Those of us who remember the short-lived virtual reality (VR) craze of the 90s — heightened by movies like The Lawnmower Man and The Matrix — may have already written VR off as a hype-inflated fad with no practical purpose. But the reality is that VR has many useful applications.
The mention of the term virtual reality likely conjures up an image of someone in a VR headset. But if you’re not entirely sure what it’s all about, it’s any interactive, immersive, computer-generated experience that takes place within a simulated environment. It mostly incorporates auditory and visual sensory feedback, but can also engage other senses such as haptic perception, or the ability to grasp objects. When using virtual reality equipment, you are able to look around and move through the artificial space and interact with virtual items. The environment can be realistic or fantastical. (Imagine how much more fun that obligatory weekly video conference meeting would be if it took place flying on giant eagles through a virtual forest?).
If you think about the practical uses for VR, not to mention the ongoing trend of employing gamification to engage workers, especially millennials, it’s likely we’ll soon be spending some of our time at work in a virtual environment.