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VR: So Much More than Games

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Teens, Reading + Entertainment

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Sarah, Clemens Mill | May 30, 2018

Idea Exchange is venturing deeper into the world of virtual reality. VR is an immersive experience in which the participant is surrounded by a simulated environment through visual, physical, and audio stimulation. In July, Idea Exchange is partnering with Ctrl-V VR Arcade for a virtual reality tournament as one of our Teen Summer Challenges. Ctrl-V has a large number of amazing multi-player games, and uses the HTC Vive for spectacular immersive play. In the fall, the newly renovated Clemens Mill branch of Idea Exchange will be opening its own VR lab.  We’ll also be using the HTC Vive, and are excited to bring this technology to our members.

When people think of VR, they usually think of gaming, but the technology has applications that go far beyond games. Here are just a few of the other uses of VR (adapted from an article on livescience.com):

  1. Medicine: VR can be used for diagnosis and treatment. Virtual-reality simulations use images from CAT scans or ultrasounds to construct 3D models of a patient’s anatomy. The virtual models help surgeons determine the safest and most efficient way to locate tumors, place surgical incisions or practice difficult procedures ahead of time.
  2. Space Exploration: NASA has started to use VR technology to explore the far reaches of space.  At NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, researchers connected a VR headset with motion-sensing equipment from game consoles to control a robotic arm with the operator’s gestures. The interface could one day be used to control instruments millions of miles away.
  3. Manufacturing: From the design process to virtual prototypes, car manufacturers have been using high-tech simulations for decades. In Ford Motor Company’s Immersion Lab in Dearborn, Michigan, employees use a virtual-reality headset to inspect a design, as well as have a seat inside an automobile before it is manufactured. The virtual prototype allows designers and engineers to closely inspect different elements and spot problems early.

These applications and so many more are bringing VR into research, teaching, design, and more. If you’re already aware of the technology, you know how amazing it is, and how many ways it could be used. If you’re a “VR noob,” get ready to check it out at our Clemens Mill location in September. Or if you’re a teen, register for our Ctrl-V Virtual Reality tournament this summer.