Virtual Reality (VR) provides you with a very immersive experience, making you feel like you are in a different world. The technology has been around for a long time but has not been put to very much real use. In recent years, companies like Occulus has developed VR headsets that bring that technology one step closer to the consumer market. Even though the Occulus headset is still mainly for the developers, it has shown tremendous potential. There are games, simulations, movies that you can download to get a taste of what VR is like.

Another interesting development is using the Occulus headset with the Leapmotion. Now, not only can you see things in 360 degree, but you can also interact with the objects in the virtual environment.

Many companies are working on VR headsets and we would expect new models to be smaller, cheaper and even more powerful. Keep an eye on HTC Vive, it looks really promising.

If you want to experience virtual reality but do not want to spend money on the Occulus, there is another option – the Google Cardboard. While you need to connect the Occulus to your PC for it to work, the Google Cardboard makes use of your phone. It uses the phone’s display and the different sensors to achieve similar effect as the Occulus. Samsung also has something similar called the Galaxy Gear VR which works with the Galaxy Note 4.

There are a lot of free applications that you can download from the Occulus site or Google Playstore.

 

Potential applications for special needs

  • Social stories for kids with autism
  • Teaching social skills by interacting with fictional characters in the virtual world
  • Virtual tour for kids who are immobile