Virtual Reality, VR in short is a very advanced technology, which is an integration of computer science, robotics, instrumentation, multimedia, sensors, optics, 3-D technology, etc. Each technology, which converges to form VR, in itself, is very sophisticated and hi-tech. VR is a powerful user interface technology. This current technology does not even require physical presence of a person. Information is important and this promising technology provides the best way to visualize it, enabling direct interaction for the user.
VR has full-blown applications in industries like automobile and aviation. Its implementations are now being expanded to fields like education and medicine. In education, Mutual Telexistence (convergence of VR and robotics), Virtual Rooms and Distributed VR have emerged. In medicine, very advanced softwares have been developed to treat growing number of painful procedures. Some of the examples include:
a. Wound care of burn patients
b. Endoscopic therapy after Single Event Multilevel Surgery (SEMLS) for cerebral palsy
c. Dental pain and anxiety
d. Pain / anxiety during injections
e. Overcome phobias like spider phobias
f. Treat various anxiety disorders like Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
g. In artificial limb development
Virtual Environments (VE) for education have been discussed in various ways. While advanced multi-user educational VEs are still a speculation, simpler VEs based on standard technologies have been in existence for some time.
For distance education purposes, distributed VR is useful. Virtual Reality system can be networked to support multiple-user immersion environments joined over long distances. The sites implementing VR technology must be networked using low band modem-to-modem over telephone lines, the Internet, and high bandwidth communications. The emergence of the Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML) as a standard method of modeling virtual reality objects and worlds coupled with the wide spread deployment of WWW browsers that support VRML allows the creation of such distributed virtual environments, which can be accessed through Internet. This paves the way for participation of more geographically dispersed users in multi-user virtual reality interface systems.
Applications of VR
The fields in which VR has been implemented are summarized below-
Education and conferencing.
Civilian and military training simulators.
Business and scientific visualization.
Architecture, design, prototyping (Research and Industry).
Art and leisure.
Surgery and rehabilitation.
Telexistence, tele-immersion and Immersive 3D virtual environments (IVR).
SnowWorld, SpiderWorld, ChocolateWorld, SuperSnowWorld.
VR in Education
Virtual Reality technology offers educators a truly new and innovative way to teach and engage students. It is a cutting-edge technology that allows students to step through the computer screen into a 3D interactive environment. Using a special headset and glove, it places students inside of a simulated virtual environment that looks and feels like the real world. Integrating virtual reality into everyday learning has revolutionized teaching and learning processes.
A helpful analogy to better understand the nature of the virtual environment is that of a student exploring a forest for the first time. A student will best learn about the forest not from reading about it or listening to someone talk about it, but by walking into it – …