20 real-world examples of Virtual Reality

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.

Virtual Reality Working Out Loud Week 2016

  1. Port Adelaide Football Club uses virtual reality for match simulation training – @simongterry

  2. CITEC uses virtual reality to simulate a gym, complete with personal trainer – @kiwirip

  3. Casey Neistat takes us to the Oscars as his +1 with his 360° camera – @ActivateLearn

  4. Microsoft uses virtual reality to immerse players into the Minecraft metaverse – @kiwirip

  5. Six Flags is turning to virtual reality to enhance its rollercoaster experience – @LearnKotch

  6. Torbay Hospital uses virtual reality to improve doctor empathy – @MoorOfALife

  7. The US military uses virtual reality therapy to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – @simongterry

  8. The Virtual Reality Medical Center uses virtual reality therapy to treat phobias – @despinatracey

  9. MindMaze is testing the use of virtual reality to treat phantom limb pain – @despinatracey

  10. Conquer Mobile is testing the use of virtual reality to train surgeons for complex operations – @despinatracey

  11. Students at Barker College manipulate virtual objects in a 3D space – @ActivateLearn

  12. Students at Wagaman Primary School use augmented reality to bring an educational treasure hunt to life – @karinpfister

  13. Nearpod’s VR lessons allow students to go on virtual field trips – @kiwirip

  14. Prospective students at Harvard and Yale can take virtual campus tours – @kiwirip

  15. Nokia uses virtual reality to simulate public speaking – @Elearnstudiospt

  16. Lancôme uses virtual reality to visualise how its product works on the skin – @Elearnstudiospt

  17. Commonwealth Bank of Australia uses virtual reality to engage prospective recruits in a virtual workplace – @simongterry

  18. Sentient Computing uses interactive virtual reality to deliver high-stakes safety training – @sentcomp @dougbester

  19. The UN uses a virtual reality film to change attitudes in one of the world’s hot spots – @kiwirip

  20. Amnesty International uses virtual reality to help Sydneysiders appreciate the ravages of the Syrian conflict – @NeilVonHeupt


UPDATE: 25 more real-world examples of Virtual Reality


Man training in virtual reality

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.

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17 Comments on “20 real-world examples of Virtual Reality”

  1. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Nice one, thanks Matt.

  2. ideaoninc Says:

    Huge but useful list..

  3. Yanglish Says:

    Useful examples for future work. Thank you.

  4. Thanks pretty nice. I also came up with a list of 20 different industries that are using Virtual Reality in a unique way: https://medium.com/@viarbox/20-ways-virtual-reality-is-changing-the-world-64c81b2ee807

  5. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Good stuff, thanks Dejan. Funny how we both settled on the number 20!

  6. Thanks for sharing this great wealth of knowledge. Much appreciated.

  7. eNyota Learning Pvt Ltd Says:

    Here is another one. Users may check the following to get – “Virtual Reality In The Classroom”.


  8. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Thanks for the addition, eNyota. Do you know of any schools using Pioneer Expeditions?

  9. Inspiring to see one person have the the idea and initiative to create a “week”. Thank you. I am an artist/writer/videomaker… https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Hiverlab.BeachRd&hl=en

  10. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Stephen. I hope you’ll participate actively in the next #VRwolweek in 2017.

    Congratulations on your excellent work with Beach Road 360VR. It’s a wonderful example of how this technology can immerse the viewer into the story. I especially like the scene where the protagonist is sitting at the car park – when you turn around, you can see what he is seeing and so feel that much more connected. Well done!

  11. jedholtzman Says:

    Great article. It does seem VR will be the next thing and the possibilities are endless. Ask the person sitting next to you what they think would be a good idea for VR and I’m sure they could give you a few ideas instantly. It’s just making those ideas in reality.

  12. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Indeed Jed, VR is growing and becoming ever more mainstream by the day.

    I’m especially excited by WebVR, for which the virtual experience isn’t locked into a particular app’s infrastructure.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Great initiative. i just hit the article out to know what all this talk about VR application is. As a layman, i have had some clarity abt it. Thanku Ryan

  14. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Thanks for saying so! Yes, I think seeing real examples helps to explain what this concept actually is.

  15. Ryan Tracey Says:

    Read my post about VR WOL Week 2017 – Virtual Duality

  16. Arinze Says:

    This is quite interesting

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