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Virtual reality applications to work


Virtual reality (VR) entails the use of advanced technologies, including computers and various multimedia peripherals, to produce a simulated (i.e. virtual) environment that users perceive as comparable to real world objects and events. With the aid of specially designed transducers and sensors, users interact with displayed images, moving and manipulating virtual objects, and performing other actions in a way that engenders a feeling of actual presence (immersion) in the simulated environment. The unique features and flexibility of VR give it extraordinary potential for use in work-related applications. It permits users to experience and interact with a life-like model or environment, in safety and at convenient times, while providing a degree of control over the simulation that is usually not possible in the real-life situation. The work-related applications that appear to be most promising are those that employ virtual reality for visualization and representation, distance communication and education, hands-on training, and orientation and navigation. This article presents an overview to the concepts of VR focusing on its applications in a variety of work settings. Issues related to potential difficulties in using VR including side effects and the transfer of skills learned in the virtual environment to the real world are also reviewed.