6 innovative uses for virtual reality

Find out six fascinating ways virtual reality is being used and why it is an exciting technology for entrepreneurs to be aware of.


Emerging technologies are constantly providing new opportunities for entrepreneurs to create innovative new startups. One of the most ingenious new developments is virtual reality, with new uses cropping up across markets and industries.

Although it is commonly associated with gaming and entertainment, in actual fact virtual reality opens a range of doors for entrepreneurs and people in IT jobs alike.

Here are six clever ways people are using virtual reality right now.

1. Healthcare

Firstly, virtual reality has been recognised as very useful in the medical industry, particularly for the training of healthcare professionals. According to Fortune, a number of hospitals are now using virtual reality software to practice a variety of medical procedures, including inserting IVs and catheters, CPR, and caring for wounds.

Miami Children’s Health System CEO Dr. Narendra Kini told Fortune that the technology is effective because it allows users to still form memories as though they have performed the activity in real life.

“The level of understanding through virtual reality is great because humans are primarily visual and virtual reality is a visual format,” he said.

In addition, it has been shown that students retain 60 per cent more information by learning through virtual reality than through traditional training, demonstrating that it has the potential to make medical study more comprehensive and practical with the help of people in software developer roles.

2. Space

Virtual reality is also able to make the “final frontier” much more accessible. A company called SpaceVR has begun a project to launch 360 degree cameras into space to capture content for virtual reality. It will provide a unique and immersive experience to subscribers, allowing them to encounter space like an astronaut.

Similarly, NASA’s Mars 2030 project, produced in collaboration with FUSION Media and MIT’s Space Systems Laboratory, aims to allow people to experience what it would be like to live on Earth’s red relative.

Director of the Advanced Exploration Systems Division at NASA, Jason Crusan, says that virtual reality extends the organisation’s long-standing use of simulated environments to train astronauts.

“Beyond practical uses for training, virtual reality offers us a compelling method to share the work we’ve been doing to design sustainable human missions and to inspire the next generation of pioneers in space,” he said.

3. Business

Another application for virtual reality that is very different from the thrill of space exploration is its use in the modern business environment. Computerworld says the technology has a number of uses in the workplace. For example, digital recruitment would be greatly enhanced by virtual reality, as candidates can be placed in complex situations that may help employees to get a better gauge of their suitability. Likewise, training new employees would become much more direct and hands-on.

Virtual reality also lets people in different locations meet in a simulated environment, meaning that going to meetings and conferences no longer relies on attendees being physically present.

4. Psychology

Interestingly, virtual reality can also have very useful applications for mental health. According to Dr Albert Rizzo, director for medical virtual reality at the University of Southern California, the technology is currently being used in clinics to conduct psychological treatments such as exposure therapy.

“We see with exposure therapy the goal really is about helping a patient, whether it’s due to a simple phobia or PTSD, to engage, to confront and to process difficult, traumatic memories,” he said in an interview for the American Psychological Association.

Virtual reality enables patients who require more than just imagination and visualisation to be exposed to their phobias in a systematically progressive and controlled environment. This means that even unrealistic fears can be confronted and managed through the simulation.

5. Automotive

Numerous automotive companies are now utilising virtual reality platforms to enhance the way they sell vehicles. It can provide potential buyers with an in-depth look at the features of a car, letting them explore exteriors and interiors, and even customise aspects like the paint jobs.

Virtual reality is also being used as a tool to educate drivers, helping to build awareness about subjects such as distractions and the danger it poses to safe driving.

6. Tourism

Lastly, the 2016 Tech Trends report released by Deloitte University Press reveals that virtual reality can be very useful for the travel and tourism industry to promote products and services. Companies are able to provide interactive ‘samples’ of cruises, hotel rooms and other amenities to attract travelers.

These virtual reality previews can even be further augmented with other sensory effects like wind and smells to make them even more enticing. For an industry that functions on the value of the consumer experience, the technology could prove to be a big asset.

It is apparent that there is a wide variety of ways virtual reality is already being used to enhance the products and services of a range of industries. It is a great technology for entrepreneurs looking for startup opportunities to be aware of, and is also an important development for professionals with IT careers in general.