What is Virtual Reality?
A cliché dictionary definition defines virtual reality as "an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one's actions partially determine what happens in the environment; also : the technology used to create or access a virtual reality" (Merriam-Webster). This definition conjures images of fiction such as Star Trek's Holodeck or the artificial world within The Matrix. Inspired by imaginative technology, VR systems are soon to become as common as one's Smartphone.
A number of contemporary technologies were predicted in Universal Pictures' Back to the Future Part II's 2015 setting. Including virtual reality, prophetically depicted within the scene where Marty McFly Jr. is more interested in his VR gaming visor than the family supper. Just as envisioned, the gaming industry has fueled the creation of conventional head mounted displays such as Oculus VR's Oculus Rift or Valve & HTC's Vive. However, as VR tech becomes more accessible and cost friendly, the usage of VR will become more widespread and diverse.
More and more educational institutions have been investing in VR technology to train students in various capacities in cases where opportunities to be placed in real life situations are limited. Such as medical students using simulators to learn specific operations without endangering a life or using a costly cadaver. VR is also an engaging and more rewarding alternative to dull standard practices of training within the classroom. VR training and education is particularly valuable to students who are tactile learners; students who retain more information through experience and action. Various fields of industry would also greatly benefit from VR technology such as Space and Aeronautics, Medical and health, Forensic science, Computer science, Museums and Galleries to specifically name a few.
With the fast evolving nature of the tech world, the general public will soon have access to the technology that previously only existed within the realm of science fiction.