Another application of virtual reality technology is in medicine. Three-dimensional virtual environments are being used in various medical procedures. In some cases, surgeons operate in a two-dimensional environment, while in other cases they operate in a three-dimensional world (presently in development). A surgeon may operate in a large, three-dimensional virtual world in which he or she can manipulate and view live patients in the operating room. They can also manipulate and view a body in various stages of recovery in a two-dimensional virtual environment. In either case, the surgeon can make critical decisions about the surgical process based on the visual inputs from a three-dimensional digital replica of the actual physical environment.
Software developers are creating applications for use in augmented reality. This means that information from one source is fed into another source in a way that creates a completely new experience in which the user is surrounded by digital information. Augmented reality allows people to control virtual objects with their virtual reality hands. For example, a person can use his or her hands to control a forklift by manipulating the forks on the truck that is in the truck that they are controlling.
The possibilities for developing applications that provide the experience of the real world while operating in a virtual reality environment are virtually endless. This opens up endless possibilities for treating diseases, learning about physiology and anatomy, training for a different profession, interacting with a wide range of people in diverse settings, monitoring the health of our patients, and much more. The first step is realizing that there is a need to move beyond the traditional two-dimensional display output and move to a three-dimensional display output that has depth, dimension, and a realistic feel. Then you can begin to explore the myriad ways in which virtual reality can help you live your life.
Our lives are deeply dependent upon the senses. They have an impact upon us at every level from the brain to the body. As we age we tend to lose our ability to use our senses to see, hear, smell, and even taste. Advances in technology and new software programs are leading to greater abilities to be able to enjoy all that modern medicine has to offer. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in virtual reality technologies, take the time to consider what your career options maybe today.