While the term “virtual reality” (VR) has been thrown around a lot in the past twenty-five years, it is no longer something only seen in science fiction movies. In the past year or two, consumers have been able to get their hands on the some of the first generations of powerful headsets that allow users to immerse themselves completely in 3D virtual universes. While video games may be the first thing that comes to mind, this industry and technologic revolution goes far beyond the world of gaming.
You may be wondering why any of this matters; the truth is that virtual reality (and augmented reality as well) is going to gradually enter into every aspect of technology as we know it, allowing us to do things we never even dreamed of before. At LaunchByte, we are focusing our investments and projects with high-tech startups that are exploring the virtual and augmented reality space. I’ve taken some time to write a little about some of the most important benefits that are going to be available very soon because of these new tech advancements:
- Virtual Reality in Education: While the feasibility of the No Child Left Behind policy has caused controversy, blending virtual reality and augmented reality with education will actually make it possible to have no child left behind. Right now, the headsets and first gen. tech that is available for these technologies is very expensive however, we all know that with time the tech will become much cheaper. Take any new device as an example, dating back decades to this year (the first laptop computers to the Apple Watch respectively). VR will give students around the world access to material that will take education beyond the classroom and books, and will be able to put the students inside of what they are learning. They don’t need to study engineering anymore; they can be engineers. If this is something that interests you, I highly recommend reading about a company called MagicLeap (now valued at over $4.5 billion after closing their Series C round of financing lead by Alibaba).
It has been proven by multiple studies that game-based learning increases motivation among students. VR games will allow students to play games without any normal restrictions (location, access to materials, etc). Students who normally are not into playing sports will soon be on an even playing field with other students that do, allowing them to learn not based on natural physical ability, but instead mental abilities. The result will be a memorable kinesthetic and visual experience.
- Virtual Reality for Therapy: If you consider how excited gamers are to be inside of their games to experience their dreams, imagine the same concept with a different use. VR is opening the doors for many types of psychological and physical therapies. Studies published in medical journals from renown teaching hospitals across the world have even proven that VR can reduce the amount of real-world fears that autistic children face. It has also been tested for use on PTSD patients and victims of mental illnesses and the outcomes have been very promising.
Since these type of conditions live within the brain, having VR supply a fictional reality can help change the way the brain perceives things and actually help someone overcome traumatic experiences or phobias, allowing them to test new limits but remove themselves from the situation should it choose to be too much. The human imagination is so powerful that tapping into it could pave the way for some less-invasive treatment options.
- Virtual Reality in your Living Room: With the design and development of ball-like professional-grade cameras, filmmakers soon will be able to film in 360 degree angles. The prototypes, as I mentioned earlier about first generation tech, is expensive at this time (about $60,000+ for a very basic high quality 360 degree camera), but it won’t be long before you will be able to stand among wild horses running through your living room or wage war next to your favorite actors! You will be able to experience television and movies in a way that you have never been able to before.
Travel can be expensive. If you have always dreamed about going to Scotland to visit ancient ruins, but can’t actually get there, VR films can and will make it a possibility. You can feel like you are walking along the exotic species of the Galapagos Islands or hiking the hills in Peru. VR will be able to take you anywhere you want to go without leaving your living room. The possibilities are endless, and LaunchByte is excited to announce the close of our micro-venture fund ($10m) to test out a portfolio of high-growth quick-exit VR startups over the next few years.