Virtual reality is the future of mankind. This opinion is not only held by technology nerds. The further the new technology develops, the more application possibilities arise in daily use – both privately and professionally.
An important target group for Virtual Reality (VR) are teachers and educational institutions, and the VR app “Titans of Space” is a good example of a simple and instructive application. Using VR glasses, students can experience up close how large the planets and moons in our solar system are.
The 3D representations are simple and provide detailed information about the composition and dimensions of the planets. The journey through the galaxy resembles a city tour with lots of information about the different stations. The limited possibilities and the renunciation of overloaded graphics puts the observation and astonishment in the foreground and thus increases the learning effect. Compared to the dull illustrations of conventional non-fiction books, the sight of the gas giant Jupiter or the ring planet Saturn at close range arouses sheer enthusiasm in the students.
Virtual tours such as these can be used in many different ways, and a visit to a museum or zoo would also be conceivable.
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When training and educating employees, companies usually attach less importance to enthusiasm than to a quick understanding of the processes in the company. Sometimes complex induction phases as well as training and further education for the existing personnel were unavoidable cost factors for large and small companies. In the search for alternative methods, some employers such as the British government, the US army or large fast food companies are now relying on virtual reality. From learning soft skills in the service sector to complex, mechanical production processes, virtual guidelines will be used to teach company-specific work processes.
In addition, VR offers the possibility to train exceptional and stressful situations, which are hardly representable in theory. Compared to the usual teaching and training videos, which only visualize concrete moments and processes in everyday working life, VR makes these cases tangible and reinforces the learning effect. Instead of only passively recording information, the learning employee can test the processes at will and try them out as often as necessary. This has long been practised in pilot training: in the simulator. Pilots there train difficult landings and extreme situations, for example.
The Oculus Rift is an incomparable experience. Whether you dive into your favorite game, watch a thrilling VR movie, jump to a place on the other side of the world, or just spend time with your friends in VR, it will feel like you’re really there.
The “virtual patient room” against the nursing crisis
Germany complains about a lack of personnel in the nursing sector. In order to remedy this situation and to be able to train new nursing staff to a high degree, training centres for initial and further training in nursing developed the so-called “virtual patient room”.
This solves several problems at once:
- Trainers can learn and train without real patients being involved.
- Expensive and time-consuming exercises with puppets or actors are no longer necessary.
- More nursing staff can be trained on a more practical basis.
Through the VR glasses, the nursing staff enters a virtual hospital and visits the patient rooms with their patient files in their hands. In this way, the patient’s treatment can be practiced and even evaluated afterwards. What did the user do in which order, what did he do right or wrong, and where is there room for improvement? The difference to conventional methods is again particularly exciting from a didactic point of view: the user learns by performing an action.
In the field of medicine, VR applications have remained an ongoing topic since their beginnings in the 1990s. In research, for example, self-made headsets have since been used for the therapy of trauma patients. Through the use of VR simulations, anxiety patients are gradually confronted with their trauma in a controlled setting.
When someone has experienced a trauma, he only remembers fragments of the experience. Only when all fragments are reunited can a person process the experience. Because once the memory is complete, it can be changed. It can be shaped like a lump of clay. Everyone knows this effect, actually the caught fish was hardly bigger than a hand, but the more often we think about it and talk about it, the more the memory deforms: A small fish gradually becomes a big one. This change is called the reconsolidation effect. VR therapy uses this effect to consciously change memories.
The most important tools here are VR glasses and an animation that simulates the trauma experienced as accurately as possible. The goal: Patients should forget that they are moving in a virtual world. The simulation lets them relive their greatest fears over and over again, but with the possibility of getting the action under control this time. If you repeat this over and over again, the memory originally filled with fear should actually change. The brain does not always know the difference between the real world and the virtual world – a new VR memory can possibly treat traumas.
Some US studies confirm: They show that VR therapy works in about 80 percent of trauma patients. The virtual reality treatment helped four out of five patients to lead a normal life again. They have learned to see their memories for what they are: The past.
It’s easy to dive into the world of virtual reality because the Gear VR feels lighter than it is. The flexible strap holds the Gear VR securely on your head as you explore unexplored areas. At the same time, the foam cushion provides a natural hold and blocks incoming light.
New approaches are also being taken in the field of sports broadcasts: The opening match of the 2016/2017 Bundesliga season between FC Bayern Munich and SV Werder Bremen has already been broadcast in Virtual Reality. However, for licensing reasons, the league start in VR was only seen in North America, the Caribbean, Asia and some European countries such as the Netherlands. The pilot project was developed in cooperation with the US-American media group Fox.
In the States, VR technology passed its final exam in 2017 for the nationwide live broadcast of the Super Bowl, the final of the Football League NFL. Since then, all matches of the basketball league NBA can also be booked including a VR ticket. The same applied to the international broadcasts of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In March 2018, the historic premiere in European basketball followed, and at the match between FC Bayern Basketball and Alba Berlin, viewers could experience a game in VR for the first time. The digital experience of the “BayWa VR Experience” is a product of the FCBB and BayWa AG. VR stations are set up in the circulation of the Audi Dome, where fans can immerse themselves in the game on match days with the help of VR glasses.
This allows viewers to take a free look around the room and decide for themselves which content they would like to experience. Unique perspectives that could not even be experienced outside the virtual world help: Court-view, bird’s eye view or the view of the cheerleaders in the middle of the pitch. The different viewing angles are supplemented with immersion functions, with which the user enters completely animated rooms, for example to the highlights of the last game or to the player presentation. Thanks to the individual sound design, the respective areas are coordinated with each other and ensure a realistic experience.
The first virtual reality concert took place at the end of February 2016. At that time Samsung exclusively streamed the show of the London pop band Years & Years. Every fan in possession of the VR glasses Samsung Gear could experience the performance comfortably from his home sofa by means of an interactive livestream and was still right in the middle of the action, whether standing classically frontally in the first row, floating above the band or directly at the side of the musicians on stage – these three different perspectives were available for the world premiere of the new technology.