Stephen L Kanaval Follow | Tuesday, 19 January 2016 10:40 (EST)

When Goldman Sachs predicted that the virtual reality and augmented reality sectors could boom to an $80 billion dollar market by 2025, some analysts thought their projections were a little inflated. Large businesses are already starting to explore and experiment with the possibilities of merging virtual reality with other sectors.

Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus was more than just about playing zero-gravity ping-pong. The Oculus Rift head-mounted tech can create digital communication that Skype could never allow. A virtual cross-country call home to friends and family could be heart-mending for many in our global economy. The idea of sharing reality with friends is the lure for Facebook, but VR goes well beyond that.

STRIVR Labs is an athletic training facility that exclusively uses VR to train players to assess game situations in real time. Temple University exclusively used the lab this year to help its quarterback, linebackers, and safeties. The founders and software engineers at STRIVR have goals to put this experience in the hands of the fans. What does it feel like to be Marshawn Lynch on one of those long bruising runs where seven people are slung on your back? STRIVR wants you to know.

Of course, virtual reality software is still dealing with latency issues, affordability, and ease of use. However in ten years many see VR changing healthcare, and military industries. ImmersiveTouch is a healthcare tech company that is looking to get into the market to train nurses and new doctors through VR simulators. Bravemind is a virtual reality experience that slowly exposes veterans to stimuli that trigger PTSD responses, which over time allows them to heal and create stress-relieving mechanisms.

Distance learning is another industry that could be disrupted by VR. Imagine a virtual classroom where you follow your history professor on a walking tour of Washington D.C. and being able to ask questions and explore the environment with one-on-one guidance. Imagine an online chemistry class that includes a virtual lab where your professor can assist you in experiments, rather than the usual platform of chats and downloadable PowerPoints.

After the imagination of the entertainment industry has reached its limits with virtual reality, practical applications will explode with boundless uses that stem from those tools and technology.

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Dwight Mann