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Technological Impacts of VR

positive technological changes

Virtual reality has the potential to greatly improve the quality human life.
Illustration: April Kinney · The Sentry

Virtual reality (VR), a simulated virtual experience that seeks to deceive the mind into believing that it is a true reality, is in its infancy today. However, with the rumored upcoming VR headset from Apple and the recently released Oculus Quest 2 from Facebook, the VR industry is picking up speed with a focus on lighter, more accessible headsets. This will inevitably mean more widespread adoption of the hardware, which will, in turn, prompt the development of versatile software that utilizes it in varied and ingenuitive ways. This cycle will continue as it did with smartphones. Smartphones have revolutionized the modern world in nearly every aspect, so how might VR do the same? 

The field of healthcare is entering a dilemma in which the amount of medical knowledge is rapidly outgrowing the teaching capabilities of medical schools. There is a need for new methods of teaching that can efficiently and effectively communicate this information. The ability of VR to train students through a reliable immersive experience has already been shown in flight simulators, which have become a mainstream and dependable tool for training pilots. The same has been attempted for training surgeons, and while VR has not yet reached the capability to properly accommodate such a demanding task, it does already show potential. The technology can only improve from here, and will no doubt lead to further advancements. This access to such a unique tool can possibly birth a larger quantity of qualified medical professionals and may lead to an overall improvement in the quality of healthcare around the world. 

The capabilities of virtual learning have become much more apparent within the past year; the struggle to form relationships between teachers and students being one of its most prominent shortcomings. This gap could be bridged by VR, as it can provide an immersive virtual space that would seem more like a genuine classroom than the Zoom interface ever could. However, the implications of VR in education are much greater than simply serving as an alternate classroom. There is evidence that through practice, a person’s IQ score can increase as their problem-solving abilities are improved. VR can build a space for complex, immersive problems to be experienced and solved in a way that no other medium could replicate.

 Essentially, through the adoption of VR in areas such as education and healthcare, humanity may be permanently changed for the better. These benefits could lead to further ingenuity, and new opportunities and technologies can be developed because of it. Technological advancement is an unstoppable cycle, and it has only just begun. 

This is a selection from the April 28 issue. To view the full issue, visit:

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