Disruptive technology explained – Virtual Reality

Disruptive technology explained – Virtual Reality

From the AiM Next Generation Technologies team.

Tron – The art of virtual reality

I sometimes hear people say, “we live in a strange world”, and this confuses me, since it’s the same world those people were born into, and the same one in which they’ve been living for the whole of their life. After all, it’s not like they’re Kevin Flynn and have suddenly been digitised by MCP’s experimental laser and placed in the ENCOM mainframe. The what? I’m thinking of the film Tron, where a real person is transferred into a digital world, where rogue programmes control others, and if they don’t comply, are forced to take part in deadly games. This can’t happen right?

Well, not entirely, but if you have the urge to leave your finely chiselled/unloved (delete as appropriate) body behind, you could experience something like this with the aid of ‘virtual reality’. VR as it’s known, is a sensory experience, which feeds you visual and auditory inputs, allowing you to explore virtual worlds (you can even add in touch if necessary). These virtual worlds may be representations of actual places, or entirely made up geographies, but you can do so without the constraints of your physical body.

What use is this, I hear you ask. Well there’s pure entertainment for a start, but there’s also the possibility of using the tool to orientate people to new environments, allowing them to move freely in a space that may not be suitable for an in-person experience. There’s also training, for instance surgical procedures, or carrying out dexterous activities when the actual location either doesn’t exist, or access is limited, for example trainee pilots.

With VR, imagination really can run wild, and it’s possible to experience things that you might not be able to otherwise. Okay, it’s not the real thing, but it’s close…


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