Whether it’s walking into an engine to examine inaccessible parts or peering inside the kidney of a mouse – all in a simulated environment – hospitals, labs and manufacturing facilities across Connecticut are stepping up investments to turn virtual reality, an old technology, into a new kind of reality for training students, employees and customers.
A term coined by Jaron Lanier in the 1980s, virtual reality has taken a new avatar since the days of the View Master, patented in 1939. Today, as Microsoft, Intel and Facebook work to advance user experience while lowering costs, companies in Connecticut are adopting VR to fill training needs in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and healthcare.
“Silicon Valley is looking to develop the VR sector as a whole; here companies are looking at specialized versus broad-based applications,” said Courtney King, marketing and communications manager at the Connecticut Technology Council. “For example, gaining experience in a virtual lab at a manufacturing space where real estate is at a premium and [real-world] training costs a lot of money.”