From porn to video games, virtual reality is about to shake up all aspects of our day-to-day lives

The concept of virtual reality has been around for more than a century, but it wasn’t until a few decades ago that it first entered the collective conscience – largely thanks to films like The Matrix, Minority Report and Inception (and, of course, the now infamous Holodeck which first appeared in the smash hit TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation).  

But, rather than being a far-fetched idea, Virtual Reality (VR) has now become, well, a reality. Luckily though, unlike Neo, you won’t need to insert a plug into the back of your head to enjoy it. Here are some of the most interesting ways VR is changing the world as we know it…

Are you game?

The video game industry has come a long way since arcade classics like Mario first made their 2D foray into our virtual world. The leap to 3D blew our minds (Mario 64, anyone?) but now we’re about to enter a new dimension altogether as VR will soon allow players to immerse themselves in their favourite games. 

At the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, developers, game makers, and some of the tech industry’s largest companies gathered to discuss the latest hardware and software designed to transport players to virtual environments. Examples include The Oculus Rift headset. Gamers, rejoice

Turned on

With the advent of the Internet, piracy and free porn sites have become rife. But the tide is about to turn thanks to virtual reality porn, which promises to blow 2D porn clean out of the water.  

The industry may start to see a lot more of its hard-earned cash if this becomes mainstream; a notion which doesn’t seem too impossible given the industry is already buying virtual real estate. Whether it turns out to be a success or a flop remains to be seen, but either way, virtual reality porn is coming soon (ahem) to a headset near you. Warning: sparks may fly.

‘Live’ and learn

Medical students don’t have much room for error when it comes to trialling their surgical prowess. But, thanks to cutting-edge simulators designed for all kinds of operations, from brain surgery to plastic surgery, students of the future can practise and perfect their skills before taking a stab (so to speak) at the real thing.  

Astronomy students will thank their lucky stars, too as virtual reality will enable them to move planets around, track the progress of comets and much more. Far out, man.

Superhuman

Athletes are set to become faster and stronger than ever before with the aid of virtual reality. From golfers who want to improve their swing to skiers looking to perfect their parallel turns – new technologies will be used as an aid to analyse technique and measure athletic performance for a range of sports. Athletes will be able to test their limits and fine-tune their tactics in ways that were previously not possible. 

And it’s good news for spectators, too; VR live streaming could allow you to watch from any seat in the stadium. It’s a win-win situation, really.

Another Dimension

Sketching 3D models or buildings on 2D computer screens has never been an easy task – in fact, it’s incredibly complicated. But VR looks set to change all that, and make the lives of designers and architects everywhere a hell of a lot easier, not to mention a lot more fun.  

For example, MakeVR, created by Sixense, is a 3D modelling system that aims to allow anyone to make printable 3D objects with their own hands. As George Bernard Shaw once said: ‘Imagination is the beginning of creation.’ So, start imagining, and create what you will.