I know how Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are going to change the world, and so do you.
Can a doctor learn anatomy using the Microsoft Hololens or a similar AR device? Not only is it possible, but at least one university is already implementing that very idea in their training.
During the initial presentation of the Microsoft Hololens the company produced two short videos (clipped together here) discussing the product. In one video, some of the team members talked about how excited they were to see what ways people would use the device that they hadn’t thought of. In the other, they showed quick demos of ways it could be used.
One of those appeared to be a father helping his daughter with a plumbing problem by writing on a tablet that connected with her Hololens to display what she needed to do over the pipe in question.
What other ways can Augmented and Virtual reality be used?
1. Virtual Field Trips
Imagine taking a virtual field trip where Virtual Reality goggles allow you to experience a the Louvre. Your haptic gloves allow you to hold paintings that haven’t been moved in years. You then walk outside to a street vendor and, after touching the same glove to your tongue, taste and smell everything he has to offer. This seems insane, but it’s one very real possibility in the near future. No location is truly off limits. No experience, at least to a certain level, is closed off from anyone in society.
2. Blue Collar Labor Jobs
Speaking of plumbing, how does this affect both training and real time interventions? Where does it fit in the realm of construction, carpentry, welding, and similar jobs. Imagine a contractor being able to have AR displays for you from each competing bidder for part of your home construction. Think about a world where the reality of home improvement projects involves a step-by-step guide that overlays the real product while you use the real tool to perform the action needed to get the job done. What does it look like when an apprentice can learn from the best plumber in the area even if the master plumber is ill, injured, or out of town? Both the professional field and DIY may look markedly different in just a few short years.
3. Wait Staff Training
Shonda just got her first real job, waiting tables at Applebee’s. She was given an ebook manual to study and a couple of VR simulations to participate in to help her decide if she really wanted to try the job. After convincing her prospective manager, the teenager was invited to come to the restaurant for a morning AR training session. Upon her arrival, Shonda was given an official uniform to change into and then outfitted with a Hololens. Her trainer loaded the simulation and suddenly the bar was full of patrons. Shonda had to correctly identify her tables, follow protocol on engaging the guests, properly place orders at the workstation, and deliver food and drinks to the tables. While she wasn’t perfect at it, Shonda remarked afterwards about how real it all felt and how she noticed she was stepping aside to let virtual customers walk by when needed.
4. Delivery Drivers (UPS, FedEx, etc)
What if the delivery person has an AR overlay of your house with the preferred location for leaving your order already highlighted? With most houses, that’s the end of the option, but smart homes might bring another layer of specification to this process. Imagine the AR device highlighting the scanner to your garage, or just the gate to your back yard, and then the bar code on your delivery being scanned to allow access to the delivery driver. While it may not be perfect, it seems like a reasonable option for the time being. Of course, drones may replace all of this. Even more likely is a self driving vehicle making the trip, a robot handling the package, and your smart home allowing the robot entry to drop off the package and then leave.
5. Online Education
My M.Ed. and PhD (in progress) both focus heavily on online learning. One of the great barriers is the lack of a sense of place. Students routinely struggle with a lack of belonging and camaraderie that happen much more regularly in traditional settings. Until now, one of the few ways to handle this was to devise well crafted discussion forums. AR and VR have the opportunity, especially with the haptic gloves that simulate the other three senses, to break down that major barrier and reshape how online classes are constructed from the ground up. A virtual classroom where all five senses are engaged should help with some of the struggle.
What are you going to do about it?