Most people immediately think of gaming when they imagine virtual reality (VR). Technology is continuously progressing and the actual reality is VR is finding more application across a variety of industries. The immersive experiences associated with VR are advancing sports, education and learning, and even mental health.

Sporting organizations such as the National Football League (NFL) are eager to implement VR into their activities on and off of the football field. The Pittsburg Steelers, for example, have plans to introduce VR access to their fans in an attempt at changing the spectating experience. The NFL has also created a program with the American Heart Association and engages children in a behind the scenes virtual class on cardio/fitness exercises. This effort encourages children to get active and VR is the perfect way to keep youth interested in being physically active.

VR has also proven to be useful for learning purposes. Users are able to experience hands on scenarios which further their knowledge on a given subject. VR is being introduced to school-related activities and training in job fields. In the medical field, doctors are enhancing their knowledge with practical scenarios for surgery that they may have not have been exposed to previously. The potential for VR to impact education and learning is exponential and could become a norm for future teaching methods.

Have you experienced stress or fear lately? Virtual reality has shown success at reducing stress in children receiving vaccines. Children are able to escape the reality of being at a doctor’s office and have their minds distracted in a new and exciting experience. VR has also helped individuals face their fears. There is a recent study conveying virtual reality to be capable of reducing fears of death (thanatophobia) in users by providing them with an out-of-body experience. Virtual reality is ready to be introduced to the world, and when it is it will influence our everyday lives.

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