Virtual reality (VR) is an increasingly accessible technology for the public. This provides many opportunities for businesses to give the public a rewarding experience from far away. There are several ways VR can be used to enhance different experiences for the public or to attract more people to visit a specific area.
Virtual Field Trips
With more constraints on public school funding, one of the first opportunities that are cut from budgets are field trips. Unfortunately, children may have less exposure to the arts or enhanced science education. This also affects areas in the local community that lose admission dollars, like art and science museums, or historic battlefields. A good compromise would be for small and large museums to offer VR tours of their exhibits. The admission fees would be lower and area cash-strapped schools would be less concerned about the dollars needed to transport students to field trips.
Instead of taking an entire day from the curriculum to go to an area museum, students could spend a few hours doing a VR tour and the information can be easily integrated into a homework assignment or project to further the learning experience. Similarly, these museums could utilize their VR tours as a method of gaining funding from the public. Many of these museums lose important funding because the public simply does not visit as frequently.
Enhanced Undergrad Science Education
As an undergraduate, especially in biology, you may not be afforded the same course offerings and laboratory materials as graduate or medical students. This can make undergraduates ill-prepared to take on the challenges of higher levels of education, especially if they have the goal of pursuing medical education. One of the advantages of VR would be the opportunity to view labs associated with gross anatomy and dissection. Although the VR experience is vastly different than the hands-on experience, students can have the opportunity to view real cadaveric specimens and achieve a better understanding of human anatomy.
For some students the experience of the cadaver lab can bring uneasiness, which might be mitigated by having some experience well before they enter medical school. Similar approaches can be used to further medical education from medical school through continuing medical education. For example, surgical approaches for different treatments may change as surgeons find ways to increase positive outcomes while reducing complications. Doctors can receive better training if they are in a realistic environment before they reach the operating room for the hands-on experience.
Increased Tourism Dollars
The tourism industry can truly capitalize on using VR as a way to promote a city or state. Instead of investing money one the mailing costs associated with the classic booklets and brochures, that do little to give visitors a true look at what it is like to visit the area, the money is best utilized giving prospective visitors a realistic experience. A prospective tourist can feel what it is like walking around the area casinos by looking at the different slot machines or walking up to a packed gambling table.
Similarly, areas with notable beaches can give the viewer the experience of what it is like to walk on the warm sand and see the waves crashing. An excellent opportunity is watching the sun set or rise over the water. Other countries that heavily rely on tourist dollars may have the opportunity to captivate their audience and encourage them to make a significant investment to travel abroad. One of the major benefits of VR is the viewer can often create the sights, sounds, and smells in their mind, which further makes the experience realistic and potentially inviting.
VR is more than just gaming, it opens a new world of possibilities for improved education. Whether you want to learn about great painters or different countries, VR can enhance various experiences.