The inaugural Virtual Reality Working Out Loud Week launched earlier this month. It’s something I started up almost on a whim to promote real-world applications of virtual reality.
There’s plenty of talk out there about how wonderful VR is and the incredible potential it offers us, but how about now? What are our peers currently doing with this emerging technology?
The online networking festival was open to anyone working with or experimenting with virtual reality. Whether you have been playing with Google Cardboard or developing high-end immersive experiences, we wanted to hear about it. Participants were invited to use the #VRwolweek hashtag on social media to share their successes, failures, questions, answers, work-arounds, or anything else we fellow geeks would find useful.
And I’m pleased to report it was a success! Over 60 posts on social media mentioning #VRwolweek is a good start in my book, and is a testament to the enthusiasm with which the digigeek community took up the challenge.
On the other side of the coin, some may say that 60-odd posts aren’t nearly enough. I acknowledge this perspective, and I put it down to two factors: (1) Lack of awareness of the event, as this is the first ever #wolweek dedicated to VR; and (2) Lack of hands-on experience. The technology is still very much in its infancy, and many of us are yet to make the leap from reading and talking about it to experimenting with it and applying it. Indeed, most of the tweets were about what others are doing with VR.
In any case, I learned a great deal about virtual reality via the event, and I’m glad to have raised my awareness of the following real-world applications across multiple industries, including sports, entertainment, healthcare, education, workplace training, and non-profit.
- Port Adelaide Football Club uses virtual reality for match simulation training – @simongterry
- CITEC uses virtual reality to simulate a gym, complete with personal trainer – @kiwirip
- Casey Neistat takes us to the Oscars as his +1 with his 360° camera – @ActivateLearn
- Microsoft uses virtual reality to immerse players into the Minecraft metaverse – @kiwirip
- Six Flags is turning to virtual reality to enhance its rollercoaster experience – @LearnKotch
- Torbay Hospital uses virtual reality to improve doctor empathy – @MoorOfALife
- The US military uses virtual reality therapy to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – @simongterry
- The Virtual Reality Medical Center uses virtual reality therapy to treat phobias – @despinatracey
- MindMaze is testing the use of virtual reality to treat phantom limb pain – @despinatracey
- Conquer Mobile is testing the use of virtual reality to train surgeons for complex operations – @despinatracey
- Students at Barker College manipulate virtual objects in a 3D space – @ActivateLearn
- Students at Wagaman Primary School use augmented reality to bring an educational treasure hunt to life – @karinpfister
- Nearpod’s VR lessons allow students to go on virtual field trips – @kiwirip
- Prospective students at Harvard and Yale can take virtual campus tours – @kiwirip
- Nokia uses virtual reality to simulate public speaking – @Elearnstudiospt
- Lancôme uses virtual reality to visualise how its product works on the skin – @Elearnstudiospt
- Commonwealth Bank of Australia uses virtual reality to engage prospective recruits in a virtual workplace – @simongterry
- Sentient Computing uses interactive virtual reality to deliver high-stakes safety training – @sentcomp @dougbester
- The UN uses a virtual reality film to change attitudes in one of the world’s hot spots – @kiwirip
- Amnesty International uses virtual reality to help Sydneysiders appreciate the ravages of the Syrian conflict – @NeilVonHeupt
A special thank you goes out to everyone who participated in VR Working Out Loud Week, including Simon Terry who helped me lift it off the ground in the first place. I’m already looking forward to launching it again next year.
By the way, it’s never too late to keep the conversation going. Feel free to continue using the #VRwolweek hashtag all year to share with us what you’re doing in the virtual reality space.