Back in 1961, the Digital Equipment Corporation’s Programmed Data Processor-1 (or DEC PDP-1) arrived at the MIT Electrical Engineering Department. Shortly after, MIT hackers decided to build a game. They played with the computer because they had no clue what to do. They experimented. They created Spacewar! It’s a revolutionary game that’s always mentioned in the history of computers. Here’s what it looks like:
Yup, the MIT hackers were able to create that game because they played with this machine:
Fast forward today, we can’t live without our desktop computers and laptops.
According to the disruptive technology of Clay Christensen, the next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a toy. As people play and experiment with it, people also improve it to a point that it becomes a part of our lives.
Like computers, virtual reality is also a disruptive technology. Most people use it as a toy. But, VR becomes increasingly viable. Every day, we discover another application. It revolutionises industries. Tech experts say that it will shape the future — the one we must imagine before we create it.
The era of virtual simulations
They said Thomas Edison tried 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb. Imagine how hard, gruelling, time consuming, and expensive the process was. It wasn’t easy.
Today, we test things in the virtual world to avoid disasters and in the real world. We own powerful computers with sophisticated software algorithms which help us assess and evaluate products and designs. We can try hundreds to thousands of times until we found the best, optimal solution to our problems. Only after that, we can produce prototypes for actual testing.
In the future, virtual reality will power these product and design simulations. Powerful and expertly programmed VR is capable of testing things close to reality. We will create digital prototypes and launch digital simulations. With more planning and testing done in the virtual world, businesses get to save time and money because there are fewer real-life simulations.
The era of virtual training
Another advantage of virtual reality is that we can use it to train employees. We can train them in an immersive virtual environment and save hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This is happening already. The retail giant Walmart already started training its staff all over America using the same VR material. This levels the playing field and removes any human biases. Immersed in VR, Walmart employees get to focus on the mission of the training and finish the program. As a result, training efficiency rates increase by as much as 40%.
There’s no reason to fear technology
Technology is getting better every day. A lot of people are scared that robots will take their jobs. Parents are worried that smartphones and tablets damage their kid’s skills.
But, we shouldn’t be afraid of technology. It co-evolves with us. It aims to enhance and enrich our lives.