Virtually Mindblowing

From immersive zombie shooting to house-hunting to training yourself to survive a bear attack, virtual reality (VR) technology has long left the realms of sci-fi to move into the realms of, well, everything.

By: Helen Gilchrist,   1 minute

Inspired by an unusual application we discovered in our research for Arm magazine, here are three applications that prove how VR can be anything but a gimmick*. If you’ve always wanted to fly free as a bird, read on…

*Well, until we get to try it ourselves, the jury’s still out on no. 3…

1. Blasting bias

Dealing with racial and gender discrimination is an everyday challenge for too many people across the world. And all too often, it begins in the classroom. So Clorama Dorvilias developed Teacher’s Lens, a virtual reality training tool that tests teacher’s biases in a gamified world – helping empower them to minimize their biases and strive toward inclusive, accepting and inspiring classrooms where all students thrive equally.

2. Forgetting pain

From training surgeons to rehabilitating patients after strokes, surgery and even amputations, the VR and augmented reality (AR) market in medicine is set to reach $1467.83 million by 2023, according to research by Industry ARC. But what really blows our minds is its ability to stop the brain from processing pain – which can even shorten patients hospital stays and lower the cost of the entire treatment process.

3. Flying high

Feel the wind gather speed through your hair as you dive down towards the sea; inhale that fresh ocean smell as you skim above the water, before drinking in the heady scent of pine trees as you soar back up over forests and mountains, gliding through clouds towards the sun. Since Icarus’s disastrous attempts of yore, humans have always longed to fly. Now Birdly can give you a realistic bird-like experience; simulating flight posture by lying on a padded platform while wearing a VR headset, with actual flaps for wings and a hydraulic mechanism to tip you forward when you dive.

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