Being immersed and taken to another world. It is something that we as people, especially Americans, seem to be utterly fascinated with. Why else do we go see movies and binge watch our favorite shows?

Virtual reality (VR) is really the next step and evolution for our immersion. Last week, I got to release my inner Fruit Ninja while playing a game in VR. It was fantastic. I’d like to say that I handled myself with a lot of self-respect and composure. However, I’m self-aware enough to admit that once those goggles went on and the game started, my inner highly-competitive-self came out in full force. I’m sure I looked like a wild man frantically slicing every piece of fruit I saw.

I’m here to say that VR is highly entertaining, but is there any application for it outside of gaming? That is the question that I posed to Mark Petrucci on the recent Bridging the Gap Podcast. He is convinced that Augmented Reality (AR) and VR are not just cool toys but actually have a practical workflow in the AEC industry, if you use them correctly.

But can you just dive in with whatever the cool new tool of the moment is? Well, the short answer is no. It is vital to your success that you take the time on the front end to think through what you want to get out of VR. Then research the available hardware and software on the market. Different tools perform different functions. The goals you want to achieve with VR will affect which hardware and software you should end up using.

After our deep dive on the differences between AR and VR, implementation challenges, benefits of VR, effect on collaboration, and real-world examples using VR, Mark guided me through a real-life client VR model. I got to walk through the model of the Project Amelia house.

As I walked around the model, I was amazed at all the details that could be perceived with great clarity. For instance, when I got up close to the window frame, I could see the fine detail of the wood grain. There was also an awareness of what the finished space would feel like and how big the house was. Afterward, I felt like I had actually been there.

If you are interested in AR and VR, go over to the Bridging the Gap Podcast to subscribe and listen to my conversation with Mark. 

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