Around 18 months ago the first online VR casino launched, CO – founder, Alexandre Tomic travels the world speaking on VR at different events and is a regular expert panelist and he is here today to tell us about 5 uses of VR we have not thought of yet…
Five Uses For VR You Haven’t Thought of Yet
The beauty of VR is that the more you think about it – we mean, really think about it – the more you begin to imagine its endless possibilities, and suddenly a completely new one pops into your head. VR is not just about video gaming and being able to walk into movies, although if it were merely about those two things it would still be in the top 20 achievements of humankind. But its scope goes far beyond that, into the realms of immersive journalism, engineering, education, healthcare, art, storytelling, and, of course…
…Stationary Long Distance Cycling
We were recently inspired to read about the exploits of Aaron Puzey, a British man who has just completed a bicycle ride from Lands End to John O’Groats without leaving his living room. For those of you whose geographical knowledge of the British Isles is spotty at best, Land’s End is England’s south-westernmost tip and John O’ Groats is Scotland’s northernmost point. That’s 874 miles, travelled entirely by exercise bike.
Puzey used a homemade app that feeds Google Street View panoramas into a Samsung Gear headset to simulate the sensation of travel. Would it have been more fulfilling to do the whole thing in real life on a real bike? No, it wouldn’t. It’s been done before. This man, on the other hand, is a pioneer.
Some people think VR is the stuff of dystopian science-fiction; that its advent heralds the abandonment of our souls to a technology that will ultimately erode and devalue human experience. Who knows, maybe they’re right. But there’s an alternative narrative that says VR will make us better, more sympathetic human beings.
Part of the problem with the world today is that, while we’re more globally connected than ever before, we’re emotionally disconnected from the suffering and concerns of people thousands of miles away. The director, artist and VR entrepreneur Paul Milk has called VR “the ultimate empathy machine” for its ability to transport us to, for example, the middle of a Syrian refugee camp, as an app released recently by the United Nations can do.
Sure, we may never experience the real fears and anxieties of these people, but it might be enough of a gut-wrenching kick in the stomach to make us think twice before condemning them at dinner parties.
Similarity, an app called iAnimal that transports users to a battery chicken farm claims to be having great success at converting people to vegetarianism.
What’s the opposite of empathy? Trolling, of course. And there’s a suggestion that VR could make internet trolls even more annoying and sinister than ever, which means the apocalyptic narrative on VR might be the right one all along.
Let’s face it, if you were a malignant little weirdo, wouldn’t you be rubbing your hands with glee at the thought of interactive, immersive social media, where you can not just insult your prey but shove, grope and harass their avatars as well?
Well, maybe. As telepresence becomes more sophisticated, these avatars will become increasingly realistic, to the point where we feel we are really meeting the people we interact with online. More to the point, we will see their expressions change as they interact with us. Trolls will be able to see the emotional consequences of their actions. Will they be able to look a victim in the eye as they deliver their abuse?
The first thing they teach you in journalism school is to never end a paragraph with “only time will tell.” So we won’t.
Smelly Time Travel
And speaking of time, what’s all this talk about VR propelling us into the future, when it’s just as interesting to be propelled (repelled?) into the past.
Ever felt you were born in the wrong era? VR will enable you to, say, walk down a street in swinging sixties London, or explore a medieval village; to walk with dinosaurs, or join crowds watching a guillotining during the French Revolution.
Meanwhile, developers are working on technology that will add smells to the experience. For example, VAQSO VR is a device made up of cartridges, each of which contains a specific smell. At certain points during your VR experience, the device will release the appropriate smells to enhance sensual immersion. It will certainly make that medieval village more pertinent, powerful and pungent.
Note: these scent-administering devices will also have interesting applications in VR porn.
OK, you probably already figured out that VR will be used for gambling. But have you ever considered what kind of gambling?
Technology is already changing the way we gamble, from the use of video game in-game items as currencies, to the rise in esports betting – gambling on the outcomes of professional video-game matches. Some casino games are hundreds of years old and therefore ripe for transformative innovation, and VR has the scope to completely rearrange gambling as we know it.
The truth is, VR casino gambling is already here. Last year SlotsMillion launched the first ever real-money online casino, a fully-immersive gambling experience set in a skyscraper in futuristic city.
SlotsMillion’s first games were versions of popular slots from major developers injected into cabinets within an immersive VR world. But according to the company’s co-founder, Alexandre Tomic, that’s just the start. The next step is to allow the player to step, “Tron-like”, into the cabinet and enter the universe of the game.
And after that? Who knows? But the clue may well lie in the popularity of e-sports. It’s very likely that we could all soon be sitting in a virtual stadium betting on our favorite cyber-athletes while cheering them on from the stands. That, my friends, is the future.