How virtual reality is changing our actual reality

For decades we have been hearing that virtual reality will be the way of the future. But in 2018 the technology has advanced far enough that it is shaping the world of today – and we are not just talking about video games.

Check out these three exciting virtual reality projects being pioneered by researchers at Deakin University in Australia.


Walk with the dinosaurs

About 106 million years ago, a dinosaur known as Leaellynasaura amicagraphica, or ‘Little L’ roamed the southern coast of Australia. In 2018, ground-breaking virtual and augmented reality technology gave museum visitors the opportunity to walk alongside this long-extinct creature.

“The Little L Project” brought together Deakin University, PrimeSci, and Museums Victoria to develop a ‘mixed reality’ museum experience. Visitors not only got to interact with Little L in virtual reality, they could also touch a 3D-printed model of the dinosaur.

‘It is really just the beginning of where this technology can lead – the possibilities for future development are mindboggling,’ said project creator Dr Ben Horan, Director of Deakin University’s CADET Virtual Reality Laboratory.


Helping midwifery students get hands-on experience

Practical experience is essential for nursing and midwifery students. But when it comes to caring for patients in labour, most expectant mothers are not exactly looking for student help. To address this issue Deakin University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery collaborated with researchers in the University’s CADET VR Lab to developed VeRITy, a ‘Virtual Reality Intrapartum Touch Trainer’.

Translation? VeRITy uses virtual reality and haptic technologies to simulate labour and delivery. The inclusion of haptics mean that students do not just see and hear the simulation – they can also actually feel the signs of labour on the virtual patient’s body. It gives students an opportunity to develop clinical decision-making skills in a safe environment.

CADET Virtual Reality Lab with midwifery project


Changing the way you buy and build a house

One virtual reality tool is helping home buyers stand in their future home, before it has even been built. A project led by Professor of Architecture and Interdisciplinary Design Jules Moloney, the Pre-Occupancy Evaluation Tool provides new home buyers the opportunity to explore their potential living environment in virtual reality.

The simulation can include everything from the basic floorplan to sun patterns and activity noise. With these details, users can see what their future home will really be like to live in, provide feedback to their designer/architect, and fine tune the final plans.

‘Imagine your perfect living arrangement and you can immediately walk around in it, seamlessly,’ said Professor Moloney. ‘By putting yourself in that immersive space, you start to understand how to subtly tune internal environments and spatial connections to your needs.’

Virtual reality, VR


Deakin University’s pioneering applications of virtual reality technology reflect our commitment to investing in the future and providing state-of-the-art learning tools for our students. Find out more about what our Engineering, Architecture, Science and Nursing degrees have to offer. Or if you want to help shape the future of technology, find out more about studying Information Technology at Deakin.


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