Training doctors. Treating anxiety. Traveling to the roof of the world. As VR technology gets better and cheaper, all kinds of people are finding there is a substitute for experience after all.
Games | Beyond Minecraft
Medicine | Smooth Operator
Surgeons use VR to simulate operations and practice treating trauma victims. Paramedics rehearse dealing with dangerous situations. Burn patients rely on VR as a distraction from painful treatments. And Vivid Vision uses VR to treat amblyopia and other vision disorders.
Psychotherapy | Confronting Fears
VR is a new tool in exposure therapy, in which patients face a traumatic experience to defuse it. “Bravemind” lets soldiers with PTSD visit virtual war zones. Patients with a fear of heights board a virtual elevator. Terrified of public speaking? Address a virtual audience.
Travel | Bucket List
Education | Living Lessons
In apps from zSpace, students tinker with an interactive periodic table (“Curie’s Elements”) or dissect a virtual frog (“VIVED Science”). A recent exhibit at Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture put visitors in Rosa Parks’ seat on a segregated bus.
Space | The Feel of Zero G
“Mission: ISS” brings you aboard the International Space Station, where you can dock cargo capsules and go on a spacewalk. To train real astronauts, NASA uses a “mixed reality” simulator that combines VR with a robotic crane that can mimic the feel of micro-, lunar or Martian gravity