As advancements in computer processing speeds and efficiency continue to climb, programmers and engineers have had no trouble finding new and creative applications for their newfound capabilities. Video games have become more immersive and realistic than ever, but some innovators have decided to take things a few steps further. Virtual reality (VR for short) was once a cumbersome, blocky, and overall un-impressive experience that saw limited success in the late ’90s. There was very little “reality” in the earlier versions of virtual reality; however, advanced computing and graphical processing have completely changed the landscape of the industry.
Modern systems have found value beyond the entertainment arena. VR is now widely used in simulators for aeronautics, law enforcement, and Olympic athletic training. Advanced simulators employ sensors, large format screens, and realistic replica interfaces to produce ultra realistic environments. Simulators such as these are priceless assets allowing for repeated training in controlled situations, helping the user to hone their skills in the relative safety and comfort of a simulator.
Sport simulators have become quite popular, both for entertainment as well as for serious athletic preparation. There are simulation tools for nearly every non-contact sport and even a few for contact sports. At The ROX: The Olympic Experience at the Richmond Olympic Oval, patrons are given the opportunity to bobsleigh, kayak, racecar, ski-jump, or sit-ski an actual Olympic course through VR. The ability of modern sport simulators to bring challenges and experiences from around the world into a single location has an impact that is game changing.
It is now also common to find virtual golf pubs offering golfers the opportunity to play a full round of golf within the walls of a small restaurant or bar. Virtual Reality can provide young people who would normally have little or no access to a given sport the opportunity to experience it firsthand; aspiring athletes an affordable resource to continue pursuing their passions; and performing artists or extreme athletes the opportunity to develop and innovate new movements and tricks with a lower level of risk for injury. The opportunities for VR games and programs are immense. If you’re planning a vacation in or near Richmond, B.C., take a look online at the vast number of immersive activities available for you and your family. Visit http://therox.ca if you would like to try out these incredible simulations yourself at the world’s only interactive attraction endorsed by the International Olympic Committee.
The same appeal that allows competitive athletes to pursue their dreams is also an attractive dynamic for casual thrill seekers. How many people would otherwise have the opportunity to ski the alps or run with the bulls? Sports simulators grant this opportunity to people from any background in any part of the world. This type of unique experience also makes sports and other simulators a great choice for team building events and corporate workshops, allowing participants to face fears and compete with one another in a friendly, safe environment. It is an immersion experience that will not soon be forgotten by anyone. If you’re planning a trip to B.C., where else can you find the opportunity to kayak, sit-ski, and bobsleigh, all in one afternoon?
When reflecting on the advancements in VR technology and the progression of modern sports and other simulators, it seems amazing the amount of progress that has been made in the last 20 years. As developers continue to innovate this technology, it will serve to offer all of us better and more realistic experiences, allowing participants to live their lives to the fullest. For some, it just may motivate and inspire them to make their “virtual reality” experience a “reality”. If you’re interested in an Olympic-themed day of interactive activities and simulations, consider a visit to The ROX.