When done well, the experience becomes almost indistinguishable from reality. Certainly, athletes do not want to miss out on the opportunities that VR brings to their training schedules, and smart businesses can have their stake in that. The message is clear: You should buy in.
Our brain can’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s not
Your body, mind and heart will not be able to distinguish between what is real and what is not.
While the gaming and tourism bandwagon is interesting, VR becomes so much more when you consider the direct impact it can have on your athletic performance. Since 2016, over a dozen NFL teams have been heavily investing in VR training programs to support in- and off-season practices. Why?
Your brain is your best training partner
VR consoles allow a football quarterback to physically move in the box, drop back, break out, and complete entire plays over and over; all without the risk of physical injury and without the need for another 30 players on the field.
These repetitive exercises form new neural pathways, which turn specific movements into quickly accessible “messages” to the brain; just as if the QB was training on the field.
KNOW YOUR OPPONENT BETTER THAN THEY KNOW THEMSELVES
If you want to win a game, you need to know your opponent.
Forget the times when your coach was sliding magnets on a strategy board.With VR, a virtual simulation of the opponents’ recordings and playbooks will allow athletes to immerse themselves into a particular situation.
Analyzing your opponents’ moves and studying their strategy in games this way consumes a lot less time than scanning hours of “real” game footage. On the field, this gives the players the mental agility to scan their environment and act quickly, instead of only reacting to what is playing out.
The effects of VR on your body are scientifically proven
The impact that VR has on our physical reality is undisputed. Scientists at the University of Washington have run clinical trials which focused on the reduction of physical pain during patient procedures. Using MRI and neuroimaging technology, they were able to report a significantly lower perception of pain in patients that were engaged in a virtually stimulated environment.
Even more impressive than these findings is the long-term effect of VR therapy during rehabilitation from severe injuries. Using VR and a non-invasive system that links the brain with a computer, a Brazilian medical team discovered that multiple paralyzed patients were able to move their legs and feel sensations again. One can only imagine the many different applications in physical therapy and how VR can speed up and support the recovering process.
There is a lot of room for growth, this is only the beginning
Considering Digi-Capitals prediction of 120 billion dollars in revenue for the VR market by 2020, it is clear that there will be more beneficiaries besides the gaming and travel industry. Those companies who are amongst the early adopters of this technology are already cashing in on low-hanging fruit. Many will follow once they see what potential VR bears for their businesses.
VR, me and you
Working with these technologies and conceptualizing opportunities for more than a year, I can say a few things for sure:
The thrill doesn’t chill. My stomach doesn’t appreciate rollercoaster rides, regardless of how many times I tell myself the experience is not real. I still flinch when I see a spider crawling across my arm while sitting at a virtual desk. I am still in awe and leaving with a feeling of connectedness every time I orbit planet earth attached to the International Space Station.
The technology and experiences are rapidly improving, at a pace that makes it hard to keep up with the development.
This is your chance to create tomorrow’s realities – be it in professional sports, IT, communication or HR.