The advantage of VR for gaming applications is obvious, but what if you’re not into video games? Some companies are exploring other ways to use this brave new technology.
Ford, for example, uses the Oculus Rift’s technology for vehicle demonstrations, allowing a person to view a car from all angles. The person can even sit in the driver's seat and look around the interior of the car.
The technology could be used for virtual vacations, like the Hawaii helicopter ride. Imagine going on a tour of Paris without ever leaving your home. Classroom-type experiences are also in the works: A team from Harvard is working on software called The Giza Project, which allows a person to see the pyramids in Ancient Egypt.
NASA has also taken advantage of the VR technology along with a Kinect motion-sensing camera (more video-game stuff!) to control a pair of robotic arms. Those would be a huge help on an unmanned space mission, for example.
And training applications for the military and medical community are being developed by companies such as Arch Virtual.
On the more practical side, the headsets could be used to kindle interest in 3D movies—or even just as a personal display. I would love to be able to binge-watch a season of "The Walking Dead" while my wife sleeps next to me, blissfully unaware of the huge nerd she married. Although having a VR headset strapped on my face might be something of a giveaway.