The Benefits of Using Virtual Reality in the Lifestyle of Older Adults
Virtual reality and augmented reality are here to stay. Both Virtual Reality and Augmented reality will become mainstream in the near future. Things are already changing dramatically, and those who are against it, may only be waiting until it becomes too late. If you’re not familiar with what Virtual Reality is, allow me to explain.
A lot of people may not know that Virtual Reality and Augmented reality were actually created in the 1980s. Researchers at NASA were trying to come up with ways to give long distance astronauts a true experience in space. They came up with what is known as the ‘golfer’s box’, an LCD display that was embedded into the helmet of the astronaut.
This is just one application of augmented reality. The most exciting application however is in the field of entertainment. It also uses technology such as Google Glass, a device that utilizes your voice to control all sorts of different aspects of the system. We can look forward to holographic displays, lucid dreaming, and Iikea Place where everything you see is possible.
If we want to take things one step further, we can use augmented reality in our homes. Many of us already own cell phones or smart phones that incorporate high-tech LCD screens and GPS/RFID chips. With the coming of interactive apps, we can interact with our phones via apps, or just talk to our smart phones using our voice. We can do things like control our televisions and lighting, controlling our computers, or just about anything that we could do with a keyboard and mouse. In the future, all these functions will be possible with the help of augmented reality or virtual reality headsets and hololens.
Hololens is one company that has already developed an augmented reality system for use inside the house. Their Hololens 3D viewer software uses your existing Windows OS to project a digital landscape into your room. It works hand-in-hand with their i3 whiteboard application to digitize the real world around you. The end result is augmented reality brought to life on your screen within the confines of your very own home. By placing objects in the environment, you can manipulate them, zoom in and out, move them around, change their orientation, etc… and by doing so, you are able to virtually interact with the object, in much the same way you would if you were in the real world.
This same technology is applied to augmented reality and virtual reality. We can imagine a future in which we do not even need to go out of our homes. Rather, with the advent of mobile computing, we can simply take advantage of the presence of another human being in the same room as us to interact with that person. If we are inside a restaurant, we can simply order off a virtual menu without having to actually move from our chairs to the counter. With augmented and virtual reality technologies, we will be able to access information at any point of our lives, even while we are doing something as simple as reading the newspaper.
Although we have been focusing primarily on the youth market when it comes to this new technology, it is important to recognize that the same techniques can be very useful in older adults’ social lives. For example, law firms could put a virtual image of an attorney on the wall of their offices, so that clients who visit will be able to interact with an experienced legal expert. This same technology could also be applied in many business offices to improve upon the’retreat’ atmosphere that many workers seek when they leave their jobs. A virtual receptionist could take calls, handle messages, and answer phones right from the front desk. By combining these technologies with teleconferencing and VOIP technologies, older adults may find themselves with a great deal more flexibility than ever before in their social lives.
There is no telling just how much interactivity our world will open up to us once these highly advanced technologies are available. Some people are worried that we are moving away from the idea of the physical world and toward a world of digital information. However, if you look at the rise of online gaming and other internet-based technologies, there is no denying that we are indeed moving into the future. Whether you are worried about the future of the physical world or the future of the virtual one, it is important to make sure that you are setting up the appropriate devices for the future, and a device as immersive and real-life as a VR headset could certainly help you do that.