The Oculus Rift may be one of the most technologically advanced pieces of gaming hardware available to anyone with $600 to spend on their favorite hobby. Believe it or not, the technology you will find in this incredible device has come a long way from its humble beginnings in Video Game Arcades of the late 90’s.
This technology has been greatly perfected since then and as continued progress is made this technology may have applications in many different fields of science and industry. From education to the military, Virtual reality provides an engaging way to get a first hand experience in just about any field.

Six Applications of Virtual Reality Besides Gaming

Following are six ways that Virtual Reality technology can be applied to other industries beyond gaming.

1. Entertainment

If gaming is not the most popular application for this cutting edge technology, then perhaps the many other forms of entertainment would soon be. 3D TVs can already deliver a more engaging experience than a regular TV, but with latest apps like Oculus Cinema, the audience will enjoy a highly realistic theater experience, like actually sitting in the theater — or even enjoy the movie from a “passing” spectator’s perspective surrounded by stunningly realistic imagery and sound effects.

If you love sports, there are other virtual reality platforms that can deliver the thrills of sitting courtside to all your favorite events right to the convenience of your couch and with your friends. There are actually many events that can be enjoyed in this way, including Cirque du Soleil, thousands of your favorite concerts from musicians of all types, without being bumped by rowdy mobs.

2. Health care

The medical industry, or health care industry as they prefer to be known, has been a huge proponent of Virtual Reality Technology. VR has been applied to many aspects of providing diagnosis and even applying treatment.
medical field VR
Software companies like Surgical Theater or Conquer Mobile have developed programs that use the data gathered in a CAT scan or MRI to construct 3D modelings of the patients anatomical features and anomalies present to give a clearer picture of the patient’s conditions for the physician’s diagnosis.
These virtual models have been helping healthcare providers find tumors and other cancerous growths, plot the best location for an incision or even practice up on an especially difficult procedure before it must be performed.
Besides surgical procedures, VR can also provide an effective tool for rehabilitating accident victims. European victims of accident and brain strokes can know practice regaining their motor functions faster than with regular therapy thanks to a Virtual Reality platform called Mind Maze. The virtual exercises are more appealing than regular physical therapy sessions and have been designed as engaging video games, to improve the user experience.

Related: Virtual Reality In Healthcare: Where’s The Innovation?

3. Museums

Virtual Reality can increase the culture available at our fingertips. Through a virtually simulated 3D experience users can be transported to the Louvre, the Guggenheim or even Madame Tussauds. Many museums have already collaborated with software designers to create a virtual environment where visitors can fully experience historical relics from across the globe.
The British Museum of London recently held a Virtual Reality weekend, the National History Museum has also made its physical collections available to the world via Google Cardboard. If you happen to have the Cardboard app and a VR set you can tour that museum right now— from anywhere on the planet.

4. Education

The automobile manufacturing giant, Toyota, is using the Oculus Rift to better educate the next generation of motorists on the perils of being distracted when at the wheel of a car. The fully immersive experiences available in this field can turn the educational system as we know it on its head.

5. Courtrooms

Jury members may not have to imagine the events of a crime in order to get an objective opinion on the actual occurrences leading up to said crime. Being able to experience the crime in 3D form may help to understand the physics of what really happened. At the moment this is done by examining photos and listening to the experts give their opinions.

Research performed at the University of Zurich posted an article in the 2014 Journal of Forensic Science and Medicine and Pathology which discussed the possible application of the Oculus Rift in reconstructing crime scenes, reconstructing events and presenting this to jurors.
The general consensus is that this may be the best way for jurors to form unbiased opinions about the crimes for which they must provide a verdict.

6. Meditation & Mental Health

Their is a Guided Meditation VR program that can applied to help users find their “ happy place” simply by placing the Oculus Rift on their head and entering one of four completely relaxing environments. According to studies published by the American Journal of Psychiatry in an article titled 9 Ways to Improve Mental Health, this practice can significantly reduce the levels of anxiety and stress in daily life.
Virtual reality may also prove most effective in providing therapy to people dealing with debilitating levels of fear and stress such as you may expect from those suffering from PTSD or other serious phobias and anxieties. VR would provide these people with a controlled environment in which to engage their fears and seek resolution.
The American Journal of Psychiatry posted an article in 2014 all about how this type of VR therapy had surprisingly beneficial results when used to treat veterans suffering from PTSD.