When you hear the term “Virtual reality”, the first thing you probably think of is gaming. Video games were the first where “mainstream” VR was a (so far moderate) success, even if the technology has countless benefits in other areas as well. Aside from the countless branches of the entertainment industry, ranging from movies and other experiences to the future casino games at SaClub7, virtual reality can be used in education, medicine, engineering, and even sports. Yes, sports – here’s how.
The NFL and the NCAA love virtual reality. Universities use VR technology to discover new and efficient ways to train their athletes. Solutions provided by STRIVR, a VR company, are used by NFL teams like the New York Jets or the Minnesota Vikings, and college teams like Dartmouth, Stanford, and the Michigan University, among others.
Players wear VR headsets to experience various virtual training scenarios, explore virtual playbooks, and perform practice runs. Even more, psychologists use VR to reduce the players’ anxiety and performance pressure.
Formula 1 is one of the most technologically advanced sports, innovating in everything from materials to engineering. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it embraces virtual reality as well. As in-season testing has been banned by the organizers, teams now take care of this matter through advanced simulations – and some of them, most notably Mercedes – use virtual reality.
Toto Wolff, team principal at Mercedes, revealed for Wearable.com that the team was building a brand new simulator in 2017 – and pointed out that VR is “the way forward” because, as he put it, “the better you can actually simulate what is happening on the track, the quicker it is going to make you”, and in F1, every fraction of a second count.
And how do they use VR in testing? “The driver sits in the simulator, has the glasses on and drives the car”, Wolff explained. “Rather than staring at the screens, he has the glasses on”. “It's like having a big screen, all the way around, like three-dimensional”, F1 driver Nico Rosberg added. “To practise, the more realistic, the better. We had a simulator that was virtual reality and we used a lot of that to prepare for the actual driving. It's very, very important, it's critical because we're not allowed to test.”
Finally, let us mention the way the NBA uses virtual reality to improve the training of their players. It is not used in traditional physical training – they have more than enough sophisticated technology for that – but in the training of the players’ minds.
Back in 2018, the Philadelphia 76ers have used a sophisticated virtual reality program to help Markelle Fultz return to the court. Fultz suffered a shoulder injury just four games into his time with the team, and this threw off his shooting mechanics. The team reportedly used virtual reality training to help him regain his form.