Why is VR useful ?

Introduction

Here is talk by Sebastien Kuntz, CEO of MiddleVR, at Oculus Connect 2014:

Here are the slides:

 

Presence

Once your user really feels present in this virtual environment, he or she will feel natural emotions and get natural reactions. For example when immersed in front of a virtual new product or in a virtual building, they will get the same emotions as if the object or building were real ! There is no need to create the object physically. Moreover, it is very fast to modify a virtual object compared to a real object. Changing the textures or the environment can be done in one click, allowing you to present multiple alternatives very quickly.

Natural reactions are important for training and healthcare applications: the user will react as if the situation is real. If the situation is dangerous, you can see if the trainee reacts in a correct way. Treating phobias and PTSD is also very efficient in VR: exposing the patient to its phobic stimuli can greatly help the therapist to better treat the phobia.

Work on the future or the past

VR is also great because it allows you to work on things that don’t exist yet or have disappeared, contrary to Augmented Reality that requires a part of existing reality. Imagine working on a new building, a new product, a new car, plane, boat, kitchen! You can experience all of them long before they are actually creating. You can also imagine revisiting ancient places and events, like World War II, ancient Rome or the Egyptian pyramids as if you were there!

In engineering this ability to see a product before it is physically created is useful to:

– identify conception errors early: the sooner you identify a design flaw, the cheaper it is to fix!

– iterate more on the design of the product and thus get a better quality,

– test the usage of the product with actual users,

– train your engineers, marketing team, sales team, after-sales and maintenance on the product before it is released,

– evaluate if the product is really manufacturable and maintainable: can the operator actually fit his hand to reach this screw? Will he have  back pains or articulation problems if he repeats this particular gesture a thousand times ? Ergonomic issues can be detected and fixed early in the conception cycle.

Distant collaboration

VR has the ability to abolish the physical distances: you can meet your distant friends and colleagues in a virtual world. You can then share the same virtual space and work collaboratively on reviewing a design, testing a maintenance procedure or play golf!

Create empathy

VR can put a user in the shoes of somebody else. It has been applied to create empathy towards disabled people in wheelchairs: this can be used by associations or a city to demonstrate that some arrangements in public transport or the city should be made to help disabled people. This is strongly demonstrated in this application of virtual journalism by Nonny de la Pena “Hunger in LA“.

Save material

One unexpected benefit of using VR is that in some scenarios you can save material! A French company created a training simulator for the application of isolating coating on houses. The application was perfect to teach the particular gesture needed for this task, but also saves a lot of (real) expensive isolating material (and water!!)