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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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              Last Updated on February 15, 2019

              7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

              7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

              Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

              Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

              Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

              So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

              Joe’s Goals

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                Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                Daytum

                  Daytum

                  is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                  Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                  Excel or Numbers

                    If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                    What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                    Evernote

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                      I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                      Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                      Access or Bento

                        If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                        Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                        You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                        Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                        All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                        Conclusion

                        I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                        What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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