Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are known collectively as extended reality (XR). Virtual reality involves users wearing headsets or specialized glasses to fully engage in computer-generated platforms. Augmented reality creates computer images to serve as the user’s perspective of the world around them. This software must detect the environment before placing the images over it, a huge challenge for the system to overcome. Extended reality first appeared in immersive video games. There was a surge of amusement centers in Southern California, allowing virtual reality games to be experienced by anyone who wanted to share quality time with friends, family, and anyone who did not have such equipment at home. Thanks to apps like Pokémon Go and Facebook’s Oculus Rift, consumers have had some of their first use of this advanced technological growth. In the near future, there will be more applications of XR outside of gaming and entertainment, allowing more businesses to implement their technology into healthcare, marketing, design, and education services.
VR has been adopted in various forms of therapy, mostly to assist patients suffering from anxiety or phobias. Therapists benefit from biosensors that monitor heart rate and other physiological reactions, which can let them know whether or not their patients will react well to certain environments virtually staged by such technology. People with autism are also learning social skills from the use of VR, and it can also track the eye movements of people who have visual and cognitive disorders.
Extended reality is a great educational method as well, once it is used more widely in schools. VR creates fun and exciting ways of learning for students, In the past year, students have been able to take field trips to zoos, plazas, ancient Roman architectural sites, and even outer space through the use of VR technology. VR classrooms have given students opportunities to join collaborative communities, something they have missed out on due to the pandemic. AR is extremely helpful for training sessions in jobs, and AR training aids give employees access to on-the-go manuals to help them perform tasks correctly and efficiently. The growth of extended reality has been prominent, especially with conditions that force social distance. As the world moves forward, aspects of virtual school and remote jobs can continue to become options for people who prefer that method. It has been increasingly difficult for many people to ease back into the routine of life they had before the pandemic and having these options available to them can improve the transition. VR and AR are becoming new methods for entertainment and communication.
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