One of the great powers of virtual reality is we can simulate experiences without taking on real-world risks. The military was one of the first to recognize this benefit in the early 2000s, building tank and aircraft simulators with virtual reality built-in.
The Army is using what it's calling a Synthetic Training Environment to simulate military exercises in a variety of environments. Soldiers will be able to team up with counterparts at 20 locations across the country to train in close-combat environments.
Simulating military exercises will reduce injury, save money, and increase the number of reps a soldier can get in simulated field exercises. Those are all big wins for everyone in the military and virtual reality is making it possible.
Walmart is betting big on virtual reality as a training tool, sending four Oculus Go headsets to each Supercenter and two to each Neighborhood and discount store. In total, the company will have 17,000 VR headsets in the field, giving employees quick and easy training on new initiatives like pickup kiosks. See the video below to see how Walmart is using VR.
The lines between the real and virtual world are becoming blurred as VR and AR technology improve. Here are a few of our favorite examples.
Disney is testing throwing a physical ball that is rendered in the virtual space, allowing a user to catch the ball in real time. The technology can even predict where a ball will land in the physical world.
The Void allows you to interact with the Star Wars world in its experiences and is adding new content and locations regularly.
Expect the real and virtual world to collide more and more in the future, something we're very excited about at REM5.
One of the VR applications we're most excited about is training and we're starting to see some amazing content hit the market. "Wrench" is coming to early access this fall and makes it possible for even the most novice mechanic (like me) to build a car from scratch. Find out how the inner workings of an engine work and see just how many parts go into the piece of equipment we take for granted everyday. Check out the trailer here:
Training is one of the biggest potential markets for virtual reality and one area we have high hopes for is first responder training. Real life police, ambulence, and fire simulations are difficult to set up and expensive to operate. VR can help save cost in training and simulations and improve performance as well.
Flaimtrainer is a company that does VR simulation with haptic feedback combined with a virtual environment for training firefighters.
ECU School of Medical and Health Sciences has built a paramedic training experience in VR to help train people assessing a scene. Check out their work below.
At REM5, we think training is going to be a huge use of virtual reality and we're already talking with partners about their needs. Contact us if you want to find out more about training in VR.
One of the most incredible things about virtual reality is that it gives an entirely new perspective to places most people have read about before. Reading a book about Mount Everest or seeing pictures of the Titanic are great, but actually visiting them in a virtual world puts their scale into an entirely different perspective.
Everest VR takes users through climbing Earth's highest mountain from basecamp to the summit. If you've ever wondered what it really looks like on the top of Mount Everest, this is the most realistic way to see it (without climbing the actual mountain).
Titanic VR allows you to explore the sunken ship in a way never possible before.
A favorite at REM5 is the Anne Frank House VR experience, which puts Anne Frank's story into a new context. If a picture is worth a thousand words is a VR image worth a million words?
A year ago, at Facebook's Oculus developer conference, the company announced the standalone Oculus Go and teased the fully immersive Oculus Santa Cruz. Go has hit the market, but Santa Cruz has been a tease for the VR industry since then.
According to Upload VR, Santa Cruz will be announced at Oculus Connect on September 26-27 with a launch expected in the first quarter of 2019. If true, standalone VR headsets could be a reality within months, enabling the next generation of virtual reality.
BigBox VR, maker of Smashbox Arena, is introducing a new game in 2019 called Population: One, a near replica of Fortnite, but in virtual reality. Demos and beta tests are underway (including one here at REM5 VR Lab) for what is sure to be the talk of the industry next year.
A lot of the businesses on the forefront of virtual reality are in the retail sector, where companies are trying to find ways to improve customer experiences and increase sales. Designers are trying out concepts like virtual showrooms and allowing people to virtually try on cloths. Walmart is even trying to make virtual shopping a differentiator for its online store.
As much as companies may talk about VR in retail, watch for augmented reality (AR) to a the first technology to gain traction. AR can quickly bring up information like nutrition or diet filters while walking down a grocery store aisle. And since our smartphones are AR devices already, the technology is out in the field. Maybe a Keto or Gluten-free diet will be easier to shop for once VR and AR shopping really go mainstream.
Virtual reality is bringing incredible experiences to users in a way that hasn't been possible before, but we may just be scratching the surface of immersive potential. An Oculus developed dinner brought users virtual reality content that paired with their food and cocktails. Babtiste & Bottle in Chicago is offering the $95 "Macallan Rare Journey" cocktail, which includes a 4-minute VR experience about the whiskey you're about to be served.
One innovative concept is Project Nourished, a virtual reality experience to give you the sensation of eating your most indulgent food without all of the calories or carbs. Check out their concept below: