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Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Are For More than Just Gaming

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Be prepared in the next couple of years for “virtual reality” (VR) and “augmented reality” (AR) to be more and more parts of your daily lives – from health and medicine to education, journalism and assistance in completing your daily chores.

Although many still see VR and AR as primarily for gaming, that image is no longer accurate. Total immersive experiences are being developed for training and for rehabilitation among other complicated and useful applications.

Researchers are exploring implementation of virtual reality to train physicians and allow them to experience trauma and virtual emergency situations, according to Josh Antonuccio, creator, educator, and researcher in the Immersive Media Initiative at Ohio University’s Scripps College of Communication.

VR also is being explored in the treatment of PTSD and other forms of psychological disorders. Experiments are being done with it to help Alzheimer patients and people with limited mobility.

It also is being pursued as a journalistic/storytelling technique. It is a way to put the audience in the exact place of the reporter to see, observe, hear and sense exactly what is happening. People will be able to sense a story in addition to just hearing it, Antonuccio adds.

AG is not a fully immersive experience but it also can assist people in training and even doing daily and routine chores. For example, some medical schools are turning to AG cadavers for students to work with instead of real dead bodies. Disease diagnoses and treatment options also can be shared with multiple physicians simultaneously through AG imaging of body parts and systems.

Other AG applications can be used for data collection such as weather, traffic, and daily reminders of things to be done. AG will soon become a staple in any form of design work and architectural planning.

In short, the horizons for uses for VR and AR are expanding broadly and programs such as the Immersive Media Initiative at Ohio University are in the forefront of research and development for these new and exciting technologies.