It was the most complex situation that the young medical students had ever faced. They entered the operation theater, one at a time, and battled to save the patient with a bleeding tumor that could not be stanched. As each student met with little success, it was fortunate that the patient was only a simulation used for surgical training! Their responses in this environment could now be used to prepare them for similar stressful situations in the real world.
Immersion into virtual reality, which creates the perception of being present in a non-physical world, has traditionally been used for training in areas such as commercial aviation, nuclear power production, and the military—replicating hazardous tasks, with a low margin for error. This same technology is now being replicated in healthcare to simulate situations doctors encounter, thereby enhancing training and improving patient safety. With health organizations estimating that 98,000 patients die to medical errors in the US alone, the potential for this technology is immense.
Moreover, the role of immersive technology has moved from facilitating training to enabling production. Take the case of the automobile industry - at the Virtual Reality lab at Ford, engineers use 3D imaging to construct and test the interiors of vehicles. Not only does it give them an almost lifelike vision of future products, but they can also switch between models in minutes to compare designs.
Even prior to this, the retail industry has been reaping in the benefits of creating an immersive consumer experience. For instance, at Gucci’s flagship store in Milan, customers can interact with a life-size product catalogue, using simple hand gestures. Elsewhere in Paris, Adidas also shows off their range of over 8000 shoes on an interactive 3D wall. Here, technology has added an explorative dimension to the retail environment. The banking industry has also turned to this technology in America and Asia to build increased awareness about financial products. In future, this technology is expected to even assist customers, creating virtual environments to duplicate facilities that are currently only available in the physical world.
People are perhaps most familiar with the use of immersive technology in consumer electronics. In 2012, defense applications accounted for the largest share in the augmented and virtual reality market, followed by transportation and consumer electronics applications. The best examples of this can be seen in the gaming industry, which has taken strides forward in the development of this technology—take for instance Stanford researchers who recently designed a controller that uses sensors to gauge brain activity and adjust gameplay accordingly. ‘Immersive’ is clearly the current user experience buzzword here, a trend substantiated by Facebook’s purchase of Oculus, a virtual reality headset for gaming experiences.
What are some of the potential applications of immersive technology that could enable businesses across industries? Share your views with us in the comments box below.
Augmented Reality,Immersive technology,Virtual Reality