Virtual reality: becoming a reality, virtually

VR futures: where will virtual reality take you?

2016 may be the year that virtual reality (VR) technology breaks into the mainstream. Hardware manufacturers like Oculus are gearing up, with the first Rift headsets reaching customers at the end of March and many people lining up to experience different 'realities'.

It will all start with the big markets of gaming and entertainment, but what else can VR offer? E&T takes a look at the opportunities in fields as diverse as manufacturing, healthcare, criminal justice and many more. Where will it take you? Only time will tell.

VR and AR transforming healthcare

Whether it's making painful treatments more bearable, helping people to overcome mental health problems or supporting surgeons in their decisions, VR looks set to transform healthcare.

VR and architecture

Taking the slog out of viewing and choosing property.

VR in art

Many more artists could begin to blend VR with art to enhance the viewer's appreciation.

VR and biology

The Living Heart Project is a transnational research initiative aimed at revolutionising cardiovascular medicine through highly realistic simulation.

VR and crime scene investigations

Taking a jury to the scene of a crime could change the court system and the way evidence is presented.

VR and AR in the factory

How does industry make best use of augmented, virtual and mixed realities?

VR and fashion

Put yourself in the front row at designer shows and use your avatar to try before you buy.

VR and the military

VR can help soldiers fully prepare for combat.

VR and space exploration

VR-cations for the mind on the long trip to Mars.

VR and amusement parks

Mixed realities could be on the horizon for all attractions.

VR around the world

VR should encourage active tourism and enhance our travelling experiences.

VR in gaming

Virtual reality has been prolific in the gaming industry since the 1980s, when Sega's Master System 3D glasses promised to take you inside a virtual world. The best, however, is yet to come.

VR in movies

Hollywood has finally embraced the dawn of the VR age.

VR in sport

Broadcasters and big leagues get in on the action.

VR in the news

'Immersive journalism' achieves the objective of putting viewers at the scene of world events.

VR in the future office

Workplace VR goes far further than digital-paintball team-building excursions. Faster servicing is only the beginning.

VR recreating the past

So you think museums are old buildings full of artefacts sitting behind glass? Not any more.

VR and live music

Watch your favourite artist perform up-close and personal, wherever you are.

VR and AR apps for your phone

From safer driving through self-guided tours to using your phone as a VR headset, we look at mobile apps that are augmenting the reality your phone sees.

VR and mobile 5G

The true era of virtual reality will only fully take off once the technology frees itself from bulky PCs and can run smoothly on mobile phones, supported by major connectivity strides enabled by the development of 5G wireless telecommunication networks.

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