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Keeping busy during self-isolation (with VR)

Keynotes:

  • Isolation isn’t the end of the world. Just means it’s time to get a bit more creative and VR can help with that.
  • Travel, learn or play VR and AR tech have you covered.
  • Half-Life is this year’s VR game of choice for the decerning gamer.
  • Stay safe, stay at home and see the world through new lens.

 

If you are amongst the millions of people who have now been on lockdown in one form or the other over the last few weeks – you’re aware that having nothing to do might have some going a little stir-crazy.

There are only so many times you can re-watch your favorite series or movie before it can’t distract you from the isolation. And for those with kids… Let’s just say this is an especially hard time.

So what do you do when you suddenly find all this free time on your hands and need to maintain your mental health?Well, we do have a few solutions for those of the VR and AR community.

SEE ALSO:  VR and AR amidst the COVID-19 outbreak

1. Travel

Ironic isn’t it. One of the best things to do during a global pandemic is to travel the world. But not to worry, you don’t have to leave your couch.

The travel industry is one of the most affected sectors as a result of the global pandemic but this doesn’t mean its dead just yet. Virtual reality allows for guided tours of any place around the world. Pegged to advance the tourist industry, people can now explore remote and exotic destinations.

By giving a full 360-degree view of the different locations, users can immerse themselves in the local culture and explore new and interesting places that have now become far more distant with the travel ban.

From viewing the earth from a birds eye view or through the eyes of an astronaut or exploring crystal clear waters on tropical islands. The wealth of VR destinations online is enough to keep you busy and entertained.

Some experiences are so immersive that for a moment you might believe you are actually there.

2. Exercise

Using VR technology to power workouts isn’t new. A number of high-end fitness companies have already integrated VR headsets into their offerings.

One of the most recent comes from BlackBox VR, a VR gym concept that would require you to go to a boutique gym venue and use VR headsets when you get there to shake-up your exercise routine.

This however isn’t a viable solution anymore. So apps and games that give you a full workout at home are on the rise.

This is the appeal of games like Beat Saber and BoxVR that allow anyone with a VR headset to play them from their own home. This is appealing now that we are all stuck inside.

It’s also even more accessible now that VR headsets are becoming a little cheaper, require less equipment and offer more mobile experiences. Both Beat Saber and BoxVR told us that designing for the Oculus Quest, which was launched in May 2019, has given them even more creative freedom.

The Oculus Quest is ideal in that it’s the first untethered device and I think we’ll see more of these over time, VR headsets will also become even smaller, lighter and more portable, like the Quest, which of course will benefit fitness games.” – Oculus team

What does the future of VR fitness hold? Beat Games hopes to add more fitness features to future versions of the game now the team knows how important that element has become, including a burned calories counter, a special fitness music pack or even a collaboration with a fitness tracker company.

3. Become social

Today, VR influences pretty much all industries and walks of life, including interactions between people on social media.

Previously, with traditional social media, users would log in and post something online for their friends to engage with. This is the old method of doing things. Now imagine if this process becomes much more immersive. After all, immersion in the content is one of the biggest selling points of VR.

This is precisely what a VR social network offers users. It gives them the freedom to interact with each other in all sorts of ways. For example, let’s compare and contrast the gaming experience on old social medial vs. Social VR.

On traditional social media, you would be limited to whatever chat options Facebook or any other platform provides you. In a virtual social network, gamers can create their avatars, put on a headset and walk around in the game environment that can also be customized by the users themselves.

This way, they are able to connect on a much more personal level, and the games become much more fun.

This is just one example of how VR solutions are connecting people all over the world and offering them experiences that have not been possible before. A great alternative when you don’t have the option to go and hang out with friends for a while.

SEE ALSO:  The Oculus Connect 6 Event and what we got from it

4. Attend events:

There are a few events and meetings that can’t be avoided, quarantine or not.

Attending a wedding

No matter how well a wedding is planned, certain guests just can’t attend, especially now that there are travel bans and movement restrictions in place within most major countries around the world. However, now they can be there via VR.

That means your guests can get footage that puts them in the middle of the event and all the experiences. They can look around, listen to the vows, and get the next best thing to actually being there. Virtual guests can also interact with the bride and groom, giving them a way to say “congrats!” from afar.

Virtual Conference Attendance

Save guests the inconvenience and expense of travel by holding a virtual conference. This will allow users to interact with various speakers, network, listen to lectures, and participate almost as if they were there.

It’s a trend that’s already popping up in areas such as sports, concerts, and other live events.

Virtual Speakers

In the past some of the best speakers were often overbooked, meaning you have to catch them between events and make sure they have plenty of time to travel, we’ll that’s all out the window now.

With virtual attendance being the only means of attending any event these days, you always get a front row seat. Instead of having to travel to speak at your event, busy speakers like Malcolm Gladwell and Tony Robbins can attend virtually and deliver their message.

Because let’s face it, the better the speakers, the more traffic you’re going to have at your event.

Virtual Parties, festivals and launching.

From music festivals to book lunching and online concerts, life hasn’t been standing still and these events can still be attended with the help of VR and AR technology. So might be a good idea to take a look at what virtual events you can add to your calendar.

5. Meditate

Meditation has been proven, in peer-reviewed scientific studies, to be one of the most effective solutions to stress. Within the past five years, the number of U.S adults and children practicing the mindfulness exercise has greatly increased. Now, we can add an extra dimension to meditation through VR.

Meditation, coupled with VR technologies, can be more precise and personalized and make the learning curve easier. Plus, when wearing a headset you are truly transported, making it easier to tune out of any distractions around you and focus.

Apps like Guided Meditation VR are built from the ground up for VR, making meditation simple and visual. Take a short virtual vacation across 27 environments to find your happy place in one of the customized meditation spots.

Alternatively, learn ancient meditation practices in a cutting-edge way with over 16 hours of custom guided sessions. You can also trek through the lush environments at your own pace. It is developed by Cubicle Ninjas and is available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Window Mixed Reality HMDs.

6. Learn something new

With a lot of free time comes the chance to learn some new skill or take a class a busy schedule did not allow for previously. But now VR can help you make a change and learn something new.

The best part is that it promotes active rather than passive experience, with immersive experience means no distractions (It is immersive because you wear a headset and view an experience which feels like you have been transported to the very location of the scene) Eg : Students in a classroom can experience visiting the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Virtual Reality learning has a lot of advantages

  • Immediate engagement: useful in today’s world of limited attention spans.
  • Exploration and hands on approach aids with learning and retention.
  • Helps with understanding complex subjects/theories/concepts
  • Suited to all types of learning styles.

Plus for those with kids, it’s a great way to make sure they stay up-to-date with their studies in a fun and interactive way.

7. Get your game on

Have you heard about the new VR sensation that’s making the gaming community go nuts? Well if you haven’t and have somehow been living under a rock the past few weeks, let us introduce you to Half-Life: Alyx a 2020 virtual reality (VR) first-person shooter developed and published by Valve.

Taking place between the events of Half-Life (1998) and Half-Life 2 (2004), players control Alyx Vance as she and her father Eli fight the occupying alien Combine. Players use VR to interact with the environment and fight enemies, using “gravity gloves” to manipulate objects, similar to the gravity gun from Half-Life 2.

Traditional elements from the series return, such as physics-based puzzles, combat and exploration, as well as some survival horror aspects – Wikipedia.

So if you are going to dive into the world of VR gaming, you might as well do it right.

Conclusion: how to stay sane during the self-isolation?

If you have been paying attention, you would realize that most of the above involve activities that you would normally leave the house for.

Virtual reality and augmented reality solutions are bringing the world to you. They have always promised immersion into a different world that is just like our own but where we get to set the rules and explore the limits of our own imagination.

Now, more than ever, we are starting to see these technologies live up to their hype. It’s still not at the point where we can plug into “The Matrix” but it has reached the point where it is a viable alternative to perform some of the activities that self-isolation has taken away.

So remember to stay safe, disinfect your gear and don’t let a little crisis stop you living your life.

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4Experience Crew - 04/01/2020 - Entertainment / Technology / VR - 0 Comments

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