What Is Virtual Reality All About?

Oculus Blog
September 10, 2021

Virtual reality has taken the tech world by storm. But just what is VR?

Read on to discover what VR can do—and how you can be a part of the unbelievable experiences that transport you from the comfort of your living room to far-off worlds you never knew existed.

The Lowdown on Virtual Reality

VR uses cutting-edge graphics, best-in-class hardware, and artistically rendered experiences to create a computer-simulated environment where you aren’t just a passive participant, but a co-conspirator. With a VR headset, you’re fully absorbed in realistic 3D worlds, creating a major shift in how we experience the digital realm.

A VR headset usually features a display split between the eyes to show each eye a different feed. This creates a stereoscopic 3D effect with stereo sound. It also tracks your position in space to orient your point of view in the system.

When you combine the VR headset and input tracking, you get a completely immersive and realistic experience. Since the world around you turns every time you move your head, you feel like you’re “in the game” mentally and physically. In other words, you feel like you’re part of another universe.

Who Is VR For?

While VR adds a whole new layer to entertainment, the technology goes beyond gaming to offer something for everyone.

Did you know that, with VR, you can learn a new language, teleport almost anywhere in the world, or step aboard the International Space Station? VR lets you explore new worlds and attempt feats that seem unimaginable. And it has the potential to transform how we play, work, learn, communicate, and experience the world around us.

Consider the possibilities in healthcare. Oculus partnered with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to build a VR simulation that enables medical students and staff to be fully immersed in high-risk pediatric trauma situations where split-second decisions mean the difference between life and death. These virtual scenarios empower doctors and students to practice and learn in realistic workplace conditions, helping them hone the skills they’ll use to treat patients. By training with VR, medical providers can deliver better care.

VR is used in the automotive industry to experiment with new automobile designs. You’ll also find brands using it in retail to help shoppers virtually “try on” clothing and accessories to assist with purchasing decisions. And it’s even being used in law enforcement and the military for training.

So while games are an integral part of virtual reality, VR has plenty of different applications that will only expand as the technology develops further.

Step into Another World

Of course, reading about VR is much different than experiencing it first-hand. So get ready to go snowboarding in your living room, have a work meeting as an avatar, or explore Machu Picchu from your kitchen. With VR, the possibilities are out of this world.