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6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be Keeping An Eye Out On Oculus Rift And Other Virtual Reality Projects

6 Reasons Why Everyone Should Be Keeping An Eye Out On Oculus Rift And Other Virtual Reality Projects

Virtual reality, which may also be referred to as immersive multimedia, is essentially a computer-simulated environment that creates a physical presence in either the real or an imagined realm. One of the key aspects of virtual reality is its capacity to replicate human sensory experiences, including taste, smell, sound and touch, and alongside the Internet of Things (IoT) it is a concept that will define the relationships between corporeal and simulated realms.

Virtual Reality has been in the news during recent months, after Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of gaming firm Oculus VR. While this deal will place a heavy emphasis on gaming initially, there is the potential for a whole host of virtual reality platforms to be introduced in the next decade.

The sheer scope of the Oculus VR purchase and the potential for the technology to be developed further is vast, and these factors have created a great deal of interest in the future of virtual reality. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the most compelling aspects of VR and why it is such a topical subject:

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1. Virtual Reality Goes beyond Gaming and Into Education

After completing the purchase of Oculus VR, Facebook leader Marc Zuckerberg revealed that the brand intended to reveal a host of alternative platforms beyond gaming. This reflects a wider trend, as people are beginning to consider the benefits of virtual reality outside of a gaming scenario. This is particularly prominent in education, where the OpenSim virtual platform has already been integrated to empower students’ creativity and enable them to build historical recreations. Such as concept can be taken further in the bid to create more engaging programs of learning for youngsters, and this spirit has been embodied by the proposal to develop a Minecraft virtual reality mod and create the ultimate in educational social gaming.

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    2. VR has Huge Potential for Healthcare Applications

    Isolation is a difficult but inevitable aspect of the real world, and one that virtual reality has the potential to negate. This is particularly true when applied to areas such as Exposure therapy, for example, which is a method of treatment used to correct anxiety disorders. Although the benefits have yet to be proven, this could be a huge boom for healthcare providers and companies that deliver psychological coaching. In terms of the latter, there are YouTube videos that show examples of how existing VR software can be used to help nervous individuals practice public speaking in a simulated environment. Currently in beta mode and designed for Octulus Rift, it may have huge applications across multiple markets and sectors.

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      3. VR can transform the Nature of Broadband Service Providers

      VR represents a huge technological evolution, and one that will force multiple service providers to upgrade their packages and associated technology. Take broadband, for example, which has already undergone multiple changes in recent times and is relied upon by households and business owners throughout the world. Fibre broadband currently represents the standard in high speed Internet connections, but this technology may be revised in order to support emerging virtual reality platforms. This need has initiated a cross-company project to integrate the high-performance Cell Broadband Engine with an existing IBM mainframe, in a bid to deliver a fast and powerful one that has the capacity to handle virtual world applications. As more and more virtual reality platforms emerge, this technology will be crucial to delivering them effectively.

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        4. VR may serve as the Future of Journalism

        The nature of journalism has changed considerably during the course of the last decade, as media reporting has moved predominantly from print to the online forum. It may be about to experience an additional evolution, however, as renowned writer Nonny de la Pena continues to pioneer the concept of ‘immersive journalism’. This utilizes the technological power of virtual reality to share powerful stories and narratives in real-time, and it has already been showcased in the harrowing film ‘Hunger in Los Angeles’. This short film is based on real footage of a man collapsing while waiting in line at a food bank, which has subsequently been digitally reconstructed and offers viewers a unique opportunity to share first-hand experience of the tension and sadness surrounding the event.

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          5. Virtual Reality Represents an Innovative Sales Tool of the Future

          While we have discussed the potential of virtual reality platforms to revolutionize education, services and the creative industries, they are also beginning to make their mark on more commercial disciplines. Take sales, for example, as the technology behind VR can be used to effectively showcase products and enable potential customers’ to experience them first-hand. This has been put into practice by a Chicago-based real estate firm, who have turned up with Arch Virtual to execute a 3D, real-time application project and simulate a nine-unit building in the heart of the city. It effectively allows customers to walk through structures before they are constructed, which can help companies to complete sales and transactions extremely quickly. So far from being a one-dimensional gaming concept, virtual reality has genuine commercial benefits and is attracting the attention of multiple business owners.

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            6. Virtual Reality will change the World of Home Entertainment

            In many respects, the pace of innovation in the home entertainment industry has been slow when compared to other aspects of technology and media. This may be about to change thanks to VR, however, with Netflix currently discussing an experimental project that could combine their television and film streaming service with the highly anticipated Oculus Rift headset. Under the tentative name of Oculix, the project would enable user to browse the Netflix library and select a film simply by moving their head, and once a selection has been made they would be immersed in a virtual cinema experience. Whether or not this project achieves its aims has yet to be seen, but it offers an insight into how virtual reality may impact on home entertainment and family dynamics.

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              Featured photo credit: Bago Games / Flickr via flickr.com

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              Published on September 20, 2018

              11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

              11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

              In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

              Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

              In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

              Minimizing Tabs

              Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

              Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

              Incognito Mode

              Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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              1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
              2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
              3. Download extension New Incognito Window

              This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

              Save Webpages as PDF Files

              Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

              Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

              Open Recently-closed Tabs

              Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

              One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

              The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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              Solve Mathematical Problems

              Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

              For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

              Play Media Files

              Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

              In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

              Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

              With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

              Stay Focus(e)d

              Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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              Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

              With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

              This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

              Grammarly for Editing

              Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

              You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

              Loom

              There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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              There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

              With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

              Chrome Calendar Extension

              No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

              Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

              Final Thoughts

              Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

              Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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