«It’s just a trick.» Here’s what people have been saying about the Wiimote, Kinect, and most recently Google Glass — and that’s what they’re saying about the Oculus Rift. If you are one of them, I beg you to reconsider because the Rift already changes the world.
Although the device is of great importance for the gaming industry, its potential extends far beyond gaming. Oculus Rift offers unprecedented levels of simulation that can be useful in almost every major industry. It might even turn out to be more revolutionary than a smartphone.
For remote interaction
The magic of the Oculus Rift — and virtual reality in general — is how it gives us the ability to be present in another world. This concept can be taken and augmented by the global interconnectedness of the 21st century to provide some amazing experiences. In a sense, the Oculus Rift can be used to projecting yourself to places that might otherwise be inaccessible.
Virtual tourism. When Google Street View debuted in 2007, it took everyone by surprise. It was the natural next step after satellite map technology, and the Oculus Rift will take that evolution one step further. Instead of just browsing the streets, imagine virtual recreations of entire terrestrial locations. Imagine being able to explore these places in real time down to the smallest detail.
This is great news for those who are physically unable to travel (due to physical injuries, for example) or are limited by the financial cost of travel. It can also allow us to explore places in the world that are inherently dangerous (such as remote jungle areas) or inaccessible (such as mountain ranges or underwater caves).
Patient care. For disabled or unstable patients, it can be a real pain to keep coming back to doctors and therapists. At first, the Oculus Rift could provide doctors and patients with the ability to meet regularly for sessions, but as technology advanced, it could even provide for remote examinations.
Creative research. The Rift opens up dozens of new ways for kids to explore creative education. Educational Minecraft is a viable learning tool currently used in over 40 countries. How much better would this experience be if children were equipped with these devices and allowed to explore them for real?
Special training. The split has also proven to be an effective tool in situations involving the special needs of children or children with social anxiety:
“In the case of the Oculus Rift, there is a higher level of presence or telepresence in the psychological experience of the environment, which is beneficial for learning because it forces people to pay attention and direct attention in a more conscious way.
You can use the mechanics in this world to get the attention that leads to learning.”
Rabindra Ratan, professor
For training and simulation
The animation aspect of the Oculus Rift can be used as a learning tool. This is one of the more obvious non-gaming applications for the device, mainly because non-VR simulations already exist in many areas, but quality simulation is important here.