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Innovative startups are changing the landscape for virtual and augmented reality. Here are a few new developments that are improving lives.

Cover image by TierneyMJ.

It’s a well-known fact that virtual and augmented reality are two of the fastest-growing sectors in tech. While big brands look for ways to incorporate VR into their everyday offerings, small start-ups continue to make the real breakthroughs that can change people’s lives and make the world a better place.

Let’s look at five innovative virtual reality technologies that can help people overcome fears and disabilities, spot medical issues, and even send kids on virtual field trips.

1. Simulated Public Speaking VR

5 Innovative VR Technologies Making the World A Better Place — Public Speaking
Image by 7713 Photography.

Glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, remains one of the most prevalent phobias in the world. PanicLobster is a VR app that lets people conquer their fears and practice speaking in front of others. This simple concept can yield powerful results, letting users rehearse in different simulated situations — like giving a presentation to a class or making an important elevator pitch for your next project.

2. Reduce Nausea

5 Innovative VR Technologies Making the World A Better Place — Help Nausea
Image by ArtFamily.

One issue that has haunted VR since its inception is the stigma that virtual reality can cause nausea. And for many people, motion blur and lag are the chief culprits. However, Sogang University has been building a new algorithm based on low-resolution initial assets that construct high-resolution images that can reduce motion blur to one-fifth of its current levels.

You can read more about the tech developments here.

3. Spotting Tumors

5 Innovative VR Technologies Making the World A Better Place — Spotting Tumors
Image by angellodeco.

A new VR app called White Rhino has recently been developed to help doctors detect hard-to-see tumors in the human bladder. These VR cystoscopes help urologists spot changes in light through a technology called narrow-band imaging (NBI). This virtual reality experience, developed by the Olympus camera company, lets urologists to go inside a human bladder, turn on NBI, and find cancerous lesions that may have gone undetected.

You can read more about the developments in this article here, or at Olympus’s White Rhino website.

4. Employee Training

Image by DisobeyArt.

Outside the science and technology fields, virtual reality is making its way into the business world by way of employee training. Stivr, a virtual reality company based in San Francisco, is already working with clients like Chipotle, Fidelity, BMW, and Walmart to train new employees with a virtual reality headset program that does everything from displaying the layouts of job sites to helping trainees work through on-the-job scenarios.

You can read more on Stivr here.

5. Virtual Reality Field Trips

5 Innovative VR Technologies Making the World A Better Place — Field Trips
Image by LightField Studios.

Finally (and perhaps the most futuristic development in this list), an elementary school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is allocating funds to bring VR headsets into the classroom for students to take virtual field trips around the globe. The grant, which is approved but has yet to go into development, is a big first step for a virtual reality education future that can assist in all types of learning — and help the next generation develop VR fluency.

You can read more about the program here.

For more resources on virtual reality and other new technologies, check out some of these articles below.